Team Building in the ELA Classroom

You know what they say: Two heads are better than one. Add even more heads… well, then you’ve got yourself a team! And a classroom made up of team players is a synergistic environment ideal for learning.

Encouraging teamwork among your students is important for myriad reasons. 

--- It is, of course, excellent practice for the working world; most professions require some form of collaboration. 
--- Having your students collaborate with others helps to firm up peer relationships and social skills. 
--- It can improve their speaking and listening abilities, problem-solving strategies and creative thinking. 
--- Teamwork also requires students to develop patience and tolerance for others – also good preparation for the “real world.”

Furthermore, middle school teachers, if you switch up your teams to include new pairings, you can shake up cliques and possibly stop a quarrel brewing beneath the surface. Or you might just foster new friendships.

So, it's clear that teaching students how to work together matters, but what's the easiest way to infuse team building activities into the classroom (without losing critical instructional time)?  Well, I had the very same question.  That's why I teamed up with fellow teachers and posed exactly that question. In response, I created a FREE lesson plan that encourages teamwork as students piece together a fable about the power of teams.  

Then, after a lesson on figurative language, students work together again to make a collaborative team banner that illustrates the essentials of team work.  The lesson takes one class period and reviews fables, reading comprehension, and figurative language!

Remember those teachers that I teamed up with?  Well, they also made FREE resources to help students learn how to work together in each of their classes.  So, students can practice teamwork in ELA, Science, Math, and Social Studies.  The coolest part?  We even worked to create an integrated culminating activity that encourages a culture of teamwork in every class.  You can find links to the integrated team building activities here.

So much good comes from teaching our students HOW to work together.  I hope that once you try the ELA lesson or all the integrated team building lessons, that you'll see an improvement in your classroom culture.

Go team!

Mary Beth


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