Sunday, December 29, 2013

THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE THE 2013 NFC EAST CHAMPS!

Fly Eagles Fly, On The Road To Victory. 
Fight Eagles Fight, Score A Touchdown 1-2-3. 
Hit 'Em Low. 
Hit 'Em High. 
And We'll Watch Our Eagles Fly! 
Fly Eagles Fly, On The Road To Victory! 
E-A-G-L-E-S --- EAGLES!!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

FLY LOVERS FLY, ON THE ROAD TO GET MARRIED!

The great Romantic poet Lord Byron once said, "Friendship is Love without his wings!" As I stood atop the Empire State Building exactly 6 months ago today, I realized that I didn't need wings to fly. I proposed to my best friend and the love of my life, Annie Marie Raczko, and it was perfectly clear to me then - as it still is today - that her friendship and love will always lift me up and never let me down. True love in the form of a best friend is the definition of eternal bliss. Annie, I love you more today than yesterday, but less than tomorrow. My love for you has only grown since you said, "Yes! Yes! Oh, my God, YES!" I can't wait to marry you. Happy Half Birthday! A&F 7.25.2015 


I'M A TEACHER!

“I teach because, for me, it's the most effective and 

most enjoyable way to change the world.” - Elena Aguilar, teacher 




Why do you teach? Read 100+ answers: http://bit.ly/IZTipB.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Jon Lajoie - "Merry Christmas Exclamation Point"
You're the dude from high school that I see at the gym
Or the friend of a friend or a second cousin
You're a co-worker I sometimes each lunch with
You're one of my many acquaintances

You know Christmas is about spending time with friends and family
But just because you’re not in one of those two categories
Doesn’t mean that I won’t still do something special for you
Cause Christmas is about giving so here’s what I’ll do.

I’m gonna send you a Christmas text (Christmas text) (Christmas text)
I’m gonna send you a Christmas text (Christmas text) (Christmas text)
I’m gonna send you a Christmas text (Christmas text) (Christmas text)
I’m gonna type Merry Christmas Exclamation Point and then press send.

Maybe I’ll just copy and paste it (From a previous text)
Well it’s only two words I’d might as well just type it (It’s complicated)
If you’re thinking about calling me to thank me oh please don’t (That’s not how this works)
Texting is as far as this relationship goes (And keep your in box brief).

I have way more important people in my life, you're not even in the top 50
It’s not that I don’t care about you – yeah, I don’t really care about you
But it doesn’t mean that I won’t still do something special for you.

Cause Christmas is about giving so here’s what I’ll do...
I’m gonna send you a Christmas text (Christmas text) (Christmas text)
I’m gonna send you a Christmas text (Christmas text)
I’m gonna type Merry Christmas Exclamation Point and then press send.

I don’t care enough to call
But I don’t not care enough to do nothing.

I don’t care enough to call
But I don’t not care enough to do nothing.

So I’m gonna type Merry Christmas Exclamation Point and then press send.
Merry Christmas Exclamation Point and then press send.
Merry Christmas Exclamation Point and then press send.

And to all of my non-Christian friends, I will text you...
Hey, dude, what’s going on?
We should totes hang next week.



Jonathan Lajoie aka Taco's Official Website http://www.jonlajoie.com/

Monday, December 9, 2013

2013


 2013... It was a banner year. We sang. We danced. We laughed. We cried. We reflected. We celebrated. We saw movies. We went to shows. We played dodgeball. We worked. We lived. We learned. We said hello to new family and friends that will enrich our lives in the years to come. We said goodbye to loved ones that will never leave our hearts. I watched my sister, Katelyn, and her husband, Mark, give birth to a beautiful baby girl named Olivia! I received news of another baby on the way from my brother, Matthew, and his wife, Maureen! I also saw my brother start his dodgeball career, which resulted in not one, but two championships in his rookie year! We should have won our 2nd consecutive BP Championship too, but those plans got interrupted. I went to the hospital. My mom, Patricia, went to the hospital. Sometimes you need a reality check to realize the important things in life. I love you, Mom! I don't know what I would do without you, and I hope I never have to find out. True love got a date with destiny! On June 27, 2013, I asked my best friend and the love of my life, Annie Marie Raczko, to marry me. I proposed on her golden birthday at the top of the Empire State Building as our families met for the first time. I gave her a ring and she gave me forever. That day will not only be remembered as my favorite day of 2013, but as one of the greatest days of my life. Some days you wish to remember. Some days you wish to forget. No matter what, you should be thankful for all of your days. I am. Thank you, 2013!

