Monday, September 29, 2014

Collaboration Success!

Each day our curriculum provides 1-2 vocabulary words to teach students.  These words go with whatever our unit of study is.  Our current unit is "Those Nearest and Dearest" (family and friends).  Last week, a few of our words included: agree, argue, cooperate.  I wanted to do some type of "team building" activity that would encourage students to cooperate and agree rather than argue.

I started scouring Pinterest, and I read about circle painting.  I decided that this might be just the thing to put these words into action.  My students no longer go to art class (a change this year), so they have not had the opportunity to paint yet this year.  They've asked a few times when we are going to use paint, so I thought it was time to jump in.

I broke the class into 2 "teams".  Each team had 8 or 9 students on it.  I gave each team a large piece of white butcher paper and 10 cups of paint (5 colors, 2 cups per color, each cup had its own paint brush). Students were given the instructions to paint circles of all sizes all over their papers.  They were asked to discuss with their team before painting how they were going to "cooperate" and "agree" on things.

To my amazement, both groups did a great job working together!  I did not hear any arguing in either group.  It was so interesting to watch them work.  In one group, the girls were very strong and gave the boys very explicit instructions, frequently reminding the boys not to mix the paint.  In the second group, no one really took charge and they just all shared the paint and did their thing.

Bright colors (top) is group one; more bold colors (bottom) is group 2.
I gave them about 10 minutes to paint.  When I saw that things started to become less circle-like, I gave them a 1 minute warning.  All of those "multicolored spots" were created in a circular motion.  The first group (where the girls took charge) were not a fan of the boys mixing colors whether it be in the cup or on the paper, but they simply stated what they wanted them to do and moved it.

I was proud of their ability to cooperate with one another, and they were so proud of their finished products.  I hung them in the hallway with a picture of the group who created each piece hanging next to it.  I would definitely do this project again!

What types of collaborative or team-building projects/activities have you done with your students?

No comments:

Post a Comment