Tonight during the #5thchat on Twitter I made a comment about how my school spends the first 2 days back to school at an outdoor ed camp, doing team building activities and it is a great start to the year. I was asked by a few people to explain it a little more so here it goes.
Each child at my school is assigned to one of 4 tribes (Iroquois, Mohawk, Algonquin, or Huron). Throughout the year, they earn points for their tribe through various community services and sports activities.
At the beginning of the year, tribes serve as a great way to group kids because there are a few students from each grade in each tribe. The Grade 7-8 students go to a sleep-away camp for 3 days and they do many activities grouped by tribe and by grade. I have not taught the Grade 7-8’s so I don’t know a tonne about what happens there but the camp fire sing-a-longs, camp games, crafts, and bonding!
The Grade K-6 stay closer to school but still participate in “outdoor” based activites. The K-3 will stay on campus (we have about 100 acres so there is plenty of outdoor space) and the Grade 4-6 will head to our outdoor ed property about 30 minutes away. At the outdoor property, we will do orienteering, tree planting, frog watching, capture the flag, and many other cooperative activities and have a BBQ lunch.
Usually the orientation will have some type of theme (past include space, jungle, music) and we group the kids by tribe and class so that they are able to get to know everyone. It is a great way to integrate the new students and ease back into school. It is also a great way to build trust within your learning community and feel relaxed in the school environment.
If anyone has any specific questions I would be pleased to answer them.