Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
Looking for a quick way to boost students’ morale at the start of a school day?
Try engaging your class in activities that build team spirit, like composing short Class Poems.
Help kids set their personal problems aside when they get to school by inviting them to be part of a group effort…team writing time.
Explain that composing Class Poems to build team spirit supports the concept that a class is more than a room full of students.
A class is a team of its own.
See if students agree that each member of a class has something to contribute to everyone’s welfare.
Elaborate on this concept at a later time. It’s applicable in many areas of a curriculum. Students serving each other as mentors is one example.
Pump up some excitement about building team spirit with Class Poems by asking if anyone can guess what you are about to post on the board.
As you lead this activity, be sure that everyone participates…all in…no matter the varied skill levels, no matter how much kids enjoy composing poems.
Announce that each student is expected to contribute at least one word or phrase as you write what the class composes on the board for all to see.
Write a Single Word Start Poem – One fun way to write a short Class Poem is to begin by writing single words that students suggest.
Step 1. Write each word on its own line. The poem will look like a list of words down the board as you begin it.
For example, one poem that I helped a group of students write together in a short period began like this:
Step 2. Ask students who have not yet offered words to do so. Explain that you’re looking for words or phrases to follow the words already written.
Note that the new words need to connect in some way with what is already written.
The line poem above developed into this:
fun, interesting days
hot, near the sun
exciting, took two days to get there
dry, many deserts
exhausting, so many activities
only, only then
feel many feelings
blue, very disappointed
when at the time
leave; didn’t want to leave
Step 3. Applaud the team effort. All in!
As a teacher, I only served as the team spirit building leader and the class recorder.
My students joined in as the poets. I wrote down what they composed. Wow, what beautiful work!
How else can you build team spirit with Class Poems?
Compose a Journey Together Poem – Take kids on an imaginary team journey to build team spirit.
One way to do this is to show a photograph or illustration of a destination to visit with imagination, visually and through writing.
For example, hold up a colorful graphic of the planets.
Announce that you plan to serve as a tour guide for the fastest trip ever to Outer Space.
Tell students that you need their help recording the journey.
Countdown to blast off…All in!
Ask who has a word or phrase to start the poem that will describe the class’ journey to Outer Space.
Offer guidance as needed.
Suggest that students use the visual that you’re holding to prompt descriptive writing. Ask for example, what colors they see in the planets.
Find Your Way Through an A-Maze-Ing Poem – Build team spirit by leading the class through a maze that challenges students to find their way together.
Begin an A-Mazing-Poem by drawing a maze in the form of a specific shape, like a fish.
For fun, sketch a swimmer in the center who is trying to find his way out.
Start the poem at a point in the maze that makes sense.
Ask students to offer words and phases that suit the subject of the shape the maze makes.
A fish maze poem with a swimmer in the center might be about someone falling off a boat into the ocean.
Words and phrases in a fish maze poem might include: Help me, help me, help me please! I feel the squeeze of a big fish belly. Searching, searching, can I find my way free?…and so on.
Younger students will find it easier to write a maze poem that simply runs across and down connected blocks that you draw on the board.
Older elementary students will enjoy the challenge of writing a poem inside a more complicated maze.
Copy and Share Class Poems to Spread Team Spirit – Reward your students for their team work by recording each finished poem and promising that every student will get a copy.
Jot down the finished composition or ask a student volunteer to copy the work on the board onto paper.
Format the finished Class Poem on new paper. Make copies to distribute.
Celebrate team spirit with appreciation for everyone’s participation. All in!
Please send comments about how you value building team spirit with your class. What group activities work well to do this?
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Talk with you again soon,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet