Getting to know and work well with classmates during the school year is always exciting, but also an anxious time for some students. In an effort to break the ice and create a caring and friendly environment in Grade 2, we focused on team-building to help our students to feel important and included within their classroom community. The activity was designed to encourage ALL students to have a voice, to be heard, to listen to others and to co-operate with ALL members of the classroom in order to accomplish a common goal.
Students really enjoyed our “stranded on an island” activity, which included children working together to move everyone from one island to the other without leaving anyone behind, and keeping everyone safe from the “dangerous creatures” lurking in the water. Using two hula hoops as a “safe place”, students were required to communicate, listen and co-operate to transport all of the class from one island to the other. At the beginning, the students tried to transport all the students at the same time, which was impossible to achieve. After a few minutes, some students realized they could transport a few people at one time, and repeat the process. To my surprise and delight, not only did they achieve this goal fairly quickly, they took turns sending different friends to “rescue” others. All students worked co-operatively and diligently to help each other to reach their destination safely. During our concluding discussion, we examined their experiences and their strategies, and explored ways we could implement those strategies to our everyday learning.
This activity certainly struck a chord with our students as they learned valuable skills such as connecting with others, solving problems and respecting people around them; essential skills which were hopefully etched into their young minds and carried with them into the future!
This exercise was a great example of early implementation of the inquiry-based model, as students were provided with a problem, but needed to work their way through the solution, rather than being told how to succeed by the teacher…a fine way to begin “Nurturing Tomorrow’s Achievers”!