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The "Best Of the Year" List: A team-building activity for the new year

The “Best of 2022” lists are out & they inspired this great teacher team-building activity! Build trust and community with prompts that get teams talking long after your PD/meeting.

Here's how:


1. Craft 5-10 fun and instructionally-focused prompts. (See examples below.)

2. Share on a slide or handout. Or for a little fun, write on paper scraps and place inside a bowl at each group table so groups can pick one at a time.

3. Give small groups 1-2 min per prompt to share out their "best of" responses. (Round robin works fine so everyone has a chance to respond in the time limit.)

Prompt ideas:

For fun prompts: You can opt for a list that is already done and have people agree or disagree with the recommendations. (NY Times puts out a great one that includes unusual topics like “best way to rake leaves” and “best bowling tip” “best chocolate chip cookies” - See link in comments).

For instructionally-focused prompts: Aim to align prompts to your school priorities. In other words, if your teams are implementing UDL you might ask for the “best ways to include student choice”. (Possible response: choice menus).

Here are some samples:


Tool for… organizing students with executive functioning challenges

System for… monitoring equitable participation

Question to ask… to check for understanding

Technique to… engage students when they walk in the door

Protocol to… help students discuss a text

*Everyone’s “best of” list is going to be different. This is not a consensus-building activity.

Skillful Team Leader (STL) facilitation tips:

· Spend the bulk of time discussing professional prompts. You don’t want the "best movie of the year" eating up your time. Open with a fun one. Then ask several professional prompts with 1 or 2 fun prompts peppered throughout.

· Keep groups small (3-5 people) so everyone gets a chance to contribute but large enough that you can hear diverse ideas.

· If doing this in a PD, share out a few in the whole group or post in a central location where teachers can enjoy.

SO, JUST CURIOUS... What is your “Best of” chocolate chip cookie?

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