Friday, December 6, 2013

RIP Nelson Mandela.

RIP Nelson Mandela. You were one of the greatest world leaders of our time. May your life and your teachings be echoed throughout eternity. I wish you the same peace in death that you championed in your life.
 
Nelson Mandela
July 18, 1918-December 5, 2013
 
 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

RIP Paul Walker.


I totally understand and respect what some people are saying about Paul Walker's death in relation to our soldiers, policemen, firefighters, and other public servants that die everyday and go unnoticed - and they along with their contributions to this planet should be recognized and celebrated. However, Paul Walker being a celebrity should not diminish his contributions to this world. There are plenty of worthless, drug-riddled celebrities that don't do shit with their fame and fortune to make a positive impact on this world; this guy did. He formed the Reach Out Worldwide organization to help people all over the world following natural disasters and helped with countless other charities and philanthropies. He was a good dude, and while there are plenty of other people that live great lives of nobility and honor and do not receive the same memorial that he is getting right now, it does not make it wrong to celebrate the life of a man that entertained millions and more importantly served as a positive example of what celebrities should be doing with their powerful influence. Beyond just being an actor, he was a model humanitarian. We're still celebrating and immortalizing James Dean how many years after his death? Paul Walker had a stronger body of work in film and gave more time and money to humanitarian efforts. Also, unlike Dean, he wasn't even responsible for the reckless driving that claimed his life. I think it's only right for people to take a moment to acknowledge Walker's legacy in the wake of his passing, and reflect upon their own contributions to this world. R.I.P Paul Walker.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

EdCamp NJ 2013!




EdCamp! This is undoubtedly the best source of professional development for educators, new and old, because there is no other event in the world that facilitates such a wealth of innovative learning opportunities facilitated through a global network of experienced professionals. EdCamp truly fuels the fire that burns within all teachers that don't just teach make a living, but live to teach! Come bask in the flames of professional development with us! EdCamp NJ 2013! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

BROTHERHOOD

"Ever get the feeling you can't go on
Just remember whose side it is that you're on
You've got friends with you till the end
If you're ever in a tough situation
We'll be there with no hesitation
Brotherhood's our rule we cannot bend!
Whoa oh oh oh oooooooooooooooooooooh
When you're feeling too close to the bottom
You know who it is you can count on
Someone will pick you up again
We can conquer anything together
All of us are bonded forever
If you die I die - that's the way it is!"
-Pennywise http://youtu.be/_n8TuSVmOrw

Saturday, October 26, 2013

REVOLUTION!


 REVOLUTION! Russell Brand is my new hero! If you thought comedians are only good for laughs and not worthy of being taken seriously, then you need to revolutionize your thinking! In fact, some of the most insightful and intelligent ideas have sprung from the minds of comedians, such as George Carlin, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Ellen Degeneres, and Robin Williams. You can add Russell Brand to that list. Check out this BBC television interview and I think you'll be pretty surprised by Brand's eloquence and emphatic appeals for world change. My favorite part of this interview - outside of when he compliments the interviewer on his sweet beard - is when he says, "Within the existing paradigm, the change is not dramatic enough, not radical enough, so you can well understand public disturbances and public dissatisfaction, when there are not genuine changes and genuine alternatives being offered. I say, when there is a genuine alternative, a genuine option, then vote for that, but until then - don't bother. Why pretend? Why be complicent in this ridiculous illusion?...the time is now. This movement is already occurring. It's happening everywhere." 

