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Tuesday, November 9, 2021


Almost any learning project children do independently will be more exciting when they do it with their friends. These can be adapted to different age levels, abilities, and skills you want to reinforce. 

Groups can make posters about drug awareness, nutrition, or other health issues and post them around the school.

Give teams a letter, word family, prefix, etc. and have them write or draw all the things they can think of.

Book Makers
Give students a topic and then ask them to make a book about it. Be sure they sign their names as “authors and illustrators.” 

*Have an “authors’ party” where groups read their books to classmates.

Pass It on Picture
Groups sit in a circle and each member is given one color of crayon and a sheet of paper. The children begin drawing a picture. When the teacher rings a bell, they must pass their picture to the person on their right. The children continue drawing and passing pictures until it ends up to where it originated.

*You can do the same thing with colored pencils and story writing.

Groups can build things with blocks, Legos, and other construction materials. 

*Tie in with math. How many squares, rectangles, etc. did you use?

*Relate to a unit of study. For example, make a home for a pioneer, or make a home for a bear.


Have groups make decorations for holidays and special school events.

Group Art Projects 
Children can add individual components to make a thing of beauty. They can make a quilt where each child is given a 6” square. After decorating their square punch holes in the corners and tie them together with yarn to make a quilt. Groups can also make anchor charts, murals, collages, paintings, flags, sculptures, and so forth.

Cards and Thank You’s
Teams can work together to create get well cards, thank you notes, and other greetings.

Write a Song, Rap, or Poem
Have students collaborate to write a song, rap, or poem. Encourage groups to practice and then perform for classmates.

*Tie these in with national holidays, seasons, special events, or literature.

*Acrostics work well for this.

Pass the Pat
Encourage children to recognize the efforts of each member in their group. Have them stand in a circle and take turns patting each other on the back and saying a contribution each team member made.

Here are team work projects to challenge older students. I'm smiling because I remember doing some of these in grad school. I think I learned more from these activities than listening to lectures!! 

Visual Graphics
Have teams use webs, T-Charts, Venn diagrams, and other graphic organizers to explore themes, books, compare/contrast, and so forth.

Make Lists
Teams can make lists of how to be a buddy, how to be a good student, what to do when they are bored, what they like best about school, and so forth.

Brainstorm – Themes, literature, math concepts and almost anything you are studying can spark brainstorming with a small group.

*Let students brainstorm how to handle common classroom problems like students who break in line. Brainstorm what to do with broken crayons. Brainstorm what to do instead of playing a video game. 

*Put big sheets of paper on a wall to use for brainstorming. 

KWL – Know, Want to Know, Learned – When introducing a new theme or concept let groups make a list about what they already know about the topic and what they want to learn about the topic. During the study they can be encouraged to write what they are learning.

See What You Can Find Out - When starting a new unit select several books from the library on the topic. Give each group a book and ask them what they can find out in five minutes. Let one person from each group report to the class.

*Ask groups to trade books and see what else they can find out.

Techies - Groups can use technology to take photos, make movies, powerpoints, post blogs, and other projects.

Innovators - Give groups common objects such as a rubber band, safety pin, straw, etc. and challenge them to come up with as many different uses for the object as they can.

Designers - Give groups paper and challenge them to create a paper airplane. Go outside and test airplanes to see which one flies the best.

*They could also design boats or other simple machines.

Inventions - Let groups collect recycled materials (cereal boxes, paper towel rolls, etc.) Can they invent something new?

Dealer’s Choice - Give teams a deck of cards and ask them to create a new game.

Book Talks - Give groups study questions to guide them in talking about books they have read.

*Have them critique books. What did you like? Dislike?

Read and Pass - Teams form a small circle facing each other. One child begins reading and then passes the book to the person on her right. Students continue reading and passing the book around the circle.

*Limit reading to one sentence each, one paragraph, or one page.

Word Games - Give a vocabulary word to each group. How many smaller words can they write using the letters in the vocabulary word?

Letter Writing - 
Write letters as a group to politicians, authors, or other famous people.

*They could also send emails from their group.

Math - Have teams write all the combinations for a different number.

*Make a list of things that are a 2-D or 3-D shape.

*Look around the room and make a list of all the things that have numbers.

Survey Says - Let children work in groups to collect data. 

*They can also work as a group to do interviews.

Advertisement - Ask a team to read the same book and then create an advertisement about their book. They could make a poster, original slogan, etc. and present to classmates.

Science - Groups can do science experiments, gather data, record observations, and report findings to classmates.

Wants and Needs - Have groups make a T-chart of “wants” and “needs.”

*Tell groups that they are going on a wagon train west. Ask them to make a list of all the supplies they will need. (You could adapt this to a new colony on Mars or some other science fiction theme.)

Categories - Give groups a category (fruits, mammals, professions, games, etc.) and have them write/draw all the things they can think of for that category.

Puppet Show - Let students make puppets from lunch sacks, paper plates, or other art materials. 

*Ask them to write and perform puppet shows for the class. 

*Coordinate puppet shows with books read, units of study, social situations, etc.

Pantomime and Charades - Groups can pantomime books, songs, poems, and other themes while classmates try to guess what they are.

Skit or Play - Have teams create (and write) skits and plays to reinforce a unit or theme. They can make masks, costumes, or other props for presentations to the class.

Statues - Challenge groups to create a human statue that depicts something from a favorite book. Groups make their statues and their classmates have to discover which book they are performing.

*Use songs, poems, or other themes for statues.

Clean Up  - Assign groups responsibility for different areas and different jobs in the classroom. You could have a “library committee,” “sanitation team,” “neat squad,” “green team,” and other catchy team names.