Thursday, March 21, 2013

Yes and.... (A Partner Building Activity)

I can remember years ago playing a team building activity when I first started teaching. It was called "Yes and...". The object of the activity is to stay positive, support your peers, and to not use the word "no".

We were given the task of creating a new cell phone. Now, back then, smartphones weren't really in use just yet, so I'm guessing some of our ideas for the phone wouldn't be as exciting today. However, I'm going to do my best to show you how the game works.

Person A draws a very basic cell phone. Person B says, "Yes, and ______".  They draw this as they are talking about it. Only one thing gets added at a time. If you play this with a group, everyone must take turns. When Person B says, "Yes and..." they might say something like, "Yes, and the phone could be magnetic so it can stick to the dry erase board so we don't lose it!" Then Person A takes a turn:

"Yes and the phone could have a secret compartment in the back to stash your car keys so you don't lose them either." (In this day and age, you can you use your cell phone to find your keys!)

Person B: "Yes, and the phone has a button you can push to change the color of the phone based on your mood."

This goes on and on as the amazing new and improved cell phone gets drawn.

Today, my students started reading about inventors in their anthologies. This reminded me of the "Yes and..." game. I gave them an example of a desk. Here is a picture of the completed desk:

It has a palm tree lamp, an iPad built into the desk, it has four legs so I can take it anywhere, and a water slide for days when I just feel like kicking back!

Since I didn't want my students copying me, I had the students invent a chair. This activity encourages students to gain trust with their partner, practice their drawing skills, as well as their English. They absolutely loved it. After drawing, they wrote about it. Tomorrow they will present their new inventions. I highly recommend this activity!