Building relationships takes time. Since time across the school day and year typically feels limited, maximizing the time we do have is important. We can start by intentionally using the time we do have to build relationships among and between students and teachers across our learning community. One way to do that is through get-to-know-you games. One that I’ve played oodles of times with classrooms across grades 2-12 is called the Who Are You? game.
Give students a copy of the Who Are You? Game Template [students].
Explain to students that they will list fun facts, ideas, interesting tidbits about themselves on the lines provided. Explain that line #1 is where they will list their birthday and line #10 is where they will list their name. Note: If age appropriate, you can turn these two lines into a teaching moment by showing students different ways to write their birthdays [August 2, 2009 or 8-2-2009 OR show students how to write first, middle and last names vs. initials.
Remind students that they can write single words or phrases for their responses.
Give students 5-10 minutes to jot down their answers. Roam around the room to provide support if needed.
Nudge: Ahead of time,, fill out one about yourself too.
Once everyone is finished filling out their template, collect all papers and shuffle.
HERE’S HOW TO PLAY
Ask all students to stand up.
Explain that you are going to begin reading some attributes from one person’s paper. If students hear something that is true of themselves [even if they didn’t write it on their paper], they remain standing. If not, they sit down. Once they are seated during this round, they remain seated. Then, move on to another statement on the same person’s paper. If students hear something that is true of themselves [even if they didn’t write it on their paper], they remain standing. If not, they sit down. Once they are seated during this round, they remain seated. Repeat until only one person remains standing.
The goal: Look at all of the things that we have in common while learning specifics things about each person.
Play the game for a few rounds and then stop to debrief with students. You could ask:
What are some things we have in common?
What unique things did we learn about specific classmates?
Consider playing a few rounds of the game each day [time permitting] and across several days. Make sure everyone gets a chance to be the last person standing.
Once you’ve finished the game and if time permits, create some flexible small groups and give students an opportunity to share a few ideas from his/her list, going more in-depth where applicable. For example, if a student shares that he loves hiking, he could share a hiking story or experience with his small group. For more ideas on small, flexible groups, check out What Are You Grouping For?, Grades 3-8: How to Guide Small Groups Based on Readers—Not the Book.
If you are an Administrator or Instructional Coach—this works for building relationships with and among colleagues, too. This is great for PLC’s, Team Meetings, Staff Meetings, PD/Workshops, etc. Check out Who Are You? Game Template [adults].