Back to School | All About Me | Our Class is a Family | Team Building Activities

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Hollie Griffith
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77 pages
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Hollie Griffith


This back to school unit is perfect for the first week of school! The activities are designed to help students develop their social skills and adapt to their new classroom environment and expectations. The unit begins with students meeting their new friends, introducing themselves to their classmates, and learning key elements of friendship. Students learn the importance of becoming a classroom family and read an original poem to make Classroom Family Pudding. The unit concludes with students learning key elements of working with partners and working as a team.

The 12 activities are listed in the order we recommend, but feel free to switch it up to fit your classroom needs!

Activity #1- What is a Friend? (Whole Group)

Students will be able to describe what a friend is.

•Introduce the “What is a Friend?” poster or create your own anchor chart with your class.

•Ask students for examples of each trait. Example: “When friends play together they can take turns.”

Activity #2- Being a Good Friend- Cut, Sort, Record

Students will be able to identify actions that make someone a good friend.

•Review what a friend is from activity #1 if needed.

•Whole Group- show each action card. Have students vote if it belongs in the “being a good friend” category or the “NOT being a good friend” category. Students will complete the recording sheet as you go.

•Can have students complete the sorts in groups or partners as well, but this unit introduces partner/group work in later activities.

Activity #3- Being a Good Friend at School

Students will be able to identify and describe at least 3 ways they can be a good friend at school.

•Explain that we can have friends in many different places: your neighborhood, daycare, church, sports team, etc. We are going to focus on friends at school.

•Read “Our Classroom is a Family” Pause often to discuss how students in the book are being a good friend.

•Students will complete the “How to be a Good Friend at School” activity.

Activity #4- Classroom Family Pudding

Materials: vanilla pudding cups, sprinkles, gummy bears, Nerds Candy, spoons, paper towels, poem

•After reading “Our Classroom is a Family” introduce that your class is going to have their very own pudding recipe.

•Distribute all supplies for making pudding.

•As you discuss what each ingredient represents using the poem, have students add it to their own pudding.

•After making the pudding, students will complete the recipe recording sheet using the poem.

•Allow students to enjoy their treat!

Activity #5- Under the Magnifying Glass

Students will be able to identify important details in order to introduce themselves to new friends.

•Discuss how to introduce yourself to new friends. Brainstorm some things you can share about yourself when meeting a new person (favorite things, # of pets, hobbies/sports, etc.)

•Introduce the activity. Give students your expectations (# of things they need to share, coloring supplies, labeling drawings, etc.)

•If time, allow students to share something about themselves from their magnifying glass!

•Optional: Have students cut their magnifying glass out for bulletin board display.

Activity #6- Finding Friends

Students will be able to apply/practice social skills to build relationships within the classroom.

•Review things you can share about yourself when meeting a new person if needed.

•Students will fill out their answers on the left side of the activity sheet first.

•Once finished with their answers, students will partner up and ask their new friend one question. Students should have a new partner for each question! (Suggestion: let students walk around the room as you play music. When the music stops, the person closest to them is their new partner).

Activity #7- How to Work with a Partner (Whole Group)

Students will be able to identify how to work cooperatively in pairs.

•If partner work is something you will implement often in your classroom, this is a great time to talk about your expectations.

•Use the “Howdy Partner” slideshow to discuss how to be a good partner in the classroom.

•If time allows, I recommend moving onto activity #8 immediately, as it will allow students to practice working in pairs.

Activity #8- Partner Practice Game

Students will be able to demonstrate how to work cooperatively in pairs.

•2 versions: color or black and white. Each is played a bit differently. Make sure to read directions depending on which version you choose.

•Materials: game board, game pieces, dice, coloring supplies (if using b/w)

•Review Activity #7 if needed.

•Partner students in a way that fits your classroom needs.

•Student pairs will play the boardgame using the partner skills discussed in the previous activity.

Activity #9- Friendship Cootie Catcher

Students will be able to demonstrate how to work cooperatively in pairs.

•Pass out cootie catchers and allow students to color/cut.

•Start as a whole group to model how to fold the cootie catcher. Students may need extra support with the folding.

•Pair students up in a way that best fits your classroom needs.

•Student A will move the cootie catcher and Student B will answer the question. Then they will switch as many times as allowed!

•There is a version with blanks if you come up with different questions.

Activity #10- How to Work in a Small Group (Whole Group)

Students will be able to identify how to work cooperatively on a team.

•If small groups are something you are going to implement regularly in your classroom, this is a great time to introduce your expectations.

•Use the “Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork” slideshow to discuss how to be a good teammate when working in a small group. (This is VERY similar to the Partner Work slideshow. Use this to explain how working in a group is very similar to working with a partner!)

•If time allows, I recommend moving onto Activity #11 immediately, as it allows students to practice their teamwork skills.

Activity #11- Teamwork Puzzle Challenge

Students will be able to demonstrate how to work cooperatively on a team.

•Materials: printed/cut puzzles, recording sheets, pencils

•I strongly recommend printing these puzzles in color ink if possible. The black and white versions are significantly more challenging.

•Divide students into 6 small groups in a way that fits your classroom needs.

•Groups will work as a team to complete each of the 6 puzzles. Each student will have a recording sheet to keep track of their answers.

•Optional: For an extra challenge, only give students a set amount of time at each puzzle.

Activity #12- Bonus Teamwork Puzzle Challenge!

An extra set of 6 puzzles and a recording sheet. These are logic puzzles and require students to put their brains together to solve! Refer to Activity #11 above for directions.

Total Pages
77 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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