Team-Building Activities for the Classroom

I know that as a teacher having a cooperative learning environment is the icing on the cake. When we look at how team-building is defined (the action or process of causing a group of people to work together effectively as a team, especially by means of activities and events designed to increase motivation and promote cooperation), we understand how effective it is towards reaching this goal. But I like to think there is more to it. That’s why you need team-building activities for the classroom!

When we work in communion or as a team, we have the unique ability to give those who may not have access to specific tools, ideas, or skills an opportunity to engage with and use them. While working on individual work and achievements is important, promoting a team environment in the classroom is equally important. When we create a community, we develop students who know each other well,  learn the best ways to work with certain attitudes, and understand where each of their strengths lies.

That’s why I am climbing up onto my high horse and shouting from the rooftop that TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES MATTER! They matter not only for students but for you too. When you make your students feel seen, heard, and supported, you’ll find it a whole lot easier to teach them. Having someone to lean on gives us an extra boost to do our best.

Choosing the Right Team Building Activities

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But it’s important that you’re using the right activities for creating this camaraderie. You want to avoid activities that could easily allow one person to take on all the responsibility. And you want to move beyond worksheet-style engagement. 

The single best thing you can do is get students up and moving! I have 3 team-building activities to share with you that will ensure students are actually working together, building connections, and developing character. 

{Are you ready to get a set done-for-you team-building activities? You can grab 10 engaging Back to School activities for building character, goal setting, and cooperative games on my shop HERE!}

Setting Goals as a Team 

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Hit the target is team building in a literal sense. Beginning of the year goal setting is an effective strategy for getting students working towards something meaningful that they want to accomplish throughout the year. When you want to teach your students about setting goals, you can start with a group goal first to help with modeling how it all works.

Using the Hit the Target activity as an example, you would divide your students into groups of 3-4. Using popsicle sticks and cubes, give each group a goal of creating the tallest structure possible using the materials they have. 

Begin modeling how to set the goal. Tell students that first, they must create a plan by asking each other, “How can we accomplish this goal?” As they are creating, you can model how reaching a goal isn’t always linear and there may be obstacles that get in the way. Here is where they would need to work as a team to adjust when something comes up. I like to throw in a cup. Now, the structure has to balance on top of the cup!

The important part of this goal-setting activity for team building is that students are engaging in conversation. They are learning how to take advice from their classmates. After they’re done, they can openly discuss the process.

Problem Solving as a Team

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Sometimes team-building activities in the classroom look like trying to prevent something from happening. When students are working on prevention methods, they are able to use their critical thinking skills to think ahead. And sometimes, find a way to work together without a plan beforehand. This is part of the figuring it out as you go process that adds some thrill to working as a team.

Using this Pit Fall activity as an example, you would cut three holes into trash bags,  grab some lightweight balls, and have your students break into groups of 4. Then, they will work together to prevent the ball from falling through the hole. With each student grabbing a corner of the bag, toss a ball on the bag and watch as they move and wiggle together to keep the ball on top. 

You can add more to increase the challenge!

Not only is this great for team-building but it’s a wonderful way to build a connection. Students are sure to be laughing and joking around as they twist and turn to keep the balls from falling. Laughing together is one of the best ways to build bonds!

{Interested in more activities that help with building connections? Check out 18 engaging Back to School Activities for Getting to Know Each Other right on my shop HERE!}

Building Trust as a Team

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What I love about this last team-building activity for the classroom is that it’s more than just one challenge. There is no way for any one person to avoid being involved because with the Boxed-In method, students are forced to stay close and figure things out.

In the Boxed-In activity, you will create “boxes” or rectangles large enough to fit 3-4 students around the room using duct tape. After grouping your students into each box, you will give them a variety of tasks they must complete without stepping foot outside of their box. You can up the ante by telling students to not speak to each other when completing their tasks.

A team-building activity like Boxed-In will require students to trust their classmates. If they can’t speak, they have to believe that their partners are doing the right thing. In any team environment, having trust is of utmost importance.

When students trust each other, they are able to feel safe within their classrooms and find someone to lean on when they may need a little extra help!

Having team-building activities for the classroom does not have to be completed. By focusing on activities that get students moving, and providing them an opportunity to think about how their classmates feel, think, and solve problems, you can create a beautiful atmosphere for learning.

If you want to try these team-building activities in your classroom, you can check out my 10 Back to School Engagement Activities set and 18 Back to School Activities for the 1st Week of School set on my TPT shop!

Not quite ready to use these team-building activities for the classroom? Save the image below to use it later!

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Hi, I'm Amy

Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


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