Class Bonding

I have a fundamentals of geometry class that used to be my most cohesive group but we’ve added and lost so many students that all sense of trust and comfort is gone. Today was a disaster of snide comments and complaints. I see them again on Friday which is the last day before a weeks vacation. We will have 90 minutes and I need help. What can I do to get this group engaged and working together rather than against each other and both the teachers?

There are only 15 students and two teachers (my smallest class, you’d think it would be manageable, alas…).
We are currently studying triangle similarity. It’s forecasted to rain so shadow study is out.
Volume is up next.
I’m also open to scrapping curriculum and doing any other activity that might help.



11 thoughts on “Class Bonding

  1. Ugh! I have a similar situation with one of my Algebra 1 classes — admin has yanked and shuffled so many kids for so many different reasons it is hard to patch and re-patch the web of trust. I’ll be interested to hear about others’ ideas and suggestions about this situation. Or perhaps my dreaming mind will dredge something up out of the collective unconscious tonight.

    – Elizabeth (@cheesemonkeysf)

  2. One suggestion: In honor of the revival of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” watch a couple of safe-for-school clips and do a couple of improv skits. Get kids laughing again.

    List of games here:

    Discussion of improv in math classes here, from Global Math Dept March 26:

    Not sure what video sites get through your firewall at school, but a quick search will pull up lots of old clips.

    Laura Hall just did a Reddit AMA. Lots of Whose Line links, not all SFW, here:

    Whatever you do, good luck!

  3. I don’t suppose you could bring in a set of polydrons…?

  4. Hand each kid a bit of paper with some information about a triangle, and ask kids to find all the people in the class whose triangles are similar to theirs and form a group. Then have them write an explanation of how they know all their triangles are similar.

  5. I love Josh’s idea. It might take some serious work to put that together. If I have time, I might try it as an opening activity for our second trig unit next week. Here’s a cool exercise his idea reminded me of. Not sure whether it can be used to bring kids together:

  6. NC says:

    Have you done participation quizzes? Divide them into groups of 4, give them a group task that they can all access and have them work on it in teams. While they’re working, chart all the good things they do (talking together, supporting each other, leaning in, etc)…might be a lot to set up in one day, but could be worth it (has worked pretty well with high school geometry)

    • Tina C. says:

      Brilliant! I had completely forgotten about participation quizzes and they are exactly what this class needs. I just made a table in a google doc so I can edit from my phone as I’m circulating and the notes will appear on the projector, which is awesome. (If anyone wants to try this: tables apparently don’t function in the drive app, but they do in chrome.) I’m going to start simple tomorrow with an activity they can do independently or in groups and chart all the positive behaviors I see. Because I’m honestly at the place where if they’re doing work and not putting each other down it’s an accomplishment. After vacation we’ll start building toward successful group work.

  7. hermathness says:

    It might be a little late in the year to start this, or maybe you could try this to finish out your year: Survivor Geometry. I got the idea from a couple of years ago ( and tried to adapt it for a high-need Geometry class as a semester-long program. I wasn’t able to sustain it – for a lot of reasons – but I am still convinced it can be a great motivator and team-builder in a classroom. I’d be happy to share some of the materials I developed.

Offer some help.

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