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Teamwork Games, Interactive Symphony Orchestra, Foreign Language Programs

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, January 12, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 3 January 12, 2007
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2007 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- Teamwork Fun!
Helpful Tips
-- More Math Game Ideas
Winning Website
-- DSO for Kids!
Reader Question
-- Language Programs
Additional Notes
-- Archived Newsletters
-- Email Support Group
-- Sponsorship Info
-- Reprint Info
-- Subscriber Info

Guest Article

[I've learned a LOT about 'teamwork' the past few months! As you
may remember, my boys were involved in a Lego Robotics team
this past fall. One of the areas they competed in was an impromptu
teamwork project. They have come to enjoy these challenges, so
I thought I'd share some ideas with you to try with your own family
or in your homeschool co-op. This article full of fun activities was
sent to me by one of our readers who is also an author! -- Heather]


Group Fun to Build Teamwork and Communication Skills
by Kris Bordessa

Whether as part of an organized sports team, a homeschool co-op
or just getting along with family members, working within a group
is a regular part of the day for homeschooled kids. Learning how to
successfully collaborate to solve some challenging tasks will spill
over into other areas of life, as well - think setting the dinner table!
Thankfully, lessons in cooperation needn't be dull! With ten minutes
and just a few basic household supplies, home educators and group
leaders can funnel youthful energy into creative problem solving
skills that will build cooperation and clear communication.

Challenge your favorite bunch of kids to come up with their own
unique solution to some of the following tasks.

Towering Heights

Set Up

Gather the materials listed below and place them on a table. Provide
the team with plenty of space in which to work. Read the list of
construction materials and the team instructions out loud to the team.

Construction Materials

10 zip top sandwich bags
25 drinking straws
1 sheet of mailing labels

Team Instructions

Your task is to create a freestanding tower as tall as possible using
only the materials given. You have six minutes to work; you will be
notified when you have only one minute remaining.

Scoring (optional)

You will receive up to ten points each for creativity, cooperation and
communication. You will also receive one bonus point for every inch
of your tower's height.

Four Square

Set up

Place four unopened food cans so that they form the corners of a
square, approximately 3' x 3'. Gather the construction materials and
set them nearby.

Read the list of construction materials and the team instructions out
loud to the team.

Construction Materials

1 sheet of newspaper
1 sheet of sticky dots
12" of string
10 paper clips
3 drinking straws
5 index cards

*may not be altered

Team Instructions

We all know that a square has four sides. Your task is to transform
these four cans into a closed square. You have four minutes to create
four complete sides for this square using the assortment of materials
you have been given. The materials may not touch the ground and
must be continuously touching - no gaps allowed. You will be notified
when only one minute of building time remains.

Scoring (optional)

At the end of the building time, you will be awarded up to ten points
each for creativity, communication and cooperation. You will also earn
25 bonus points if you have achieved a four-sided square.

Cooperative Walk

Materials for set up

a brown bag
2 blindfolds
a 2' length of rope

Set up

This activity can be done inside or out, but you'll need a large area
to work in. Crumple a brown bag into the ball and set it on one side
of the area you'll be using. Ask two of the team members to volunteer
to go on a cooperative walk. Blindfold both of them, and have them
stand side by side, at least 15' from the brown bag. Use a short
length of rope to tie their center legs together, three-legged race
style. Instruct the rest of the group to scatter around the area and
stand still. Read the team instructions out loud to the team.

Team Instructions

Clear communication is crucial to a successful team. In this challenge,
two of your teammates are counting on you for direction. Their task is
to retrieve the brown paper bag. They must work together to reach the
brown paper bag without touching anyone else. You can offer any kind
of verbal instruction you'd like to help your tied-up teammates reach
the bag, but you may not move from your standing place or physically
direct them. If at any time the tied-up pair touch one of their team-
mates, their turn is over and another pair will make an attempt to
retrieve the bag.

Moon Landing

Set up

Mark a 3' diameter circle on the ground with chalk. Ten feet away,
draw a ten foot square. Gather the team together with the construction
materials in the ten foot square. Read the list of construction
materials and the team instructions out loud to the team.

Construction Materials

10 paper clips
5 rubber bands
1 balloon, un-inflated
3 cardboard tubes
1 sheet of mailing labels
2 index cards
3 sheets of paper
2 paper cups
5 ping-pong balls

Team Instructions

Your mission is to land several portable test orbs on the moon. You
are standing inside Mission Control; you may not leave Mission
Control at any time. There is a landing pad across from you. You
have five minutes to devise a method to move all of the orbs (ping-pong
balls) onto the landing pad. At the end of the five minute construction
time, you will have one minute to launch the orbs. The orbs must not
roll out of the specified area, or they will not operate properly.

Scoring (optional)

You will receive up to ten points each for creativity, communication
and cooperation. You will also receive ten bonus points for each orb
you successfully land on the moon.


