A Classroom Community Building Activity that Will Have Your Students “Puzzled”Jul 25, 2023
Whoa! Have I got an awesome activity for you to use this year! Last year in my classroom, I was determined to build classroom community in each of my classes from the first day of school! Every Friday, I intentionally designed a short but fun classroom community building activity to not only help my students get to know and trust one another better, but also to have a little fun after all that we had accomplished academically throughout the week!
I got REAL creative and named this classroom community builder “Puzzled” (I can’t even type that without laughing).... But for real. It’s simple and SO effective!
Now, this is one of the few activities that I have shared with the world that requires you to have specific supplies on hand. I actually had these in my classroom from other activities but I will say that even if you have to make a one-time purchase, it will be worth it and these things can totally be reused (not only for this activity, but for so many more in any classroom):
6-10 Student Blindfolds
- You need ONE blindfold per group that you will have participating in this activity. In my classes I always defaulted to groups of 4 (that’s what my seating chart lended itself to).
- I got a 50 pack on amazon and I seriously use them ALL THE TIME in my classroom for icebreakers and team building activities galore! You can wash them and everything!
1 Puzzle for Each Group
- Again, you may not have 10 puzzles lying around but there are budget-friendly solutions.
- The puzzles need to be all similar in difficulty (or lack thereof) and number of pieces.
- I went to my local dollar store and purchased 10 24-piece puzzles that were a variety of themes (from Peppa Pig to dinosaurs). I actually prefer each puzzle to be different in theme for the activity. You can grab this puzzle 14-pack on Amazon and it would work GREAT (I actually like these better than the ones I bought because you can keep all the pieces together more easily)!
How to Play:
- Give each group one blindfold and have them choose who is going to be the “puzzle builder”. This person will put on the blindfold at this time. They are not to take off the blindfold at any time during the activity.
- Pass out one puzzle to each group. Instruct them to open it but NO ONE CAN TOUCH the puzzle EXCEPT for the “puzzle builder”! Yes, it already becomes challenging because the group members that are not blindfolded have to “coach” the puzzle builder on how to open the puzzle.
- Either give the groups a certain amount of time (i.e. 5 minutes) that they will have to complete the puzzle or make it a challenge by announcing that the first group to successfully complete their puzzle wins (I like to give a set amount of time so that all groups stay engaged for at least that long)!
- When you say “Go”, each team member must COACH their puzzle builder through the process of putting the puzzle together successfully! REMEMBER: The puzzle builder is blindfolded THE ENTIRE TIME!
Warning: Be prepared for a ton of laughs along with a classroom full of frustrated students trying their best to communicate! It’s what teacher’s dreams are made of!
To end the activity, I like to add a reflective writing component to it and then have students share their answers. I have students fold a piece of “printer paper” into four squares and then project these four questions on the board and have them answer each question in a specific “square”! EASY, MEANINGFUL and EFFECTIVE!
- What was your role in this activity? Do you think you did your job well?
- How could your team have been more successful?
- What was the most challenging part about the activity?
- How can people better communicate to reach a common goal?
If you get the chance to try this in your classroom, PLEASE let me know how it went in the comments below!
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