 Now, I'm not going to stop voting, because it's my right and I feel it is my civic duty, and I encourage all citizens everywhere to participate in electing public officials to office that will best service our needs as a people and lead our government. I believe in democracy.

 That being said, I am not totally oblivious to the atrocities that afflict our society. Change is necessary. Our world is dying. Energy companies must take responsibility. There is a huge disparity between the rich and the poor; "Profit is a filthy word! Wherever there is profit, there is also deficit." Big companies and corporations must be taxed appropriately and small businesses must be provided with support and funding. The human race is plagued with so many other deep-rooted issues as well as the ones aforementioned, and it is essential that we realize the need for change.

 We must wake up before we fall down even further into the ominous pit of social, economic, and biological collapse. How does one wake up? Open your eyes. Open your mind. Don't think, but know that change is vital. Real change occurs when people realize something is wrong and proper measures are implemented to make things right. We may not have the levying power to impact global change as individuals, but all revolutions commence with common thoughts.

 Let's generate some common thoughts with the common folk! Share this video. Share this message. Use your social media soapboxes to spread the word and call for an end to false politicking and apathetic policymaking. Tell everyone you know on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social network that you have that there are problems that need to be addressed. Actions speak louder than words, but influencing your family, friends, and people you know to think differently is first. Thoughts must precede actions. Influence them to accept the idea that our model is flawed and something must be done. Hopefully, enough people do this so that real change may begin...

 In the immortal words of the legendary rocker Jim Morrison, "The time to hesitate is through."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Jesse & The Rippers REUNITE!

WWUJD? He would reunite Jesse & The Rippers and rock out on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon! Uncle Jesse is my hero! http://youtu.be/Dor96YnM_qo


Thursday, October 10, 2013

BE LIKE PRE!


"TO GIVE ANYTHING LESS THAN YOUR BEST IS TO SACRIFICE THE GIFT."
-Steve Prefontaine



Saturday, September 28, 2013

MISTER ROGERS - "GARDEN OF YOUR MIND (REMIXED)"

Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind?

LIVE YOUNG.

Watch this video and always remember to LIVE YOUNG.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11



 Today, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the tragic event that happened on September 11, 2001. It started with a moment of silence at work and continued throughout the day in conversations with students that were not fully clear on the significance of the terrorist attack and the importance of our resolve, turning tragedy into triumph. We don't remember this day because of buildings falling. We remember this day because of people rising. May we always remember the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack and honor the memory of the heroes that emerged on that day. Welles Crowther was one of those heroes, and this is his story. I will never look at a red bandana the same way again. Now, it is a symbol of something much greater. If ever called upon to be the hero and save the day, may we all aspire to wear a red bandana. Thank you, Welles! #19 http://ow.ly/oNlqj


Friday, September 6, 2013

GAMER!

GOALS + ACTIONS - MISTAKES = EXCELLENT RESULTS!
 
 
 

 
 
 



 
 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

JOIN THE CAUSE AND WALK WITH US TO HELP END ALZHEIMERS!


Hey! My fiancee Annie and I have decided to register for the Walk to End Alzheimers, and we'd like to invite you to join us for this most noble of causes. If you'd like to join our team, then that's AWESOME! Go to the website and register. If you can't make it, but you'd still like to show your support, then follow the link provided and make a monetary donation toward our team goal of $500. Thank you for your support and generosity! -Frank & Annie

MAKE A DONATION:
http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk/PA-DelawareValley?px=8362717&pg=personal&fr_id=3642

EVENT INFO.
2013 Walk to End Alzheimer's - Atlantic City, NJ (5K)
Date: Oct. 20, 2013 | 9:30 am
Location: Kennedy Plaza and Boardwalk Hall
2301 Boardwalk
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Map
Coordinator: Jaclyn Adkins
Phone: 800.272.3900
Email: Jaclyn.Adkins@alz.org

