Our first game was Gotcha. To play this game, students stand in a circle, arms out to the side with their left hand palm up, and right hand index finger pointing down and touching on neighbor's outstretched palm.Tell the students, "When I say the word go, do two things.... grab the finger in your left hand, and prevent your right finger from being grabbed." To make it a little more exciting, I had trigger words the kids had to hear before starting. The trigger word may have been "school" and I would say rhyming words such as "rule, drool, mule" When they heard "school", they could grab the other's finger - GOTCHA! It was a very quick game.
The kids got more excited over playing The Human Knot. This is one of the first cooperative games I learned, but it is great for talking about problem-solving! To play this game, ask students to form a circle, shoulder-to-shoulder. Ask students to each place a hand in the middle of the circle and to grasp another hand. Then ask participants to put their other hand in the middle, grasp a different person's hand. Don't let participants let go of hands - some will be tempted to think the activity might then be over - but it is only just starting. Explain to participants that what you'd like them to do is untangle themselves, without letting go of hands, into a circle. Participants may change their grip so as to be more comfortable, but they are not to unclasp and re-clasp so as to undo the knot. I don't know how this works out every time, but it does.
Our last game was Fact or Fib. Students sat in a circle and would make a statement. It could be true or it could be false. The rest of the students would vote if it was a fact or a fib. Most amazingly, these kids know each other very well, they usually voted right!