Thursday, August 22, 2013

A new year a new group!

I am loving my new group of seventh graders.  We have had an exciting two days so far.  Yesterday, my team and I started our year off by having our students create an "I wonder" bulletin board.  Learning is more fun when the students are truly interested in the topic.  With this in mind, we asked our students to create an "I wonder" statement in class and place them on the bulletin board.  As the school year progresses we are going to use the students' "I wonder" statements to select topics of study.  
 


Today my students wrote about a time they had faced a difficult or challenging situation.  This lead into our team building activity, the "Cup Challenge".  Setting up for the cup challenge was very simple.  Before class, I tied four pieces of yarn to a rubber band, purchased plastic cups, and made index cards with the roles for each group member.  The roles that I used were as follows:  materials collector 1, starter, reporter, and materials collector 2.    Materials collector 1 got the materials for the group, the starter put the cups in the starting position, the recorder shared with the class the difficulties and successes that the group experienced, and the materials 2 collector put the materials away.  As the students entered the room, I gave each person a card, listing their role then I divided the students into groups of four making sure each role was represented.  Then the students got to work!  After getting the materials, the starter placed three cups upside down with one cup right side up on top of the previously placed cups.  Then the students used their "tool" to rearrange the cups to make a pyramid with three cups on the bottom, two cups in the middle and one on top.  






 

Most of the groups accomplished this task pretty quickly.  As the groups finished I added cups to make the challenge more difficult.  The next challenge I gave the students was to use the same concept to build a pyramid with four cups on the bottom, then three on the next level, then two, and finally one.  If the group finished this task, I had them remove the cups from the pyramid, using only the "tool" and arrange them in the starting position.  

As I walked around in one class, I overheard one student ask, "What does this have to do with language arts?'  I used this as a "teachable moment" when we discussed the successes and challenges.  I lead the students in a discussion about how this didn't tie to our standards or our curriculum, but that it did prepare them for future group work assignments, helped them get to know their classmates, and helped them learn ways to communicate with their classmates.  

As the day progressed, some of the cups broke and some of the rubber bands popped.  I was glad that I had extra cups and extra "tools".  I also noticed that the larger rubber bands were extremely stretched as the day progressed.  In the future, I will use smaller rubber bands in order to create the "tools."


The students were actively engaged and had a blast today!  Days like today make my job the best ever!

19 comments:

  1. This looked like a great activity! You could have always had them write a reflection about their activity. What did they like about it? What did they not like about it? What worked well? What would they do differently if they did this again?

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  2. Thanks for the ideas, I love getting feedback and ideas to make this work even better. We did have a discussion about the things that worked well and the the things that did not.

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  3. I'm planning to try this with my 5th graders in August. Thanks! I may give them the yarn and rubber bands "unassembled" to further challenge their problem solving and communication skills. Any advice?

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  4. Can't wait to try this with my students when we go back to school next week!!! Thanks!!!

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  5. Hi, Christy, I love this idea! Any way you can add a title to this post so I can send a direct link to it instead of your entire blog? Thanks.

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  6. Thanks! I love this activity! I want to use it in the fall.

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  7. Great team building activity and a lot less messy than the marshmallow challenge I did last year!

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  8. Thanks for this idea! I'm using it for our first day back after winter break. It's a perfect way to get them back into school mode without jumping right into the heavy work. :)

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  9. Thank you! I am trying this activity today with ESL students. Hope it's gonna work.

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  10. I was searching for some cooperation exercices and I found yours. That's a great idea and I will do it with my students...Thanks a lot!

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  11. Thanks for sharing your fantastic ideas! I'm using them in my ESL classroom this summer! :)

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  12. Thanks, this will work great with my Leadership students as they prepare to work in committees to collaborate and create activities for the student body.

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  13. Thanks, this will work great with my Leadership students as they prepare to work in committees to collaborate and create activities for the student body.

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  14. I love this idea because it is well laid out to teach the students about how to work in cooperative groups (having roles) and mostly to teach them to work as a team cooperatively! Can't wait to try it the first week of school!

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  15. Do you think this is too difficult for third graders?

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  16. Do you think this is too difficult for third graders?

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  17. Great Activity! So cool that a co-worker told me to check this out and I find that you my friend posted it.

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  18. You can also try having them not talk during the activity to make things a little more difficult and have them work on non-verbal communication.

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  19. It is a wonderful activity that emphasizes co-operation and team work...I love it, thank you for sharing :)

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