I had my first Fabulous Friday Friends small group yesterday. It was definitely a learning experience. Let me recap what this group is. Fabulous Friday Friends is a small group for anyone who would like to come during recess and play cooperative games. The group's focus is working on friendship skills while having fun. Since anyone can come, students have to sign-up the morning of the group. The first six students to sign-up get to come. Students take a clothespin pass as a reminder and the teachers know they have signed up for the recess group. The students must bring back their clothespin pass to come in.
I wasn't sure how many students would sign up at first. I sent out an email to the teachers so they knew I was starting the group and I told them they could suggest the group to students. I also told the 5th graders who had asked me to start a group like this. I had two groups, one for third grade and another for fifth grade. Out of the 12 slots available (6 per group), 11 students signed up.
I started with a game from this website Group Activities, Games, Exercises, and Initiatives called Chairs. Basically it is like musical chairs except instead of taking out a chair each time, all players stay in and the person in the middle has to try to get a seat. There are enough chairs for everyone including the person in the middle, but when they go to sit down, someone scooches in their seat. You have to be quick to get a seat! The kids loved the game, but I felt that it was not as cooperative as it sounded. Maybe all get to play and no one gets out, but it got too competitive for me.
The next game we played was Office Tennis. This is my live version of the Paper Toss Ap! Students had to partner up for this game. At one end of my office I put a goal (trash can) and the partners stood behind the goal tossing tennis balls (paper balls) to their partner who would hit the paper ball with their tennis racket (clipboard). This game went very well. We played for one minute and then switched positions. The group who had the most balls in the goal won, but we did not focus on who won, we focused on how much fun we were having together.
In my 5th grade group I decided not to play Chairs, but instead we played a Rubberband game. On a table have several cups to stack. To stack the cups on top of each other, students will work together to pick the cups up with a rubberband grabber. To make the rubberband grabber, tie pieces of string to a rubber band, spacing them as evenly apart as possible (it should look like a sunshine with sun rays going out in all directions). Each person should hold onto one of the strings that are attached to the rubber band and the group then uses this device to pick up the cups and place them on top of each other by pulling the rubber band apart and then bringing it back together over the cups. This was another successful game.
I concluded both groups by making "Rain" . Have your students sit together in a circle. The teacher begins to rub the palms of his hands together, making a swishing sound. The students should join in. Once all the students are mimicking this action, the teacher then begins snapping his fingers, in the rhythm of rain falling, with the students joining in. Next, the teacher begins slapping his hands on his lap, imitating the sound of louder rain. The "rainstorm" reaches its peak as the teacher then begins stomping his feet, while the students follow. Next, the teacher winds the storm down again, with the students following his actions: clapping, snapping, palms rubbing, until the storm is over and everything is quiet.
My silly fifth graders had fun with this. One stood up and flashed the lights on and off for lightning and you can hear those silly girls pretending to get electrocuted. Besides that frightening thought, I think the groups went very well!