Kris Bordessa is the author of Team Challenges: Group Activities
to Build Cooperation, Communication and Creativity. Share a photo
of your group's solution and see how others solved some difficult
challenges at http://greatsolutions.blogspot.com


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

More on 'Math Wars Game' Idea

"Reading about the flashcard Math War game reminds me of one
I play with my son. He has a difficult time with subtraction and
absolutely hates anything to do with it, including flash cards (too
many painful memories, I think).

We play War with regular playing cards, using regular War rules,
with this exception: The loser of each hand has to give additional
cards to the winner, the number of cards determined by the difference
between the two cards played. For instance, if he puts down a nine
and I put down a four, he has to tell me what the difference is (9 - 4
= 5) and then I have to give him five more cards. Face cards count can
count as ten, which is especially helpful to reinforce the ten-facts,
or they can count as eleven (Jack), twelve (Queen), and thirteen (King)
for more of a challenge. Because it is a regular game played with
regular cards and there is so much incentive to gain more cards, the
math doesn't feel like 'work' to him and I don't think he even realizes
he's doing subtraction! Hmm, we haven't played for awhile -- I think
I'll go get the cards and challenge him to a round!" -- Jennifer in CA


"I shared a similar idea to math war with middle school students
that I tutor in math. I realized that many had never really learned
their multiplication tables. This made middle school math very
tedious for them. It is simple to play multiplication war. Divide a
standard deck of cards in two piles. Each person turns over two
cards at a time. Multiply the two cards and the person with the
highest number gets all the cards. Play until one person runs out
of cards. You can assign a value to the face cards. Depending on
how high you are going with multiplication, they can all be 10 or
you could make aces 12 and kings 11 with jacks and queens
being 10." -- Debbie H.


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Winning Website

Dallas Symphony Orchestra for Kids

From Cindy Prechtel, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com:

"The Dallas Symphony Orchestra for Kids presents fun and
interesting activities about music, composers, instruments, musical
periods, and more. There are many listening activities, interactive
'point and click' screens, printable biographies, orchestra seating
charts and more. The website also features an extensive teacher’s
area with lesson ideas to correspond with material presented on
the website. There is a long list of “do at home” activities too!"

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I am searching for a good second language course for my 8 year
old. I've heard great things about Rosetta Stone, and one called
The Learnables. We are going to be teaching French. What are
some thoughts and recommendations?" -- Roberta

Our Readers' Responses

"We have used the Learnables, Power Glide, and a couple of smaller
programs. We have studied, Italian, French, German, Hebrew, Russian
and Latin. Our favorite by far is Power Glide.

Part of the reason we like it so well is that it serves all the
learning styles. My daughter did great with the Learnables because it
is geared to auditory learners, which fits my daughter's learning style.
It was so difficult for me, a visual learner, that I finally let her
study the lessons and teach them to me." -- Mary Beth A.


"I spent years trying to find or 'make work' a foreign language
course for my boys. My husband has a Masters in foreign
language education and he's evaluated just about every program
out there for homeschoolers. Rosetta Stone wins hands down
for using best practices for learning a second language. It's pricey
but works (we never did find a less expensive program that did).
There's no 'written work' that comes with it (but that's not the best
way to learn a language anyway); it's all done orally and visually
on the computer. If you buy the homeschooler's version (same
price as the regular version), you even get a free tracking program;
FUN-books.com is my favorite supplier of the homeschool version.
Level 1 will likely easily cover you for two years. My oldest got
his start in Latin with Rosetta and just finished Greek at Cornell
after his junior year in high school. My youngest has done some
German and now Spanish with Rosetta.

For supplements, the Usborne picture dictionaries are great as
is the card game 'LinguaFun'. For book work, if you feel the need
after a while (not likely at age 8 though), 'French is Fun' published
by Amsco is very clear and staightforward." -- Babette in CO


"Rosetta Stone is wonderful! The first time you/your child uses it
you/they will be speaking the language! Rosetta Stone has the
words typed up, a picture of the word and then it is pronounced. So
you are getting all of the things to stimulate the mind to remember
the language. I did miserable in Spanish during my school years
BUT I love Rosetta Stone and I am learning it with my children,
thanks to Rosetta Stone. They will also send you a sample if you
ask them to. Check out their website: www.RosettaStone.com."
-- Brenda In Michigan

Answer our NEW Question

"A couple of my kids tested low for reading comprehension. What
do you do to improve that?" -- Diana


Do you have some suggestions for Diana?

Please send your email to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

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Tags: team work ideas, teamwork, math games, communication skills, foreign language curricula, curriculum, language arts programs, interactive dallas symphony orchestra, teamwork games, Learnables, Power Glide, Rosetta Stone, Latin, French, homeschool tips

Next - Tips for 'Others', Reading Comprehension Help, Free Rosetta Stone Online?
Previous - Lapbooking Adventures, Classic Start Themed Unit Studies

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