Community Builders for a new class


Community Builders can be used for a variety of purposes.   They can be used at the start of a new year, for a new class,  to build the community in your classroom.   Community Builders can be active and they can be done as a whole class or in groups.   They can be used to share knowledge during a topic or to evaluate learning at the end of a module.




A great way to build your classroom community is to use community builders.  An excellent one to use at the start of term is the Pinwheel.  This activity allows you to stand back and see where there may be issues within your class through observing body language of your children.

How to set up a pin-wheel activity:-

  1. divide your class into two equal groups
  2. make a circle with first group facing outwards
  3. second group pair up facing inner circle
  4. set instruction i.e. tell the person facing you about yourself
  5. inside groups start first 30 seconds – you act as timekeeper
  6. after 30 seconds stop
  7. outside group 30 seconds and stop
  8. outside group now move one place to the left
  9. start the process again until children return to where they started
  10. you can stop every few turns and ask if anyone has discovered anything interesting about a classmate

This is also a useful activity for many curricular activities to find out information.

Try it out and post how it went – it works with staff too.


People to people

Get the children to pair-up.  Person in the middle (start with teacher) says People to People then says something like finger to finger, toe to toe, and side to side.  (better to avoid head to head with children)  Then People to People.  Children have to find a new partner. Repeat


Name Tag Match Maker

Each group member will need a 5″ x 7″ card for a name tag. Then give the following directions:

  1. Put your name in the centre of your card.
  2. In the upper left corner, write four things that you like to do.
  3. In the upper right corner, write your four favourite singers or groups.
  4. In the lower left corner, write your four favourite movies.
  5. In the lower right corner, write four adjectives that describe you.

When everyone finishes, have them mingle with the group for a few minutes. Without talking, they are to read the upper left corner of the other group members’ cards. When time is up, they are to find one or two people who are most like them and visit for a few minutes. When time is up, they are to mingle again reading the upper right corner of the other group members’ cards. They then find the one or two people most like them and visit. Repeat with the lower left corner and lower right corner information.

To make sure everyone visits with several people, you could implement a rule that no two people can be in the same group more than once

Group Juggle

  • Fun way to start working together.
  • Can be used to learn names and develop a sense of interconnectedness.
  • Stand in a circle, toss a ball to someone, using his/her name, and they in turn toss it to someone else, using the next person’s name.
  • Keep it going, then more balls are introduced and it starts gets crazy.

Set up & instructions for 1st round of group juggling

o    Arrange participants in a circle, not too close, not too far from one another

o    Include yourself in the circle

o    Explain that you are going to throw a ball to someone – pick someone out & ask their name, then say

o    “Hi Freddy, my name is James…here you go!” [underarm throw a ball to Freddy]

o    Freddy then says  “Thank you James”, picks someone and says “Hi X, my name is Freddy…here you go!”            [throw]….they say “Thank you, Freddy] and on we go.

o    If you’re not trying to learn names, skip the naming part & just throw!

o    The challenge from here is simply to get the ball thrown around to everyone in the circle, and finally back            to the trainer

2nd round of group juggling

o    I then say, “Right, well done, now let’s see if we can that again – making sure we use the same order, and           using each other’s names.  Remember to say the name of the person you are throwing to, and thank the             person, by name, for throwing it to you, OK?”

o    On the second round, most people will be challenged to remember who to throw it to, and the two names!         Take it slow; help the group out, so that each person has a successful second round.

3rd round of group juggling

o    I then say, “Good, so how about we do it again, but this time, let’s see how fast we can do it, OK?  Here we          go…Hi Freddy, my name is James….” [throw]

o    It will go pretty fast this time, and the group will probably feel quite pleased with themselves

4th round of group juggling – introducing more balls

o    I then say, “That’s great, but I think you can do faster than that.  Come on; let’s see how fast we can really           go…” [I then throw and say the name with super-fast enthusiasm to set the tone!

o    After the first ball has passed through a few hands, I take a 2nd ball out of my pocket (surprise!), and                 casually, but earnestly say “Hi Freddy….” [Throw].

o    By now everyone is so well trained, the 2nd ball will automatically keep going, and there will be a                         detectable sense of challenge/excitement.

o    After a bit, I introduce a 3rd and 4th ball, up to about 6 balls.

o    Usually I let 4 to 6 balls be juggled for a while (note the balls will be coming back again to the trainer – just       keep them going).  A group of 12 adults can usually handle 4 to 6 quite well.

o    If I’m feeling conservative, I just let the group have the success of doing this number of balls, and collect             them in when that seems to have been achieved.

o    But usually, once the group seems competent at 4 to 6 balls I gradually then introduce an unmanageable            number of balls into the juggle & maybe also weird objects (e.g., kids soft toys) which all gets crazy, fun,              out of control, etc. and ends in a hilarious shambles.

o    Generally doesn’t require debriefing.



  • A fun, interactive, introductory get-to-know-you activity for medium to large groups.
  • Works best with large groups (min. is ~15).
  • Useful for celebrating diversity.
  • Ask everyone to stand up and then to walk around; explain that you will announce a category and that participants should then quickly organise themselves into smaller groups, based on the category to which they belong.
  • Once everyone is organised into their groups, ask each group to identify itself.
  • (Optional) Make a brief comment or ask each group a question.
  • Allow participants time to say hello and mingle/chat with each other when the smaller groups are formed.
  • Keep things moving by asking participants to walk around before announcing the next category.
  • Continue until the group is “warmed up” and ready for the next activity.  This will probably be after ~5 topics, depending on the group, purpose, and time available.
  • Categories can also be used as a fun, simple way to organise people into smaller groups for other activities.
  • For the first category, use one with two options and announce one side of the room for one category and the other side of the room for the other category.  This should help participants to get the idea for how the activity works.

List of categories

Two categories

  • When you clasp your hands together and fold the thumbs across the top, is your right or left thumb on top?
  • Fold your arms across your chest. Is your right or left arm on top?
  • Which leg do you put into your jeans first?
  • Which eye do you prefer to wink with?
  • Can you roll your tongue? (yes/no)

Three categories

  • When licking an ice cream cone…do you:

o    Twirl the cone clockwise

o    Twirl the cone counter clockwise

o    Lick up and down?

Many categories

  • What is your favourite season?
  • How many siblings do you have?
  • What colour are your eyes?
  • What’s your favourite colour
  • What’s your star sign?
  • What’s your favourite film?
  • What’s your favourite hobby?
 Posted by at 10:07 pm

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