Sixth-grade students should have a basic understanding of skills needed to work as a team. If they are working on team-building strategies and combining physical and social skills to work in a group, they will be able to define what it means to be a team. Students will eventually learn to use team-building skills such as respect and sharing to achieve the team's goal.
Sixth-graders must learn what team-building means before practicing team-building skills. Review what it means to succeed and have goals and then divide students into groups. Give each group a piece of paper and a marker. Tell teams to write three to five words that represent teamwork on a piece of Bristol board. Each group then defines teamwork and writes that on the Bristol board as well. Ask teams to create three guidelines that help groups achieve a common goal successfully and to write each on the Bristol board. Members of each team should trace a hand and write their names on each hand and paste it to the Bristol board. This activity motivates sixth-graders to work together and inspires thinking as a team.
Sharing Ideas and Listening
Sixth-graders learn that listening and sharing ideas will enable a team to achieve a common goal more quickly. Discuss as a group what things are detrimental to successful functioning as a group. For each action or characteristic students list, throw an object into the playing area; these objects represent a minefield. Divide the class into partners; one partner is blindfolded at one end of the playing area and the other stands at the opposite end. The non-blindfolded child must talk the blindfolded partner through the minefield safely, without touching the mines. This activity encourages sixth-graders to share ideas and it aids in practicing both verbal and auditory communication skills crucial to successful team-building.
Respect and Helping Others
Team-building skills include respecting team members as well as opponents, and sharing ideas and skills. Teach sixth-graders these key elements by completing activities as one large group. Monarch is an activity that requires all players participate, but challenges each player to work toward different goals throughout the game. Begin with one player as “it” and give him a foam ball. Each player he hits with the ball becomes part of the monarchy. Only players with the ball may run. Players who have been hit and are part of the monarchy must work together and throw the ball to each other to catch players not hit. The last player to become part of the monarchy is the new “it” and the game begins again.
Cooperation and Participation
Sixth-graders learn that working together and helping others makes a successful team. In a game called Knots, sixth-graders must work together to devise a strategy that best meets the goal of the team. Divide students into teams of a minimum of six players. Teams stand in a circle and put hands into the center, mixing them up. Players close their eyes and hold hands. Every member should hold two other hands. Without letting go of the hands held, players must untangle and reform the circle. This activity teaches that to be successful as a team, everyone must participate and help to succeed.
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