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Academic Winter Sports Team Building

This time of year, I find the kiddos are starting to get on each others' nerves. Little things can turn into big arguments. They start having "friend troubles." They're cranky. 

What they really need is spring, fresh air, flowers, warm sun, and so on. But we can't actually give them that, can we? But here's something we CAN do:
We can shake things up!

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!

I'm a huge fan of the Olympics, and I like to bring winter sports into the classroom! Plus, it's a great way to bring Team Building into the classroom!

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!

1, Have fun!
2. Give the students a taste of what the Olympics are like.
3. Give the children a taste of what some countries around the world are like.
4. Review important skills we've learned.
5. Liven up the dreary days of winter.
6. Promote teamwork and positive feelings for each other.

Doesn't this sound exactly like what your students need right now?


Here's how I do it!

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
Four or five students per team is plenty. I try to spread the wealth of "talents" for each group, making sure I have strong readers, mathematicians, artists, etc. on each team if possible. I prefer to establish the teams and assign their countries at the end of the day, so they leave school excited and might even ask about their countries when they get home!

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
The first day is pretty much preparation. (I prefer to spread the academic winter sports out over a week, but you might want to squeeze it into a day or two.) The children need to make a flag for their country, and a banner for their country. They need to make sure they know the colors for their team, so they can wear those colors for the days of competition. Of course, this will take some research. They'll be looking for books in the library, and online. (Plus, they're excited about the research!)  I count these banners as the first competition. and I have guests come in and judge the posters for accuracy, neatness, and how well they represent the country.
Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
Some of our banners, with some of the medals each country earned!


Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
I absolutely love the rituals of the Olympics, especially the Opening Ceremonies! Did you know that Greece is always the first country in the Parade of Nations? (This is another place where a guest could come in, and the Greek flag is easy to make!) The other countries proceed in alphabetical order, except that the host country always comes last.
Since we're competing in the USA, I take the big flag off the classroom wall and carry that at the end of the parade. (I'm no fool, at the end of the line you can see all the kiddos!)
Yes, we march them all over the school! (I have a recording of the Olympic theme that gets played over and over during the parade.)
Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
I wish I could show you how much pride they have in their faces!
After the Parade of Nations, we return to the classroom, where an "honored guest" arrives with the torch. (Secretaries, librarians, and custodians are ideal for this job!) We recite the Academic Creed and the Academic Oath, (See resources below) then we all recite those important words: 
Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
You can turn most anything into a contest! Be sure to have plenty of ideas. There can be group games, like scoot, or individual games, where each country chooses a team member to represent them. I try to stick to the regular curriculum each day for part of the time, but I'll let the countries sit together and award "behavior" medals each day. There can be brainstorming activities, (How many nouns can you name in a minute?) speed activities, (math facts) a read-a-thon, physical activities, (jumping jacks?) and perhaps even a S.T.E.M. project!

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
Toward the end of each day, I have a medal ceremony for each contest completed that day. The children help me get desks and chairs in place, and we announce 3rd, then 2nd, then 1st place countries for each contest. The 3rd place winners stand on the floor to the left of the "podium," The 2nd place winners stand on chairs to the right of the podium, and the first place winners stand on the desks in the center. Then I'll play that country's national anthem while everyone cheers. (They've always been great about cheering for all the countries!)

Academic Winter Sports Team Building: Here's a chance to take the "Olympic Buzz" and bring it into the classroom for team building as well as fun academics!
Again, I wish you could see the pride on their faces! If you notice in the lower left, there's a guy in a blue shirt who was nervous about standing on a desk. We still celebrated him!
Yes, these team building games shake up the "hum drum" of winter, encourages teamwork and friendships, gives the children the break they need, and gets the children excited about school again. 


Here are a few suggestions and resources: 
Academic Winter Team Building Games (This has many suggestions for contests, as well as the Creed and Oath as mentioned above for the Opening Ceremony)

Academic Winter Team Building Games Freebie (A free version of the one above.)

If you're looking for National Anthems, these images will bring you to Amazon.

     

Of course, books are essential! Here are some great choices from Amazon.

                                       

I hope you and your children enjoy your winter games! 
If you decide to try this, I'd love to hear how it went in the comments below!


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