The PB&J Lesson
When I was in 3rd grade, I remember one game that taught me how to write with others’ perspectives in mind. My teacher asked the children to write instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For 10 minutes, the classroom was busily scribbling instructions with their pencils. I remembered thinking, Why are we doing this? Making a pb&j sandwich is so simple and easily! Gosh, doesn’t she already know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? The teacher gathered all of the instructions and the day was done.
The next day, the teacher explained our next activity at the front of the class. She laid out a peanut butter jar, jelly, loaves of bread, a knife, napkins and a plate on a table in front of her. The teacher explained that she will read each of our instructions aloud, and will follow them exactly.
One by one, she read each instruction aloud anonymously– and each ended up being some of the most funny-looking peanut butter sandwiches around. Sometimes, the teacher would slop peanut butter and jelly on her hand just because the instructions neglected to mention to put them on pieces of bread. The children were in an uproarious laughter… It was so silly and obvious! How could we have forgotten to mention the bread? In any case, the person with the best-looking pb&j sandwich received extra credit, and we learned how to write while thinking about another person’s perspective in mind.
I think back on that lesson with fondness- It was one of those simple, easy-to-understand lessons that we were all invested in, were able to understand identify with, and (with surprise) have fun. These are the lessons that take an unexpected angle and are the ones that I remember the most.
Games are a wonderful and fun way to teach children. When something is fun, children will want to explore and learn on their own initiative. Harnessing kids’ boundless energy and eagerness into a passion for learning and education is one of the most valuable lessons that a teacher can teach.
I love seeing how children catch onto ideas so quickly and use their creativity and teamwork to achieve a goal. You can see the excitement and light in their eyes when you teach them through games.
Here are some Educational Games that I remember from throughout my elementary, middle, and high school days that you may be interested in for your classroom:
1. Ah, Um Game– (Presentation Skills) Kick the “ah, um” habit and avoid these words in natural conversation.
2. Around the World – (Math or Geography) Make your way around the classroom- see who answers first.
3. Build Tower Game – (Critical Thinking) Great creative group game- See whose team can build the highest tower using newspapers!
4. Dictionary Game – (English) Fool other teams into choosing your team’s definition.
5. Egg Drop – (Critical Thinking) Brainstorm, plan, and protect your eggs from being smashed.
6. Once Upon a Time – (English) Create epic stories as a creative writing exercise.
7. Origami Boat Race – (Critical Thinking) Your mission is to steal the bacon. But beware of the guards- if they tag you, you’re out of the game.
The past few years, I’ve seen children and adults interact and foster friendships over fun events. It’s been incredibly memorable, especially because you can almost see how people bond through reaching the same goal and purpose. It’s during this silly, yet significant time when people can “get out of their shells” and help and encourage each other.
This past Friday, I had the opportunity to facilitate Capture The Flag with 20 adults. With glow-in-the-dark sticks in hand on a large grass field, the adults had a blast “freeing the jail” and attempting to rescue the flag. With the right structure and clear guidelines, games can create some of the best bonding moments.
Here is a list of some of my favorite teambuilding game ideas, which can be played at youth groups, camping, retreats, corporate events, or just for a large group of people.
1. Video Scavenger Hunt – Travel to different places and record as many actions as you can from the list.
2. Photo Scavenger Hunt– Take as many pictures of the items or actions on the list as possible and earn the most points.
3. Food Challenge Cook-Off – Great bonding activity for adults. Create a 2-course meal with the secret ingredient.
4. What Can You Buy – Buy the best items you can get within a budget of only $5!
5. Cake Decorating Challenge – Use your decorating skills in this fun activity! Good game for large groups.
Found this recently- Here’s a great teambuilding service you can check out if you’d like to have someone facilitate fun teambuilding events in Atlanta: http://www.funteambuilding.com