In 4th grade, we have been talking about teamwork and collaboration.

I began the lesson with one of my favorite stories, “Arnie the Doughnut.” It’s about a naive little doughnut that doesn’t realize that his main purpose is to be eaten. The story talks about his travels home with Mr. Bing, his rough realization about his main purpose in life, Mr. Bing and Arnie’s attempts to collaborate with each other, and their final teamwork resulting in Mr. Bing’s new doughnut dog.

After the story, I asked them what they though “collaboration” might mean. They came up with answers such as working together, getting along, having the same goals, and teamwork. I took “teamwork” and ran with it. Why? Because at an all boys school where do most of the problems occur. . . why, yes . . .at recess – prime time for teamwork!

I showed them a clip from Drumline to help drive home my point.

What was the point? Well, that teamwork requires everyone taking responsibility for each member of the team. So, not only are we covering September’s character trait of respect, but I’ve added in some responsibility as well. Remember that we are also focusing on interpersonal effectiveness, which I think teamwork fits right into.

After the video, I had them all stand up. I read two statements. If they agreed, they went to one side of the room, if they disagreed, they went to the other. Each time, I had someone explain their thinking. Not only was this interactive, but it got them to listen to another side of a situation.

My statements were:

– Teamwork means taking responsibly for the actions of the team. (This had many disagreements, which was a great moment to discuss multiple opinions)

– Teamwork is important when working with others. (This wasn’t so disagreeable considering they each realized that teamwork is important. Although one boy said he sort of believes in the phrase, “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.”)

The last part of the activity worked on personal reflections.

The 4th graders seemed to enjoy the lesson, as it had many components to it and kept them busy. I also think the activity helped to drive the point home. The only real way to tell is by heading out to recess  . . . maybe I’ll get out there when it’ not 90° and I’m wearing a sweater.

And besides teamwork in 4th grade, let me tell you how it transfers outside of school . . .

See the teamwork occurring while we sleep?

How about while we eat?

You see friends come in all shapes in sizes. In Ocean’s case, it comes in the shape of a flat cow with a squeaker in his head (my present to him since he was at Puppy Chic for 5 days).


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