The following activities offer some fun ways to build rapport with members of the group!
Procedure: Make a circle. Ask participants/students to think of their name and to find an adjective, starting with the same letter, that illustrates an aspect of who they are. Students then take turns to say their name and introduce it with the adjective (e.g. Jolly Joan, Bouncy Bilal, Voracious Visnja, Antsy Ana, Earthy Einar, Cheeky Cleo!).
Tip: In addition to telling us something about each learner’s personality, the adjective functions as a memory technique to help both educator and students remember names. It is best done as a first activity for a group.
Conditions: Appropriate for big and small groups, all ages. Enough room to safely throw a ball.
Procedure: Make a circle. Throw the ball to a participant/student, while clearly and loudly saying your name and then hers/his. This student then throws the ball to someone else, repeating the pattern (saying her/his own name and then the receiver’s name). The game goes on until everyone can play fast and without making mistakes.
Tip: Start with a simple round during which each participant throws the ball and says her/his own name. Play slowly and speed it up as students become better at remembering names.
Conditions: Appropriate for big and small groups, all ages. Participants need to be able to write. You will need enough time to go through everyone’s contributions.
Procedure: Ask participants to write something unusual about themselves on a slip of paper. Warn them that the content will be made public! Place all papers in a basket. Whenever you need a break, an energiser, during class, randomly draw two or three slips from the basket, read the contents to the class, and ask students to guess who it belongs to. If the person identified is not the author, (s)he stands up. Continue until the class finds the true author who is invited to then briefly explain what he wrote on the slip of paper.
Tip: Use opportunities to help student reflect on the content and ask questions to the authors; point out interesting links to aspects that you find useful for building rapport in the group. Go through the basket until it’s empty; no one should be left out!
Conditions: Appropriate for big and small groups, all ages.
Procedure: Make a circle, leaving a gap between two of the participants. The student to the left of the gap then chooses a new neighbour by saying: “The space to my right is free. I wish [insert name] to come to me”. The person called moves into place. The student left with an empty space on her right is next to wish for a new neighbor. Repeat the process until the whole group has been called.
Tip: It is important that each student be called at least once. Don’t leave anyone out!
Conditions: For ages 2 to 10.
Procedure: Before class, write the name of each student on a paper plate. Make a circle, before placing a paper plate in the middle. The class then sings together: “If your name is on the plate, pick it up!” The relevant student collects his plate. Continue placing the plates inside the circle until everyone has had a turn. Then hang the plates like big medals and dance together.
Tip: the plates can be kept and used for further activities, for example activity #1 ‘Mirror speak to me” in “TASK for democracy, 60 activities to develop and assess transversal attitudes, skills and knowledge” available HERE.
The activities presented here were sourced from Pestalozzi Programme Community of Practice’s blogs with contributors: Carmen Becker, Vivian Chiona, Gerrit Maris, Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard, Gudrun Ragnarsdottir, and Foteini Veneti.