Strategies to Melt the Ice in a Classroom
As it usually happens, students are quite shy and feel uncomfortable entering high school. It takes time to get used to other surrounding and new classmates. The problem that appears at the lessons is that they feel embarrassed to speak. They are not really passionate about showing their enthusiasm. Moreover, some of them undergo peer pressure that affects their self-perception and confidence.
The time required for creating bonds and becoming acquainted may take months. Well, nobody can predict how long this period of adaptation can continue, but you can assist students to overcome it faster and easier with the help of high school team building activities. There is a great number of games to help students to get to know each other better and to feel at ease with contemporaries.
Advantages of Using Team Building Activities for High School
Team building activities are an effective method to:
Improve communication and understanding among students
Help students to get familiar with each other
Grow team spirit and reliance
Teach modern skills such as solving problems and critical thinking.
All those games are not only a part of the educational process, but they are also about pleasure and entertainment. Games make everybody in a class work in one direction sharing one goal. Moreover, competition could be also an element of team building games. The effect these leisure activities produce on the students is truly magnificent.
We have compiled our set of team building games, which we consider to be the most suitable for teenagers and adolescent students.
1) Human knot
It is an activity that requires physical exercise. But what is important is that it needs everybody to be concentrated and willing to bring the victory to the team. First, teenagers create a human knot, which they later should disentangle. During this activity, you have a chance to notice those personalities who tend to be strong leaders.
Additional Materials: you do not need any
Rules of the game:
It would be a good idea to divide your class into two groups. The more participants you have, the more puzzling the solution of the task will be.
Everyone should hold the arms of the other two students who stand on both sides in the circle. Tell that it is impossible to choose the people to stay alongside with. You should highlight that left hand should be hold with left one and the same with the right hands. Finally, the human knot is ready.
Now, the most interesting part comes. The task is to unravel the knot, but nobody should drop a hand. When the circle is untangled, students should stand in the same positions holding the hands of the people standing beside.
In the process, there will be a lot of funny moments, as students will twist and cross over each other’s arms.
Tip: You may also notice that one of the students doesn’t want to play, so suggest him or her taking a leading role to run the game. Being out of the circle, this person can watch if others follow the rules.
It is even better if you have more than one group, because you can motivate each of the teams to be the first. The group, which finds the way to solve the puzzle first, is the winner.
2) Magic carpet
The center point of this game is a carpet, everybody is standing on it, but they have to upturn it not stepping out of it yet. This is very important for a team to decide on the tactics for the exercise, not when the activity is in its full swing, but beforehand. Then, they are more likely to cope with this piece of work successfully.
Additional Materials: a piece of cardboard for each team, rugs, and towels
How to play:
At the beginning, distribute the magic carpets for each team. Let the participants step on them. Then it is time for a mystery, retell the story about the magnificence of this carpet and its wonderful capabilities, for example, that it can fly in the sky, however, now it is impossible, as it is the wrong way round. Give instructions and tell that students are not allowed to fall off.
Again, strategy matters. Students should collaborate and think of the best way to deal with the task.
Competitive spirit is fine, but you can also suggest exchanging ideas between teams and helping each other.
Tip: Whenever you see that students are stuck with the right strategy, give them hints and encourage rethinking the approach they have undertaken. It trains the skill of analytical thinking, which is essential in our century.
3) Build it!
It is proven that this an amazing activity loved by teens. Everybody wants to be involved and take part. Students ought to build a freestanding tower just from scratch. It could not continue as long as they wish to, because the time is actually limited.
Materials needed: a pack of balloons for every team, tape, a tape measure
How to play:
One team should consist of four students. Give them the required materials.
Tell about the time limit of ten minutes. Now describe what result they should finally have. It should be a very tall freestanding tower. When the time is over, you will measure each of their creations. If somebody’s tower falls, it will be eliminated.
When students are totally involved in the game, they forget about the time limitation. Remind them how much time is still left.
Measure each tower and write down the results. You may also give some present for those who were the best.
One of the missions of an instructor is to help students in the process of adaptation and make everybody be the most effective while performing in the classroom.
Team building activities is a nice tool to help students feel the most comfortable and active.