Two weeks ago I got to participate in a Nearpod Summit for their PioNears. One of the main purposes of the summit was to see the projects they are working on and will roll out this year. I wrote about some of those when I returned home. Another of the purposes of the summit was community building. The PioNears are an amazing group of educators and we spent a good portion of the weekend working in teams. Many of the activities were very fun and easy to replicate in classrooms, so I thought I would share them here:
Working in pairs, one person is the camera and one person is the photographer. The person who is the camera stands in front of the person who is the photographer. The camera has eyes closed and is directed around an area by the photographer. When it is time to take a picture, a signal is given (tap on the shoulder) and the camera opens her eyes. It was hilarious to see “photographers” line up perfect shots and modify the signal to take panoramas, selfies, and more. Definitely a good one for building partnerships and trust.
Make a video
Working in groups of 3, we were given four images to lay, face down, on the table. We scrambled them into a random order and turned them face up. Then we had to make up a story and make a video about it. That’s pretty much all the instructions or equipment we were given. And we had 15 minutes to do the whole thing.
Count to 3
With a partner, count to three, alternating who says each number. Each time you get to three, start again. Go as fast as you can. Next, replace 1 with a clap. Clap-two-three-clap-two-three as fast as you can. Then replace two with a snap. Clap-snap-three-clap-snap-three. Then replace three with a stomp. Clap-snap-stomp-clap-snap-stomp. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
At one point in the process, we were encouraged to watch our body language when we screwed up. It was about what you’d guess – fist shaking, face palming, slumped posture. Then we were encouraged, both partners, to throw up our hands and shout “ta-da” every time we made a mistake. This became a framing concept for the weekend. Every time we turned around there was another “Ta-Da” moment. I loved the celebration of errors!
I am a huge fan of Project Runway, so when we were invited to form a team of six for a fashion challenge, I was in my element. There was a table of materials – rolls of paper, post-its, tape, markers, pipe cleaners, props – and we were all given a concept to represent with a fashion design. We had about 15 minutes to design and create it. Then we had a runway show. Our fashion represented Evidence Based Writing in Math. How did we do? I think this would be fun to represent characters in a book or new vocabulary or historical events.
Working in a group of 6, you create an improvised scene. Person #1 begins by assuming the position of something in the scene. For example, she might stand with arms outstretched and say “I am the tree.” Person #2 adds himself to the scene. Perhaps he flaps his hands above one of the branches, saying “I am a bird in the tree.” Person #3 adds herself to the scene in a similar way. Now the first person removes herself and either Person #2 or person #3 from the scene to create a new beginning and new people join. This was silly, but fun. Our scenes went to hilarious places!
Challenge the person next to you to rock-paper-scissors. Whoever loses must become the loudest, most enthusiastic supporter of the person who just beat them as she takes on the next person. Eventually the room is divided in half where each half is cheering for one person. Good as a brain break or to bring the energy back after lunch!
Best of Seven
Everyone write their best idea on an index card. On the back, draw 5 squares. Walk around the room and exchange cards with everyone as fast as you can until someone says stop. The person closest to you is your partner. Read the ideas on the card and divide seven points between the ideas to indicate how valuable they are. How will you divide the seven points – 7 & 0? 4 & 3? Write your values in a square on the card. Then repeat the process again and again until all the boxes are filled. Total the numbers in the boxes to see which idea is the best. This was a fun way to sift through many ideas to come up with a great one.
Working in teams, participants write a haiku to sum up an experience. Choose one person to read the haiku. All haiku readers make a circle in the center of the room. Everyone else surrounds them. The group is divided into fourths. One section makes a repeating rhythm, another section sings a repeating baseline, another section sings a repeating horn riff, and the last section sings a repeating melody. The “band” plays loudly until the leader quiets them and then the haiku is read. Then the music swells. A great finish!
Hopefully one of these ideas is one you might try. I hope to use them all in my classroom or in professional development that I lead this year. Thanks, Nearpod, for all the great ideas!