Many fourth-graders are competitive and eager for social acceptance. Unlike the more relaxed pace of students in younger grades, fourth-graders face tougher challenges when interacting with peers, including possible gossip or bullying. During this stage of development, teamwork sets the stage for stronger social development and improves many different areas of a child's education and life. Group activities teach teamwork fundamentals through firsthand experience.
Set up an obstacle course inside the classroom or outdoors. You can set up traffic cones, chairs or other large objects to form a maze, with random items scattered throughout the maze to block the main path. Invent unexpected and creative obstacles, as long as no serious injury can occur (for instance, do not use anything with sharp edges). Divide the fourth-graders into pairs, with one student blindfolded. The student without the blindfold must lead her partner safely through the obstacle course to the other side, offering verbal guidance and instructions. The students can then switch roles.
Each student should have a sheet of paper on his desk, with his name written on the top. Have students continuously switch desks until everyone has visited each desk one time. While at each desk, students should write a compliment on each classmate's sheet of paper. During the exercise, instruct students that compliments should be specific and individualized, rather than just general comments. For instance, students might say, "You're talented at soccer," instead of "You're a nice person." This activity is most effective after students already know each other.
Acquire a large floor puzzle, appropriate for a fourth-grade level. Blindfold students and give each student a single piece of the floor puzzle. Instruct the students to assemble the puzzle without removing their blindfolds. Students must communicate verbally with each other, figuring out which classmates have matching pieces. After the students have assembled the puzzle, you can lead a group discussion of any challenges faced and how the process could be improved.
Counting to Ten
Instruct students to stand in a circle and either look down at the floor or keep their eyes closed. Explain that the class needs to count to ten together, with only one person saying each number. If two people speak at the same time, the entire group needs to start over again at number one. Students must work on communication and trust in order to reach ten together.
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