Friday, August 12, 2016

Getting to Knowww You...

{Sing title as Julie Andrews from The King And I...}

The cashier looked at me like I was insane. And why wouldn't she? I was coming through the check-out line with a package of M&M's, a double pack of post-it notes, and a Disney princess bouncy ball. And then she asked the dreaded question: "What's all this stuff for?" 

Explaining color guard to a normal person is hard enough. Explaining why these materials are crucial for a group of high school girls is even harder. But, just as community is important in blog-land and educational classrooms, a team cannot thrive without community.

Every coach and extra-curricular instructor has seen this battle. Do I expect all my girls to be best friends at the end of the season? No. Do they have to hang out with each other outside of practice? Quite frankly, I don't care if they do or not. But they are required to perform together, as one complete team rather than several individuals. They are required to converse respectfully and humorously during rehearsal, and these things would be impossible to do without first getting to know one another.

When I first began coaching color guard, I made the mistake of making rehearsals about color guard. Yes, the end product will be color guard. Yes, the judges are scoring color guard. But rehearsals are not about color guard. Rehearsals are about the girls; about instilling strength, endurance, teamwork, and motivation in these young women that they can use later in life, wherever their future may take them. These skills are not molded by technique and choreography. They are molded by community.

Taking an hour out of camp days to do nothing but play games was the smartest thing I've done since I began coaching. From the outside looking in, it seems anything but productive. The directors were laughing as girls were getting whacked in the face by bouncy balls and raced to shove countless M&M's in their mouths. The girls and I were laughing, too. But by the end of the season, no one was laughing because we had molded and recruited some of the most dedicated, hard-working individuals I've had the privilege of coming to know.

So today, I had my girls vote on their favorite team building activity; the activity I would share with my beautiful readers. Naturally, we had a tie. So, if you're a teacher, coach, director, or camp counselor, today I'm clueing you in on two of our favorite team building games: The M&M Quiz and The Question Ball.

The M&M Quiz
What You Need:
--Instructional Index Card / Card Stock
--Packets of Fun Sized M&M's

What You Do: 
--Give each member their own packet of fun sized M&Ms. {Tell them they can't eat them...yet.}
--Review the Instructional Index Card. It should cover what they should mention for each color of M&M's they have.
--Go around the circle. The members have to answer the information corresponding to their M&M colors as fast as they possibly can, eating the M&M's as they answer the questions. The one who answers the questions and eats their M&M's the fastest wins!

Some Ideas for Color Prompts: 
RED: A skill you've already mastered
ORANGE: Something you do well.
YELLOW: Something you're obsessed with.
GREEN: Something you watch / listen to.
BLUE: A goal for the upcoming season / school year.
BROWN: Something you can't live without.

The Question Ball
What You Need: 
--1 oversized beach ball / bouncy ball
--full package of post it notes
--Sharpie / permanent marker

What You Do:
--Write one question per post-it note.
--Cover the ball with post-it notes, taping the notes on so they don't fall off during the game.
--Start the timer and choose the first question you see. Answer the question as quickly as possible before passing it to someone else.
--Whoever catches the ball chooses the first question they see and answers it as quickly as possible.
--Keep passing the ball until all the post-it notes have been removed and answered.

Some Ideas for Question Prompts: 
What is your favorite song currently?
What is your favorite book and/or series?
If money/salaries didn't matter, what would you do for a living?
What is your dream car?
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
What's one food you can't live without?
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Are you left or right handed?
Do you have a job? Yes = where do you work? No = what's your dream job?
Who is your favorite actor / actress?
If you could live in any era, what would it be?
What is your favorite music?
What is your favorite quote?
Name your absolute favorite dessert.
What is one article of clothing you can't live without?
What is your favorite animal?
What is the best gift you've ever been given?
What is your favorite scent / smell?
What is your best subject in school?
What is your favorite candy?
What are your favorite colors?
What's your favorite beverage?
What are you looking forward to most this year?
What emoji defines your personality?
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If your life was a movie, what would the title be?
What is your favorite season and why?
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Who was your preteen celebrity crush?
Name something you do to relax.
Who is your favorite superhero?
What is your favorite sport (to watch or play)?

Feel free to put your own spin on these activities to make it fit your team even more, and I want to hear your awesome, creative team-building ideas, too! Email me at or drop a comment to share what you do for your team/class!

Have fun!

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