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Showing posts with label September. Show all posts
Showing posts with label September. Show all posts

Team Building Ideas For Back To School

This year may look different for so many of us as we might be heading back into school, teaching a hybrid model, or teaching remotely. None the less, team building with our new students is vital. Not only is it essential to establishing the expectations that we need as we move forward into a new school year, but it also sets the tone for you and your new students. Team building during this uncertainty is also a bit scary. Often, our team building activities have us working in small groups, hovered around each other as we build, create, or touch the same supplies. We are in close contact with each other and in my room, the atmosphere can get noisy from all of the excitement. 

This year as well, we may need to really think about what we can do to continue to build rapport and a sense of community that we have all been longing for and need in this uncertain time. Here are five Distance Learning Ideas for your classroom, whether it is virtual or in person that will ensure that safety is also a part of the new year.

Team Building Idea # 1: Team Building Picture Books
You can use the affiliated links to find these amazing team building books. 

Great team building books that can lead to STEAM activities:

8. Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Pena
9. Anything is Possible by Giulia Belloni 

Team Building Idea #2: Live Q & A Activities

Needing more back in school ideas?  Host a fun Q & A game where you are the game show host and your students are the contestants. Pose questions to the players, giving them cards for yes and no (red, green), paddles with a yes side and a no side...or what ever you would like to have them engage in the answers. You could have them stand at their spot or sit if you want a no contact activity as well.  In a zoom or google meet? This is also perfect for students to raise their hand or hold an object up when it applies to them. You can even make it a scavenger hunt if they are at home! Have them run and get something that represents them or one of the questions that you posed!

Need a way to go deeper? You can even have a digital spinner with their names on it and spin to share a story about that topic or question to encourage more engagement. 


Possible questions may include:
-Who has a pet?
-Who has three or more siblings?
-Who went camping this summer?
-Who rides a bus to school?
-Who loves watermelon?
-Who doesn't care for chocolate?
-Who is left handed?

This is also a great way to lead into discussion about fears for the new year. Recess, friends, lunch, specialists, getting sick...

Team Building Idea # 3: Project Based Learning Challenges

There are lots of great sites out there for project based learning challenges that might help you as you move forward this school year. What are project based learning?

Project Based Learning is student-centered. It is a teaching method that is based on having learners focus on engaging in projects that are real-world, curriculum based related to a question or challenge. The question is open ended, and it encourages students to apply their skills and background to answer that question along with a product at the end of their learning.

Team Building Idea #4: Individual STEM Challenges 

 STEM challenges will need to be one to one if you are at school. If you have a hybrid model, packing a bag of supplies for both teams to do at the same time, and share via flipgrid so everyone can take part this will give them an opportunity to work as a team of learners, but yet not have to share supplies.  Supplies will have to be prepackaged, or bagged, or placed on individual trays for options. 

Then once finished can be shared remotely or projected on a smarthboard, or through flipgrid videos for them to expand their thinking and showcase their products. We used to go table to table, but we are going to have to make sure we think differently about social distancing if and when we are back in school. 

STEM Challenge Ideas for one to one:
1. towers
2. parachutes
3. buildings/storefronts
4. zip lines
5. individual baggie of goodies challenge
6. Science experiments and challenges
7. coding
8. recyclable creations
9. What can you build with a cup, index card, straw, pompom and popsicle stick for example...all consumable and cheap. See what you have that can be given out and not needed back. Let them create whatever they come up with using the items given!
10. theme of the year, back to school theme, fill a bucket theme...pick a theme and build something that represents the focus. We are making apple towers, using an apple from my apple tree at home and index cards and popsicle sticks I will give them in a brown paper bag! A spin on last year, with materials that are cheap and easy to use! 

Team Building Idea # 5: Flipgrid Getting to Know You

Using flipgrid to get kids talking and sharing is perfect for team building virtually as well as in person! Set up a grid with a fun theme such as beach, safari, or whatever fun idea you got going on. You can invite them on this year's adventure. 

Have them share an intro video that might include:

*reflect on the previous year
*share their favorite classes
*what they want to do, but can't YET
*what they need to do to make it a successful year
*bucket fillers

Team Building Idea #6: Elementary STEM Club

This is going to be an unprecedented year. Back to school has never looked this way, and it's going to require extraordinary flexibility and ingenuity. There's no reason to walk this road alone! We may not have all the answers now... but together, we will figure them out!

Join me and my STEM Team at Elementary STEM Club for activities you can use, interactive discussions about the struggles you are facing, and bonuses and freebies along the way!

This back to school season, will you be...

  1. in the classroom

  2. distance learning

  3. hybrid learning

  4. mobile/on a cart

  5. not sure, but it all stresses me out

Join us at Elementary STEM Club as we figure out the best ways to implement STEM this school year!

How great would it be if you had access to tried and true STEM activities, a supportive group to lean on and learn from, and bonus goodies to make this back-to-school season a little less crazy?

Join us at Elementary STEM Club where you will get all that and more! Do you know the THREE things essential for STEM success ALL year long? 

We can’t wait to share them with you at Elementary STEM Club.

Find out all the details at:

Elementary STEM Club Site Here

Still needing more ideas? TPT can help!

Needing more ideas? Check out my TPT Back To School Resources on Sale from July 13th-July 19th! Head this way to the deals today!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Peek At My Week

Well, another year has successfully started! I am excited about the new and endless possiblilities with my new Encore staff members. We have to PLC with our "specialists" in music, PE, art, science, and library and we have two new ladies that joined our team! How exciting to get to plan new events and share ideas! Here is a peek at my week thanks to Mrs. Laffin's Laughings...

This week in Kindergarten...

Kindergarten in the garden...being scientists!
I am teaching what is science. Really, they do not know. The are so little. We read the book and then went outside in the school garden to observe and be scientists with hand lenses. We shared what we could learn on our chart. With only 30 minutes it goes by quickly.

1st graders...
Are learning what a scientist is. We read Everyone Is A Scientist and shared the power point from Kindergarten, Kindergarten which is a great first start. We also made a web to show what scientists could learn, went out in

the garden to investigate, and then finished with a picture of what we would want to study as a scientist. Next week, being zoologists.
Firsties finding animals in the garden...animal unit to follow next week...

2nd graders...
We started off with learning about air with our FOSS unit so we started talking about science is all around us even if we can't see it. We discussed what scientists do to learn...by asking questions, forming a hypothesis (I think), conducting experiments, making observations, and then coming to a conclusion. We used the FOSS air bags to test how air takes up space and air moves things. We finished off with a balloon send off.
Air is matter. Air takes up space. Air moves things. 

3rd graders...
We started off our year with measurement so that they will be ready for our Earth Materials unit. We started off with a smartboard presentation on measurement in customary standard unit. Then, we worked on why scientists use the metric system. We practiced using a ruler and measuring in cm. We finished off with a sheet from the Science Penguin that shares how scientists use tools that keep them safe, help them observe, and help them measure. We followed that sheet with a decimeter scavenger hunt in our garden.

4th and 5th graders...
We started off with discussing the scientific process and what that would look like now that they are "big" kids at school. We practiced the process by teams working together to save Fred. I got this great idea from Smart Chick on Teachers Pay Teachers. The kids love this! As they finish up they work on the sheet that is included and then the scientific process science notebook sheet. Great start to the new school year!
Saving Fred! Working as a team! Learning the Scientific Process!

Fred just might be saved! 
It has been a great first week so far. Now, if it could stop raining so we can get outside tomorrow...life would be perfect!
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