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Remember the Hoop

This is a great activity for building staff communication. Begin the activity by arranging your staff into teams, no team greater than eight people. Provide each team with a Hula hoop. Then follow the instructions below:

  1. Have two participants stand facing one another, about 1- steps apart. The remaining members of the team will observe steps 1 to 3.
  2. Have the two participants place both hands in front of their bodies with index fingers pointing straight ahead, thumbs pointed upward, and the remaining three fingers in a fisted position on each hand (pistol position).
  3. Place the hoop at the chin level of the taller of the two people, and instruct the two participants -- when you say Go! -- to lower the hoop all the way to the ground without loosing contact with their index fingers at any time. Participants will easily set the hula hoop on the ground. Comment on how easy this challenge was to accomplish!
  4. Next, instruct all eight members of the team to stand in a circle about the size of the hula hoop with each persons hands in front of his/her body with index fingers pointing straight ahead, thumbs pointed up, and the remaining three fingers in a fisted position on each hand (pistol position).
  5. Place the hula hoop at chin level of the tallest person on the team, and instruct the participants -- when you say Go! -- to lower the hoop all the way to the ground without losing contact with their index fingers at any time. Each persons index fingers must remain touching the hoop at all times. Let the fun begin!

The hoop will sail away -- it seems to rise no matter how hard the participants work. This will create frustration and confusion... and laughter. Instruct participants to keep trying until they accomplish the challenge. Monitor the teams to ensure that all are following the rules and each is keeping his/her fingers on the hoop. Of course, being the competitive folks they are, teachers will not want to quit until they accomplish the task. It can be done -- only with extreme concentration and complete focus on the task, along with helpful coaching and guidance from the leader who will emerge from the group -- probably after some arguing and disagreeing about how to accomplish the mission. Sounds a lot like school, doesnt it?

At the end of the activity, allow for a debriefing period. Let teachers talk about their frustration, how difficult the task was, how they finally came together to accomplish the task, what this activity has to "say" about the importance of teamwork

Contributor:
Mark Lukert, principal (retired), Lakeside Elementary School, Coppell, Texas
If you would like to learn more about Mark or the workshops he conducts through his consulting company, Precision Team Building, contact him through his Web site, http://www.marklukert.com/.

 


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