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!