FURTHER INFO.
Atlantic City Walk to End Alzheimer's:
Registration - Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. If you registered online or offline ahead of time we will have all your information. If not, feel free to print out and complete this REGISTRATION FORM. Don't have a printer? That's okay, we will have blank copies for you at Registration.
Program - Why come early for registration? Because this a great time to visit all our sponsors, grab a bite to eat, pick up your t-shirt, and listen to the great program & live music we have planned for you!
Promise Garden Ceremony - This is a beautiful and inspiring ceremony that occurs immediately before the Walk begins. If you have never been there for the ceremony before it’s a must! See the impact of Alzheimer’s among everyone at the Walk and how it has touched the lives of so many. Don’t forget to pick up a flower after registration so you can take part in the ceremony. You don’t need to memorize the colors as there will be volunteers to guide you, but each color represents a different journey of Alzheimer’s disease.
Blue- I am diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a form of dementia
Purple- I have lost someone to Alzheimer’s
Yellow- I am a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s
Orange- I am an advocate against Alzheimer’s and support the cause
WALK!! - The moment you’ve all been waiting for… the Walk! Take off with your fellow Alzheimer’s Association supporters along the Walk Route. Not up for the walk? That’s okay… stay back and enjoy the music, the sights, and cheer on the crowd!
Doggies are welcome! Please bring your four-legged friend along for the day.
Walk Route - We are currently updating our Walk Route for 2013, stay tuned!


In-Kind Needs
The goal of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is to maximize funding that supports vital research, and local programs and services. In order to do so we underwrite Walk expenses through both cash and in-kind donations. Year after year many donations are made to each Walk that help ensure our expenditures are kept at a minimum. Please contact Keely Boyle at 800-272-3900 or keely.boyle@alz.org if you are interested in supporting the Walk to End Alzheimer's with an in-kind donation. Thank you for your support!
We're walking to help reclaim the future for millions. By participating in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's, we're committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support.

Why?
Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.
We need YOU! 
We're need your support to do my part! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer's Association advance research into prevention, treatments and a cure for Alzheimer's. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

Thank you for joining our movement!
The end of Alzheimer's disease starts here.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

HAPPY BROTHER'S WEEK, BRO!

 Being that this week is "Brother's Week", I just wanted to say that I'm extremely thankful for my brother, Matthew Keith Williams, and acknowledge him as the best brother in the world!

 Recently, I had knee surgery. Since then, I have been struggling to do the most basic of tasks, including walking around the house. I am still recovering and not back to full strength by any means. In any case, I arrived home yesterday from a professional development workshop, and what do ya know, he's outside my house cutting my lawn! My grass was knee high, and my brother was on a safari to get the job done! Last night, he made dinner and invited me to join him and his wife for grilled burgers, hot dogs, and chicken. How awesome is this guy?!

 Of course, these things don't make him the best brother in the world. They are simply acts of kindness. However, his heart of gold and innate ability to always be there for me does make him THE BEST! Cheers to my brother and best friend! Love ya bro!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

CHRISTMAS IN JULY!

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS THAT SUPPORTED OUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN AND HELPED US RAISE $50,000 TO COMPLETE OUR MERRY MOVIE, I Am Santa Clauswww.iamsantaclausmovie.com


Sunday, July 7, 2013

I AM SANTA CLAUS!

SEASONS GREETINGS! If you have ever wanted to be a backer of a successful Kickstarter campaign, then here is your opportunity! Donate $25 to our merry movie, I Am Santa Clauswww.iamsantaclausmovie.com

Saturday, June 29, 2013

ANNIE, WILL YOU MARRY ME?



 True love is not dying for someone... It's living for them. I found true love. Annie 

Raczko is the love of my life. She's a special girl, so I decided to make her "golden 

birthday" very special by giving her the most special gift a man can give a woman: 

forever.


