At Pearson English we’ll be celebrating International Friendship Day on July 30th.
It helps us think about our relationships, friendships and our rapport with other people.
The students in our classes may not always be friends, but it’s important for them to be able to work collaboratively in a welcoming and inclusive environment. When our learners feel comfortable, they’re more likely to work well together and participate fully. It’s therefore essential that we create a positive learning space for them.
Here are five fun and collaborative ideas, which you can do in English, to promote inclusivity and teamwork in your classes.
1. Body parts
This simple activity works well at the start of the course as a team-building task. However, it can also be used during the year to reinforce an inclusive classroom environment.
Materials needed: None.
How to play:
Before starting the activity, explain two simple rules to the class:
- Everyone in the class must be involved
- The numbers and body parts must be exact
Tell the students to stand up and get into groups with 7 elbows.
- Seven students put one elbow into the centre of the group
- Three people put both elbows in and one person puts one elbow in
- Two people put both elbows in and three put one elbow in… and so on.
Move around the classroom as students are working to check that they have the right number of body parts and that everyone is involved in a group. Congratulate groups as they achieve their objective.
Then say another number and body part, for example 33 fingers or 11 eyes or 8 feet.
2. How are we the same?
In this activity, students work in pairs to draw a Venn diagram which shows the things they have in common in the centre.
While it can be used as an icebreaker at the start of the course, it can also be a good activity to do if you feel there are separate friendship groups within your class.
Materials needed: a piece of paper per pair.
How to play:
Put students in pairs with people they wouldn’t normally work with. Have them draw two overlapping circles on a piece of paper. Each student should write their name next to one of the circles.
Tell them to take turns to make a statement about themselves. If their partner can respond Me too or Me neither, they can write a statement in the space where the circles overlap to show that they have this in common. If their partner can’t agree with the statement, they should write it in outside sections, as the example diagram demonstrates.
Give students ten minutes or so to write as many things as they can in their Venn diagrams, then invite pairs to tell the class what they found out about each other.
This is a good activity to practise picture descriptions, a task which often comes up in exams.
Materials needed: one picture per group of four, cut into four pieces.
How to play:
Give out the pieces of the pictures randomly. Tell students they have two minutes to study their picture and memorize it, but that they can’t show it to other people. Have students put their pictures in their notebook.
Tell students to stand up with their notebook and move around the room. They must try and find the other three people with the different parts of their picture. They must do this by describing the image, but still can’t show their picture to anyone. When a group of four thinks they have ‘made’ a picture, they should come to you with their notebooks and show you each part individually. You can tell them if they are successful, or if they need to keep looking for the right people.
As a follow-up to this activity, you can have the students work in their groups to write a collaborative story based on the picture.
4. Human letters
This is another fun activity to help students build communication skills and work as a team.
Materials needed: one mobile phone per group (optional).
How to play:
Divide the class into groups of four or five students and give each group a word, for example: friend, happy, together, love, team, etc.
In their teams, students have to work together to make the letters of the word using their bodies. Some letters are easy for one person to do (for example an i or an l). However, for other letters more members of the team will need to be involved.
As students form each letter, one member of the team should take a photo of the finished letter. At the end of the activity, they can show you the entire word.
If students don’t have their own devices, have them call you over as each letter is ready to take a photo.
Optionally, you can print off the photos and display the words around the classroom.
5. Happy vibes confetti
Students need to know each other for this activity, so it’s best done after they’ve spent some time together. This makes it a good end-of-term activity.
Materials needed: colored paper.
How to play:
Cut up the colored paper into squares which are big enough for students to write a short message on. Give each student enough pieces of paper so that they have one for each of their classmates and have them write the name of each classmate on a piece.
Have them write a positive comment about each person; this can be an adjective (funny, hard-working, cheerful, friendly, honest) or a short phrase specific to them (I love how you decorate your notebook. / Thanks for always lending me a pencil. / You always listen when someone else is speaking). When students have finished, collect all the pieces of paper and mix them together.
Next comes the fun part! Have students stand up and throw the confetti over them. Tell them to pick up the pieces and give them to the student whose name is on the paper, reading the positive comment to each as they do so.
After students have collected all their positive comments from their classmates, they can stick them in their notebook or make a poster with their name in the center.
How are you celebrating International Friendship Day? Let us know in the comments below!
If you are looking for more activities to help create long lasting relationships in your classes, check out our post: 5 team building activities to help break down boundaries.