Life is a Game! Who's on Your Team?

Begin each year by focusing on teamwork, building each child's learning team, and pumping up the excitement with visits from local teams!

Photo of Andrea Stewart
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A group of leaders in our district has brainstormed this process to begin next school year.  We want to change our back-to-school program to focus completely on teamwork!  Here are some of the main steps that will take place:

1. We have always had a "Meet Your Teacher" event the day before school starts.  We want to turn this into a "Build Your Team" event!  Every student takes a "Team Photo" with their new teacher and the family member who brings them.  If no one can bring them that day, we know they need a home visit, or we invite them to come at an alternate time.  During this event we plan to make it clear we are excited to be part of the team, treating everyone involved as equally important members!

2. On the first day of school, our high school band and cheerleaders meet the kids at their car to get them excited about coming to school!  They thank the parents for doing their part on the first morning, and welcome the kids.  The specials and spec ed teachers are right inside the door making sure everyone has what they need, knows where to go, and feels like part of the Broncho team!  Once the bell rings, a high school athlete will visit every classroom to talk about their team, how they play a part on that team, how they could not succeed without the other team members, and how exciting it is that their teachers, families, classmates, and others are going to form a team this year to make sure they are successful!

3. Over the next several weeks during our weekly assemblies, we will recruit every local college, professional, etc. sports, arts, or any other type of team/group that we can find to visit the kids and talk about being a successful team/group member and encourage them to keep working with their team to succeed now and all through life!

4. A week into school we have an even we call "Back to School Night" which we will also use to emphasize our new team outlook and create some exciting videos to show the parents and keep on our school website.  We will also have a handout that gives ideas as to what each of us can do, depending on the "position" we play on the team. This is where we will let the families know just how excited we are about each child's academic, social, and emotional growth being a team effort, and every team member is of equal importance!  Communication is open, we are all on the same court, and they are in on every play!

5. Throughout the year, when an assignment, test, or challenge arises, the teachers, principal, kids, recess attendants, etc will all know to remind every kid that they are never alone when they need to accomplish something or make a decision.  They have a team that includes their family, their teachers, their classmates, the office, and they are the MVP!

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

The Flamboyan Foundation did a series of 26 short videos about teachers and parents teaming together to improve student achievement. These videos really brought some of the team member responsibilities and opportunities to light, but for the most part, this idea was a result of extensive conversations between myself and multiple school leaders, and a brainstorm session over the notes from those conversations.

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Photo of Jessica Lura
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Andrea,
What a fun idea! I love the team photo activity --what are you planning on doing with the photos of the "team" (teacher, learner, and family member)?

Photo of Andrea Stewart
Team

Jessica, we are brainstorming that. We are thinking of laminating it and putting it on the front of their homework folder to remind all of us to keep up the team spirit!

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Andrea,
Oh, that would be a great spot where students (and hopefully families) could see it regularly .

Have you fleshed out BTSN team handouts? I would love to see what each team member is doing. Have you checked out Co- Planning a Child's Learning --they have an educational school planner that they use to build relationships/share info with parents.