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Back to School Olympic Team Building

Back to School Olympic Team Building: Use a Summer Games theme to review skills from last year, work on team building skills, and have some fun!

At the beginning of the school year, there are certain things you want to do in your classroom:

  1. Have fun.
  2. Get to know the kids.
  3. Have the kids get to know each other.
  4. Help the children learn to work with one another.
  5. Help the children learn how to use the classroom and the materials.

I have found that using an Olympics theme is a great way to start the year. How convenient, the Olympics are going on right now!

Goals for Olympic Team Building:
  1. Have fun!
  2. Give the kids a taste of what the Olympics are like!
  3. Give the children some experience with some of the different countries all over the world.
  4. Review skills from last year!
  5. Liven up these days where a big focus is procedures!
  6. Promote teamwork and positive feelings.
  7. Promote individual self esteem
  8. Grab an opportunity for some Project Based Learning.
  9. Did I mention having fun?

Here's my plan:
  1. Form groups of 4.  Those students will choose a country to represent, design a banner to represent that country, make a flag for that country, and pick a color to wear on the days of "competition".
  2. We'll start with a "parade of athletes" around the school. Each "country" will carry its banner and flag, and will proudly display their colors.  
  3. When we come back to the room, we'll make a big circle with all the countries. Each academic athlete will touch the Olympic flag while we recite the Olympic Oath and the Olympic Creed. (In the freebie below, I copied these almost word for word from what they use at the Olympics, with a few slight changes. I added the word "academic" in front of sports, and I left out the part about performance enhancing drugs.)
  4. After the Oath and the Creed, all academic athletes will shake hands with each other and say the words: Let the games begin!
  5. Then we'll hold a number of "events". I'm thinking a few scoot games, like these, perhaps a "read-a-thon", brainstorming contests (How many nouns can you think of in 60 seconds?), math facts contests, a S.T.E.M. project (something to do with water that can be done outside?), physical contests (How many jumping jacks can you do in 60 seconds?)
  6. After each ceremony, hold a "medal ceremony" for the winners.  I'm thinking some events will be group events, and some will be individual events. Yes, I actually own a CD of national anthems, so I'll play the one that goes with the country they represent, while they display their flag/ banner.
  7. If necessary, I'll come up with my own events, to make sure everyone gets an opportunity to be a winner. (Most people wearing purple?)
  8. Send them home with smiling faces and stories to tell.
Click the images below for links to CDs of National Anthems at Amazon:


Brain research tells us that emotions play a big role in memory. Contests and competition get the blood pumping! Brain research also tells us that the social part of learning is essential. This will include quite a bit of movement, music, artwork, and opportunities for everyone on every team to show their strengths. According to brain research, this will touch on many important points.  
    Here are some books with Olympics themes: (Each image is a link to Amazon for more information.)

    This freebie contains what you see in the picture, which are some fun activities and ideas to get you started on your own Academic Olympics. 

    Click the image or click HERE for your Academic Olympic Freebie!

    For a more complete resource, click HERE.

    For a set of Olympic Themed Literacy and Math Printables for second grade, click HERE.

    For a set of Math Task Cards that review First Grade Math Skills, click HERE.

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