January 27, 2014

Re-post: Beginning of the "school year" games

Well since I am starting a new "school year" tomorrow, I thought I'd re-post this entry for you guys. I am doing these games again with my new students again tomorrow. Even if you don't start a new school year [we have accelerated courses], and you're just starting a new semester, it might be a fun way to build some new friendships amongst the kids.

I handed each student a piece of paper and had them do an acronym of their name. Their first word/letter became a part of their name. I now have: Robust Robert, Joyful Joy-anne, Magnificent Maggie, etc. It's fun. Then I let kids try to repeat everyone's name for candy. Several tried, but only a few succeeded! lol

We did my new Get to Know You Blackout Bingo. Took a little longer than I thought....about 15 min when all was said and done. That freebie is up on my TPT Store if you want to grab it! The kids had a lot of fun, but we did have to clarify a few things--someone can only sign your sheet once; one kid can't fill out 5 of your boxes :) And then I verified with the signee to make sure everything was kosher. Here's a pic of the kids running around.

Then we got to my awesome team-building game: Marshmallow Towers!!! This turned out to be a great team-building activity. It's pretty basic, and I made a FREEBIE directions handout/poster for you so you can do this with your kids too. It doesn't have to be the first day or week of school...mix it up and do it half way through to build community again. :) 

So each team gets 50 mini marshmallows and 50 toothpicks:

And they have to follow the directions: Here's the link to the free poster of directions.

Then I gave them a 1 minute planning time, followed by 10 minutes to build. My honors classes used all 10 minutes, and my college prep classes used about 8-9.The goal of this activity was not height, but strength, so I clarified that a few times.

Then I went around and judged. First I used a ruler as the weight...that way everyone's would work :) We're all winners ;) Then I used those big eraser...the 6" ones. A few held one, so then as a tie breaker, we stacked two. It was awesome. 

And the winning table received.....

Rice Krispie Treats! Duh...'cus they're made with marshmallows...get it?...lol. I'm a nerd :)

Anyway, it was a great first and second day! I'll definitely do these activities again.

Hope you can use these in your room!!


  1. I love your marshmallow tower activity. I do something similar (called the Marshmallow challenge) from this Ted Talk - http://www.ted.com/talks/tom_wujec_build_a_tower.html

    1. That's a great Ted talk! Thanks for sharing! I hadn't seen that one yet :) It was so interesting when I did it in the fall; I found out right away who the bossy kids were, and even had a girl that no one wanted to work with because she refused to let them help in any group project.It was eye opening.