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.