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.
Ah Soh Koh
Ah = arm across chest pointing to person next to you (left or right), they continue sequence with Soh = arm overhead pointing to person next to them (left or right), next person continues sequence with Koh = both arms out in front of them pointing to someone across circle who then continues with Ah and so on. If rhythm is broken (hesitation, wrong gesture etc), then that person can sit down or a harder version that person becomes a distracter who cannot touch people, but must go around the outside of circle doing/saying things to distract others still in the circle until only small number remain carrying out the sequence of actions.
This is an active community builder the chart shown below has the alphabet and the arm you put up as you read out the alphabet aloud.
L-left R-right and T- together (both arms) This is a fun activity to try out.
A B C D E F
l t r r t t
G H I J K L
l l r t t r
M N O P Q R
l l t t l r
S T U V W X
t r r t l l
Change the Action
The pupils must copy your PREVIOUS action every time you shout change, so:
Teacher claps hands. Pupils sit still. Teacher shouts CHANGE and begins to pat her knees. Pupils begin to clap their hands.
Teacher shouts CHANGE again and begins to click her fingers. Pupils now pat their knees.
This is a good concentration builder.
Sorts and Mingle
There are two parts to this icebreaker. The first half is the “Sorts” game. The teacher tosses out two contrasting choices and everyone must move either east or west of the room (for example. “Do you prefer Nature or Cities?”) Then the moderator shouts out two more choices and everyone moves north and south of the room. In this way, each person must move to somewhere and can’t get “lost” in the crowd. Some sorts that work well include: dogs vs. cats, books vs. movies, sweet vs. salty, casual vs. dress up, inside vs. outside; be on the stage performing vs. in the audience watching, and so on.
The second half of the icebreaker, the “Mingle” game, works as follows: The teacher shouts out a general category and the group is asked to mingle around to find others that have the same answer and they clump up to form a larger group. After about thirty seconds to one minute, the teacher asks each group call out their answer. If a person is unique and is the only one with an answer, that’s okay. Examples of mingles: your favourite place on Earth; your favourite dessert; the kind of animal you like best; if you could have dinner with someone, who would you choose; your favourite hobby; if you could be anyone, what would it be?
Both halves of this game help people introduce themselves in a fun, interactive format.
Learning Objective: Stress Management (also a fun way to pair up participants, rather than telling them to “just pick a partner.”)
Time Available: 10 minutes
- Preparation: make sure the teachers in the rooms on either side of you know that they will be hearing some loud yells / screams in a minute, that it will only last for about two-three minutes, and that everything is OK.
- Have the entire group “line up in a circle” – you know what I mean … Important: everyone needs to be able to see the eyes of everyone else.
- Explain that you will be saying two sets of instructions repeatedly, “heads down” and “heads up.” When you say “heads down,” everyone looks down. When you say “heads up,” everyone looks up, STRAIGHT INTO THE EYES of anyone else in the room. Two possible consequences:
- if they are looking at someone who is looking at someone else, nothing happens;
- if they are looking at someone who is looking right back at them, they are both to point in a very exaggerated manner at the other person and let out a SCREAM OR YELL. They are then “out” and take their places together outside of the circle to observe.
- Once the “screamers” have left the circle, the circle closes in and you repeat step two, followed by step three, until you are down to two people. Yes, they have to do it one more time, even though the outcome is a foregone conclusion.
- Processing questions: what made this “fun?” The short answer to the first question is the stress involved. You can then ask them to think about what the actual stress factors in the exercise are (will my scream sound silly? Will I embarrass myself?) and when did the stress seem to lessen or intensify?