Sunday, January 27, 2013

Great Team Building Activities Part IV

Healthy relationships are one of the keys to fostering positive school culture, so says Roland Barth (read his 1990 work Improving Schools From Within) and Michael Fullan (Leading in a Culture of Change). I do my part to bring teachers together by incorporating team-building activities into my faculty meetings, workshops, and curriculum writing sessions. This blog series describes those activities I have found most engaging.
Something Bad, Something Good- The roots of this activity lie in Developmental Designs for Middle School (click for more information about the social-emotional skills building program). You can use it to help participants recognize the common challenges and successes everyone in the group may have experiences when involved in certain situations.

First have everyone sit in a circle. Second, tell the group that everyone will be asked to think about a situation they'll be tasked to consider. Some topics I have chosen to be the subject of this activity include: interacting with children, working with parents, writing curriculum. After introducing the topic, tell everyone you will be asking them to think about the good and the bad experiences they've had related to the topic and to listen very carefully to their peers' share.

Begin the activity by having the first participant describe his/her "something good" about the topic. Then, prompt the next person to reflect on what the previous person said by now sharing "something bad" related to what the previous participant said. So, the dialogue will go something like this:

  • Participant 1- "I had a great experience writing my curriculum guide because I got to create the entire program with my own vision in mind."
  • Participant 2- "I had a bad experience when I was told to think of my own vision when I was writing curriculum because the supervisor didn't like my idea (even though he told me to go with what I wanted) and I had to rewrite the whole thing."

This will continue one full-circle, with participants saying something good/something bad alternately about the previous statement. Using different topics for discussion can generate genuine discussion about shared experiences! 

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