 Most people don't know what a "golden birthday" is, and I sure as hell didn't. Mine 


would have been when I turned 5. A birthday on which the day matches the age 

that you are turning amounts to nothing more than any other birthday to most 

people. Then again, Annie Raczko is not most people. Annie is special. She turned 

27 on June 27, 2013, so we took the bus in to New York City for a special day of 

birthday fun. We went to Azalea's Restaurant, a fancy restaurant in Manhattan. 

Following that, we walked around and took some beautiful pics of the city; places 

at which we had visited and made memories. Then, we went down to the Empire 

State Building. She didn't know what she was in for and the gift awaiting her. In 

almost 2 years of dating, our parents had never met. However, today was not any 

other day. Today was a special day. Once I told my parents and her parents, 

nothing was going to keep them from being apart of this moment. Our parents 

were waiting patiently on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, along with 

my brother (Matt) and sister-in-law (Maureen), to greet us upon arrival. We took 

the elevator up and then bravely decided to walk the remaining 6 floors between 

80-86. We arrived on the 86th floor and quickly texted the rents to let them know 

that the time had arrived. We walked out the doors to the outside deck of the 

observatory. Man, it was a sight to be seen! The city skyline was beautiful from the 

top of the Empire State Building. As we came down the ramp, she was baffled and 

speechless (she's never speechless) to see our two families standing there, waiting 

for us, as per the norm. We walked over to them, said hellos, and she was 

showered with happy birthdays. Little did she know, she was in for a bigger 

surprise, because the best part was yet to come. I gave her a birthday card, which I 

had concealed from her all day. She opened it promptly and began to read it. As 

she did, I got the ring out of my camera bag. It looked as though I was just getting 

my camera out to capture some great moments of our families meeting for the 

first time. I like to take pictures! However, this time, others could take pictures, 

because I had a greater task. I only needed to capture this moment in my mind for 

it to last forever. She finished reading the card, which read, "YOU ROCK MY 

WORLD! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I LOVE YOU! ANNIE, WILL YOU MARRY ME? LOVE, 

FRANK". Her eyes teared up and then fell upon me as I rested down upon one knee 

with a shiny ring exposed in a little black box. Her smile could light the darkest 

night. I proposed. She said, "YES!" Now, we are engaged! The rest is history, and 

the best is yet to come!


 I'd like to send out a special thank you to our parents and siblings for helping to 


make it a super special night, and for supporting our NJ road trip relationship 

every mile-marker of the way! True love united a girl from North Jersey and a boy 

from South Jersey, and we are so thankful to Dylan and Lisa Warner for inviting us 

to share in their wedding day, because otherwise we would have never found each 

other. We met and had our first dance at a wedding... How cool is that?!

 Annie Raczko, you are the love of my life. You are my one true love. From here to 


eternity, we will walk hand in hand, as one. Two people living with one purpose. 

Two hearts beating with one love. You light up my life and I will follow you into the 

dark.


I LOVE YOU, ANNIE RACZKO! A & F! ♥

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CARPE DIEM!


 
 
"For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day!"
 
-Kalidasa

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

SCHOOL'S OUT!

CONGRATULATIONS!

Congrats to all students, teachers, and administrators for successfully growing, developing, and making it through yet another school year! Graduates and retirees, may you find joy and fulfillment beyond the classroom walls that have defined you for the past so many years. William Butler Yeats once said, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." May your fire never die out. Enjoy your freedom and live it up! Until September... SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMER!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ALWAYS EXCEED EXPECTATIONS!

“A student from whom nothing is ever demanded which he cannot do-
Never does all he can.”
-John Stuart Mill
 



 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

THE BEST SOURCES OF ADVICE ON HOW TO GET A TEACHING JOB!



John Zeck was a teacher for 40 years in the Camden County School District and now serves as a consultant for new teachers in the district. He is my teacher mentor, a dear friend, and a great resource for wisdom and guidance. Recently, he shared some of his insights on the topic of finding a teaching job with me, since I am trying to help a friend. Then, being the awesome guy that he is, he sent me some online resources. 

