Teacher Team Building

Does your school have a Sunshine Committee? How does it work? In the past, our school's Sunshine Committee was made up of a grade level or specials team. It rotated each year. Until last year when it died. No one wanted to be forced to do extra stuff. I kind of understand.

This year, a teacher friend and I decided to help revive it because we missed the fun t-shirts (which Sunshine never did) and socializing with other teachers (again - not a previous part of Sunshine). I wasn't so much interested in the retirement parties and the showers and such. I wanted the fun!

Now - you may be wondering - Kristin, what does this have to do with teacher team building?

This year for Christmas, the Sunshine Committee decided to do a holiday team scavenger hunt! It was a blast.

Teams were grouped by grade levels and had a list of 100 items or tasks to take pictures of. Some of these were super easy - like a picture with a custodian or a piece of technology. Others were a bit trickier - like taking a picture of a teacher outside in the snow when it hasn't snowed all week!

Like I said, it was super fun and super successful. Why? Because it was silly and cute. But also because the teachers were working together. Collaborative plan time is something that is new in our school district. Before, teachers collaborated by sharing ideas. It was brief and sporadic because our plan times were all different. So what is collaboration supposed to look like now that we do have the time?

The scavenger hunt was a great tool to show us how to work together. All teams participated to different degrees. But for some teams, we saw them having planning meetings about how to get all the photos accomplished. We saw them creating 'agendas' for what needed to be done during their lunch times in order to get all their shots. We heard discussions of how to make a picture even better. We saw people working as a team to make it work.

In fact, it was so exciting and amazing that next year, we're thinking about doing it during our in-service week to help set a good tone for working together and to help new teachers and team members become part of the team.

It was hard (but fun) work for sure. Especially when it's also your final week of grad school and you have a 30 page paper due at the end of the week. It required a lot of careful planning to get all of our normal work done plus get the things for the scavenger hunt completed as well. But collaboration can be hard work too. Working as a team takes effort, and that's part of what we learned through doing this.

How do the teams work together at your school? Do you think your team would benefit from something like this? I'd love to hear more ideas of things that you do or have done that help your team gel and work together!


  1. Would you be willing to share your list for the scavenger hunt? Our district team is talking about doing something like this at February Pd.

    Kovescence of the Mind

    1. Definitely! I'm thinking it's at school, but when I go in, I'll look for it. Check back for a post in the coming week with an update and the list!

  2. Looks like so much much fun! I would love to do something like this at my school, I am just not sure how it would work. I teach at a super small school. We only have 10 teachers in our whole school K-8. I too would love to see the list you used.

    Luv My Kinders

    1. Check back later this week, I'll be sharing the list (once I find it!). I'm sure you could pull it off, even with only 10 people. You could have 2-3 people on a team. I think that would be fine.

  3. You are so lucky to work at a school that would let this happen! Our Sunshine Committee has not been very successful in quite a while-most of our teachers would just roll their eyes at an activity like this. :( I think it looks like a lot of fun though! :)

    Not Just Child's Play

    1. Our school has been the same way. We knew that there'd be some eye rolls, but we also knew there'd be teachers that would do it. And, we hope that as we continue doing fun, morale-boosting activities for our staff, the eye rolls will decrease and some of those teachers will start fully participating.

  4. My dad was a teacher in the 1970's when they didn't think outside the box much in terms of team building. The only activities for teachers were boring staff meetings. In the end, the stress got to him and he took early retirement. Having your ideas for teacher fun outside of the classroom would have been a godsend back then!

    Maribeth Curley @ UP Communication