Guest post from Matt at Team Building Activities for Kids Central

Three Team-Building Exercises for Reading and Writing Groups”
Hello, I Run Read Teach readers! It’s Matt from Team Building Activities for Kids Central. Shannon was kind enough to let me guest post on her blog, and I’m super excited to share <a href=”“>our work</a> with you!

We figured it would be great to talk about some group reading/writing activities (keeping with the “Run Read Teach” theme!). We’ve had some really good results with the following team exercises, and we hope that they help you reach you lesson goals. And, if you have any suggestion on group activities that have worked for you, we’d love to hear them!

1. Build a Story. We had a local improv actor come into the classroom recently, and the kids *loved* the games we played. There are a couple of rules to improv games, and they’re super-easy and students seem to catch on quickly.

One of the games we played was called “Build a Story,” where the teacher/moderator starts a story, and each student repeats the last sentence that was said, and add the next line to the story.

Our game went something like this:

“Maria was a girl who loved hats.”
“Maria was a girl who loved hats. She has so many hats that filled up her entire house.”
“She had so many hats that she filled up her entire house. Her house got so stuffed that her roof flew off.”
“Maria’s house got so stuffed that her roof flew off. Her roof flew through the air and hit a bunch of birds.”
“Maria’s roof hit a bunch of birds and the birds got so angry that they…”

It can kind of amazing to see where students take the story (and it’s also a great game for school counselors!). When the game works, there are big laughs. For more improv games, you can check out <a href=”“>this site</a>.

2. Reading Groups. It can be very fun to see how younger students get involved in a story. The trick is to find an issue or a topic that evokes an emotional response with the students—it can be something outrageous that a character did, or an unexpected plot twist, or a funny conversation from the text. The important part is that the story has to be tip-top, and truly be something that moves participants.

For the activity, each group member has a question that they ask their reading group. The moderator can assign questions or have students come up with their own. As with adult reading groups, it works best when there’s a moderator who can guide the discussion.

The activity relies heavily on the text, so if you don’t have a book that you know will wow the kids, you can always cheat use a movie or show!

3. Book Gifting. This is a very fun—and very interesting—activity that takes place in the school library. If you have a reading assignment coming up, take the class to the library and give them ten minutes to find a book that interests them—and that they’ll give to someone else as a reading assignment. The exercise is a really great opportunity for social and emotional development, because students have to review literature by reading book flaps and perusing first chapters, and imagine what another student would enjoy reading.

Two things to remember about book gifting—1) if full books are too long, short stories work well, and you can make up a reading list of specific titles that you can have students choose from, and 2) if you have any “little rascal” students, you can expect some book gifting of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary or an encyclopedia volume!

We’ve had some fun with these activities, and we hope they work for you, too. The best team activities have students interacting and feeling—whether they realize it or not—that they’re an accepted part of a group. The social and emotional development that team building activities offer are really what school is all about!

Thank you to Shannon for letting us share these exercises with you! Yay Shannon!