Here are some of the sources he sent me for sound advice about finding a teaching job, most of which can also be found on Larry Ferlazzo's edublog http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/ (feel free to suggest more links and resources):

What Principals Look For In A Prospective Teacher is a column from my Education Week 
Teacher blog that was published last year.


How to Find Your Dream Teaching Job is by Heather Wolpert-Gawron.

Six Steps to Landing Your First Teaching Job is from the National Education Association.

FAQs About Teachers’ Employment is also from the NEA.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A LICENSE TO DRIVE DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE A LICENSE TO KILL!

DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE! Tis the season of proms, graduations, and weddings, so I figured that I'd share this to promote safety on the road. This is a commercial that I was in for Hattricks Bar to promote the importance of having a designated driver. Think before you drink and always have a DD!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

P.M.A. ALL DAY!

"Don't care what they may say, we got that attitude.

Don't care what they may do, we got that attitude.

Heyyy we got that P.M.A.!

Heyyy we got that P.M.A.!

Heyyy we got that P.M.A.!"

-Bad Brains


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

VIVE LE CINEMA?






 BUSINESS IS BOOMIN! Iron Man 3? The Wolverine? Man of SteelNo matter what movie wins the highly coveted title as the biggest summer blockbuster, Hollywood cashes in and most likely has one of the best years ever at the box office. Now, before I state the issue I have with this, allow me to express that I cannot wait to see all three of these films. Thus, I consider myself part of the overall problem.

 Question... IS NOTHING SACRED IN HOLLYWOOD? The answer to that one has been clear for as long as the studio system has existed. However, I always kind of thought that the movies were safe; that they would be protected. After all, they are the true children of Hollywood. I was wrong. Hollywood and its major studios continue to remake, redux, and restart films and ideas as if they have no creative juice left to squeeze, and it really pisses me off.

 Originality has sadly passed away. Bring out your dead! Intellectual property is a graveyard in Hollywood. They continue to rob the graves of film history in attempt to give new life to classic ideas. Show your respects, Hollywood!

 Now, I really didn't like or understand the idea of a remake when I was a young man. I simply didn't see the point and thought it to be pretty lame. However, my views have changed over the years. I can understand remaking a classic film or rebranding a classic franchise in lieu of modern film technology and advancements that allow for the movie and/or franchise to be a more effective story, and perhaps an even better film than the original.

 Yet, how do you define 'classic' when Hollywood is remaking films that are 20 years old? It was recently announced that one of my favorite films of all time, The Crow, was getting a remake. This sickened me. The original movie was made in 1994! '94! And if not simply for it being such a young film in the vaults of movie history, a remake is just highly unnecessary due to the fact that the original was so visionary and awesome. Show some respect for Brandon Lee!

 Nonetheless, I am not surprised. I think I knew in the back of my mind that this would happen someday. I am prepared for future disappointments in Hollywood. I know that no film in the history of cinema is safe. I suppose it's the only way of preserving great ideas and immortalizing their commercial value. People will keep spending money on the films, so why not cash in on them? People loved the Broadway show, they'll see the movie version! People loved the TV show, they'll see the movie version! People loved the comic book, they'll see the movie version! These are safe investments for Hollywood. Hollywood doesn't care about respect. It only cares about one thing... dead presidents. Nothing is sacred. The movie theater is a cemetery filled with zombies, films and patrons alike. The movies are walking dead and we are the ones that end up brainless victims of Hollywood.

 I'm an optimist though. Perhaps, Hollywood will realize that you preserve great films in cinema archives, not movie theaters. Perhaps, Hollywood will start protecting the great films of yesteryear. Perhaps, Hollywood will experience a renaissance of fresh new ideas that will lead to the end of cinema recycling. Perhaps, art will someday be valued as much as commerce. VIVE LE CINEMA?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

TEAM WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK!


