This exercise was originally done for a class of fourth graders who were having trouble cooperating with each other and their teachers. They were all trying to get their needs met. Their teacher had tried all she knew and was getting nowhere. Through this exercise the kids were able to see each others’ and the teachers’ value and begin to cooperate more. This exercise can work for a family, group, neighborhood, or in your classroom.
Set the Tone
Talk about competition and cooperation. One of the tough things about our world is that we are always competing; who gets the biggest burger, who gets the best grades, who is smarter, who is stronger, etc. And we tend to do this even in our games: who wins, who is the best. This is a tough way to live.
Wouldn’t it be fun to do something where you aren’t worried about winning or losing and where you don’t feel better or worse about yourself because you’re winning or losing? This is what we are going to do next. Have fun and help others have fun!
- 4 X 6 Inch cards with movements written on them. Run with your hands in the air, skip, do cartwheels, etc.
- Certificates – make your own or print template from internet.
- Ball or Balloon
- A big sheet of paper, chalkboard or dry erase board.
Note: This exercise just requires a big sheet of paper, chalkboard, or dry erase board to write on.
STEP 1: Choose a scribe. Choose someone to be the leader and support person.
STEP 2 : The leader stands in the front and each person- one at a time- stands with them. The leader asks, “What are two or three best things about you?” It can be anything from being a good friend to being funny, from being caring to being creative. The scribe writes them down. The leader then asks each person in the group to say the best things about that person. The scribe writes these too. At the end each person will know all the good things everyone thinks about them. At the end the leader says what is best about him/her.
STEP 3: When you have finished saying the best things about a person, everyone in the group will SING that person’s name. It may feel funny at first. Trust in it. It will make everyone feel special, like a little surprise gift is being given and received.
STEP 4: Make up certificates that say something like:
The Best Things About Me
List the best things
You can design something yourselves with crayons, markers, etc., or you can find a template on the internet and fill in the information. You can hang them in a central location or in your own special place.
STEP 5: Process questions:
Was it hard to say what you think is are the best things about yourself?
How did it feel to hear that other people see what is great about you?
Did you like having your name sung?
Did you like singing others’ names?
STEP 6: Choose some cooperative games. There is no winner or loser.
Up in the Air: Get in a circle and keep a balloon or ball up in the air as long as you can.
Face Match: Make a facial expression. Stick your tongue out, make a fish face, etc. Encourage silly and fun faces. Turn to the next person. They make the same expression and pass it on. When you have gone around the circle, have someone start another expression.
Copycat: Write actions on cards like skip, hop, dance, spin. Get into two lines about twenty feet apart. Pick a card and perform that action while moving across the space between you. The person on the other side repeats the action and then another person and another card are drawn. Repeat as long as you want.
STEP 7: Process Questions:
How did it feel to have no winners or losers?
Did you notice that you were being competitive? Trying to be the best?
How does it feel to be a loser in a competitive game?
How does it feel to be a winner?
Did you notice anyone else being competitive?