Cooperative learning is a vital element of a positive classroom environment. Students today need the opportunity to work together to accomplish a task in order to be prepared for their future. One great way to promote teamwork is through buddy activities. Students can practice and acquire new skills in a comfortable environment where they build off each other's strengths.

Time Capsule

Creating a time capsule is a fun way to record student preferences and observe how they change throughout the year. This activity should be done at the beginning of the school year. Start with a worksheet that has a list of general questions, such as “what is your name?” “how many brothers and sisters do you have?” and “what is your favorite food?”. Have students work with a partner, and interview them. Students record the answers to their partner’s questions on the worksheet. Upon completion, collect all the time capsules and put them in a safe place until the end of the year. Then, hand back the time capsule sheets and have students see how they and their friends have changed throughout the year.

"All About ... " Newspaper Report

For a fun writing and learning activity, have students do a news report about a friend. Have students ask their partners questions about their life. Students can come up with their own questions, or the teacher can have a list of questions prepared for them. Remind students to record only facts because it is a newspaper article. For instance, they can ask about their birthplace or their age.

Once students have recorded their answers about a partner, have them put their answers into sentences. In addition, have partners share a story that has happened to them.

Have students come up with a title and a drawing picture to go along with the article. Finally, compile all the newspaper reports into a class newspaper and give a copy to students and families.

Marshmallow Building

Another buddy activity that promotes teamwork is marshmallow toothpick building. Other materials can be used as well, but the goal is that students work together to create a finished product. Students are given mini-marshmallows, toothpicks and a partner. They must build something using only these materials. Encourage students to think creatively about what they want to create. They must work together in order to decide what they will build and how they will build it. Much of the teamwork occurs when students experiment and solve problems together. When the products are completed, students can vote for the best or most-creative project. Another idea would be to set up displays of all the completed work and have students walk around and make positive comments about other teams' work.