Bobcat News

BME Staff Participate in Team Building

Bell Manor Elementary School

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We knew this school year would be like nothing we had experienced before. Much of our in-service was spent on a wide array of tasks ranging from designing Canvas pages and creating digital lesson plans to determining how we would manage student PPE and monitor physical distance. Our staff have been flexible, pivoted, and adapted to this “new” year, and while these skills require a high degree of teamwork to accomplish, we had not spent much time on team building. Part of that was due to the list of tasks that lay before us, and part of that was due to the nature of our virtual setting. How is a team supposed to bond and form relationships when we are modeling not congregating for team engagement?

Enter TeamBuilding. The company whose sole mission is to create team building events in a virtual setting.

Our Bobcat Leadership Team settled on the Tiny Campfire event, and agreed that we would keep the event as a surprise to the staff on our next professional development day in November. Anticipation built as we received our miniature s’more kits in the mail and prepared to deliver them to staff the day before our event. Staff were asked to wear their favorite flannel to support the surprise activity - and while flannel was not a requirement, many staff members were too excited and decided to purchase a flannel shirt for the occasion.

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Our staff was spit into two groups so that our virtual event would be meaningful with our number of participants. Each staff member joined their designated Zoom link and was greeted by a Camp Counselor (host) and a Junior Counselor (co-host, technology support). Skepticism from our Bobcat staff was evident; however, our Camp Counselors quickly livened the virtual room with funny quips and a quick activity of splitting us into groups. What was great about these groups is that they were staff who wouldn’t likely have grouped themselves together, which was a nice opportunity to get to know each other. Each group came up with their team name, a team motion, and a team cheer - we then presented our teams to the whole group. Quickly the skepticism was replaced with laughter and smiles.

Our Camp Counselors continued the fun with camp activities, such as find an item you’d bring to a teacher camp-out - our staff had a variety of eccentric items ranging from mini-unicorn piñata to geodes to Spider-Man. Teams earned points as they displayed their items. Again, laughter and smiles filled the virtual space, and slowly the isolation of being behind a screen faded as you felt like you were all within the same room.

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Bobcat Camp ended with our counselors hosting a tiny campfire at our desks - complete with miniature s’mores, a candle campfire, and a spooky story.

We said our goodbyes to our camp counselors and continued with our day of professional learning, but not without our staff saying “that was fun”, “I laughed the whole time”, “that was just what we needed”. So while we returned to our developing Canvas sites, creating digital lesson plans, and managing student and staff safety protocols, it wasn’t without smiles. Our Bobcat Camp with TeamBuilding brought new connections to our virtual world.