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Building Community

Hi!  This is Ashleigh from Education Journey, and I wanted to share a quick activity I do to help build my classroom community.  To kick off a series of group work mini lessons, I like to do a puzzle activity with my students to teach my class that they are all important members of our classroom.  My students sit in groups of 4, and I buy a blank 12 piece puzzle for each group.  (This year I accidentally bought smaller 8 piece puzzles, and the activity worked fine.)

I pass out the puzzle pieces and have students work together to put the puzzle together.  
However, students don't know that prior to beginning the activity I have removed one piece of everyone's puzzle, so none of the puzzles can be completed.
I let students look for the missing piece for a couple of minutes, and then I use this to illustrate how everyone in the class is an essential piece of the puzzle.  We then begin discussing what group work should look like.
After our discussion, I like to give my students a few minutes to draw a picture on their puzzle pieces, and I keep the puzzle in the classroom for students to put together whenever they have free time.


  1. Love this idea! I am going to use this in my classroom. Thanks for sharing!!! :)

    Simply The Classroom

  2. I love this. I use to teach ELL and as one of our team building activities I would make a puzzle out of a world I made on butcher paper. Each student would decorate a piece and then they'd put it together. But I learned the hard way not to make the puzzle too hard. I never thought to buy a puzzle.

  3. Ashleigh~ You are awesome. I love this idea. It also reminds me of a couple other activities to form classroom teamwork spirit. Having the students hold hands in a circle and they have to pass a hula hoop around without letting go of their classmates' hands. And habitat sit, where the kids form a straight line, move into a circle and sit on each others' laps. They all are able to sit because they rely on each other, but if you take one kid out, everyone falls down...... Thanks for always sharing your rockin' ideas! Tara