W3: 3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined
experiences or events using effective technique
Students will be asked to share personal experiences about being on a team. This could be a sports team, club, or even a group project. Students will make a list on the board about what makes a team successful, such as working together, and another list pertaining to what makes a team unsuccessful, such as not practicing. The teacher will read aloud to the class The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy and Mau-Sieh Tseng, about the importance of combining talents to work together. Class will participate in a discussion about what talent each brother brought to the family. (Alternatively, use “The Seven Chinese Sisters.”)
Define the meaning of "teamwork” and what students already know about what makes a team successful or unsuccessful
Guide the students in a team building activity. This could be an active game like “Crossing the River of Lava” which can be done with lunch trays, or something indoors such as the plane crash scenario/ranking of survival items game.
Tell the story of the game, the objective and the rules and have students begin
Let students work through various solutions to the game, pause game only when students appear to need guidance
Celebrate when students successfully complete the objective
Debrief with the class, ask questions such as “What worked?” “What did not work?” “Did someone in the group act as a Leader, and what did that mean?” (This can be continued for the various roles such as Cheerleader, Peace Keeper, Observer, Follower, or Stalwart)
Pick a new game by having students read three selections from The Big Books of Team Building Games by John Newstron and Edward Scannell, to ensure that students understand the use of roles. Students will have individual copies of the games provided to them and will vote on which they wish to play.
Check for Understanding
Observe if all students are participating in the game and following discussion
Use a quick formative assessment such as standing on one side of the room if students feel very comfortable/agree with the material presenting so far, and students on the other side for very uncomfortable/disagree with room in between for those who are not sure.
Students will pick one of four reading selections:
Emergent Reader: Swimmy by Leo Lionni, about a fish that saves his friends by teaching them to swim faster
Post-Emergent Reader: A Winning Goal by Laurie Calkhoven, about learning how to be a team player
Expanding Reader: The Wild Soccer Bunch Series by Joachim Masannek about teamwork, friendship, and sports!
Expanding Reader: The Star Dragon Book 1, Wanted: Confident Kids to Save the World from Darkness by David Machin, about a world where thieves have stolen color, and children must retrieve gems to restore the world
Proficient Reader: Hillary and Norgay: To the Top of Mount Everest, by Heather Whipple about the first ascent of Everest
Students will be divided into teams to discuss their reading selections. Students will be asked to identify which character acted as a leader, and which acted as peace keeper, observer, follower etc. These characteristics will be charted in a web, complete with actions that demonstrated this characteristic. For example, a character web on Sr. Edmond Hillary would be “Faced fear of crossing the large crevasse,” and underneath, the student would write, “Brave” or “Determined.” Students will then explore what challenges the characters faced, and how they successfully as a team overcame those challenges. Following this activity, students will be divided into new groups, where each student has read a different book. Each student will share about their book and describe how teamwork made the characters successful.
In a large group, ask students if this activity led them to think of more reasons for a successful or unsuccessful team or if any of their ideas changed. For instance, the class may have indicated conflict as an unsuccessful team component, but may change their mind after realizing conflict led to success.
Teacher will review a story that is familiar to the students, The Little Red Hen: An Old Fable by Heather Forest. As this is a very simple story about teamwork, students will be asked to create their own, modern, fictional story of “The Little Red Hen” using the concepts discussed during class. Each story will be collected and bound in a “Big Book” and be on display in class. As a bonus, the students can also create their own artwork. Stories will be graded using a rubric for proper grammar and content. (Alternatively, teacher can base stories stylistically on a non-traditional format such as The Stinky Cheese Man in place of a traditional format with the Little Red Hen)
Ask students to create a response log to the story they read during guided practice. The log would include a summary of the book and examples of teamwork, followed by the student’s personal reaction to the story and why they feel the lessons in the story are important. Response logs would be graded by a rubric for grammar and content.
Enhancing Transfer and Retention
To reinforce the lesson, students could be asked to do another activity, this time with secret assigned roles of Leader etc. and at the end of the activity students will need to identify who played which roles. Students could also seek out their own activities from the source indicated above, or from, Team Challenges: 170+ Group Activities to Build Cooperation, Communication, and Creativity by Kris Bordessa.
As a homework assignment, students could be asked to write a Haiku about teamwork from what they learned in class. These could be posted on bulletin board of class poetry.
Teamwork can be integrated into all lessons that require group work, and in student’s personal life. Topic can be revisited often.
Bordessa, K. (2005). Team Challenges: 170+ Group Activities to Build Cooperation, Communication, and Creativity. Chicago Review Press.
Calkhoven, L. (2011). A Winning Goal. American Girl.
Forest, H. (2006). The Little Red Hen: An Old Fable. August House.
Lionni, L. (1973) Swimmy. Knopf Children’s Paperbacks.
Machin, D. (2012) The Star Dragon- Book 1: Wanted: Confident Kids to Save the World from Darkness. HumanBean Media International.
Masannek, J. (2010) The Wild Soccer Bunch, Book 1: Kevin the Star Striker. Sole Books.
Scannell, E. & Newstrom, J. (1997) The Big Book of Team Building Games: Trust-Building Activities, Team Spirit Exercises, and Other Fun Things to Do. Big Book Series.
Scieszka, J. (1992). The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. Viking Juvenile.
Tseng, M. S., & Mahy, M. (1992.) The Seven Chinese Brothers. Blue Ribbon Book.
Whipple, H. (2007) Hillary and Norgay: To the Top of Mount Everest. Crabtree Publishing Company.