10 Quick and Easy Team Building Activities



There are four main types of team building activities, which includes: Communication activities, problem solving and/or decision making activities, adaptability and/or planning activities, and activities that focus on building trust. The idea is to perform various activities that are both fun and challenging, and that also have the “side effect” of building teamwork skills that can help improve performance and productivity. In this first installment, we’ll take a look at 10 highly effective team building activities designed to improve communication & problem-solving skills.

Communication and Icebreaker Activities

Two Truths and a Lie
Time Required: 15-30 minutes

Start out by having every team member secretly write down two truths about themselves and one lie on a small piece of paper – Do not reveal to anyone what you wrote down! Once each person has completed this step, allow 10-15 minutes for open conversation – much like a cocktail party – where everyone quizzes each other on their three questions. The idea is to convince others that your lie is actually a truth, while on the other hand, you try to guess other people’s truths/lies by asking them questions. Don’t reveal your truths or lie to anyone – even if the majority of the office already has it figured out! After the conversational period, gather in a circle and one by one repeat each one of your three statements and have the group vote on which one they think is the lie. You can play this game competitively and award points for each lie you guess or for stumping other players on your own lie. This game helps to encourage better communication in the office, as well as it lets you get to know your coworkers better.

Life Highlights Game
Time Required: 30 minutes

This is an excellent icebreaker activity that’s perfect for small and large groups alike. Begin by asking each participant to close their eyes for one minute and consider the best moments of their lives. This can include moments they’ve had alone, they’ve shared with family or friends; these moments can pertain to professional successes, personal revelations, or exciting life adventures. After the participants have had a moment to run through highlights of their lives, inform them that their search for highlights is about to be narrowed. Keeping their eyes closed, ask each participant to take a moment to decide what 30 seconds of their life they would want to relive if they only had thirty seconds left in their life. The first part of the activity enables participants to reflect back on their lives, while the second part (which we’ll discuss in a moment) enables them to get to know their coworkers on a more intimate level. The second portion of the game is the “review” section. The leader of the activity will ask each and every participant what their 30 seconds entailed and why they chose it, which will allow participants to get a feel for each other’s passions, loves, and personalities.

 

Coin Logo
Time Required: 5-10 minutes

Begin by asking all participants to empty their pockets, purses, and wallets of any coins they may have and place them on the table in front of them. If someone doesn’t have any coins or only has very few, others in the room can share their coins with them. Instruct each person to create their own personal logo using the coins in front of them in just one minute. Other materials they may have on them, such as pens, notebooks, wallets, etc. can also be used in creation of the logo. If there is a particularly large group, people can be broken up into teams of 3-6 people and instructed to create a logo that represents them as a team or the whole room can gather to use the coins to create a logo for the organization/group/department/etc. Each solitary participant can explain their logo to the group or if the room was split into groups, the leader can have each group discuss what led to the team logo and what it says about them. Not only does this activity promote self and mutual awareness, but it also enables participants to get to know each other on a more personal level.

The One Question Ice Breaker Activity
Time Required: 15-20 minutes

This icebreaker not only gets coworkers talking to each other, but it also gets them working with one another. It’s quite simple: the leader gets to decide the situation the question will pertain to. Example situations include babysitting, leading the company, or being married. After pairing participants into teams, the leader will pose this question: If you could ask just one question to discover a person’s suitability for (insert topic here), what would your question be? Say the leader chose to go with a marriage situation. That means each person in a two-person team would come up with one question that would help them discover whether or not their partner was suitable to be married to them. If the topic was babysitting, each team member would have to come up with just one question whose answer would help them determine whether or not the person was suitable to babysit their child. This icebreaking activity can also get mixed up by issuing one situation for the entire group or allocating a different situation to each team member or pair to work on. Depending on the situation chosen, the activity can be very fun, but it can also demonstrate that crucial questions should be developed properly.

Classification Game
Time Required: 10-15 minutes

The classification game can be a quick icebreaker or a more complex activity. For the purposes of this example, we will treat this activity as a quick icebreaker. Before splitting the room into teams of four, explain the concept of “pigeon-holing someone,” which means classifying someone as something or stereotyping someone. It should be made clear that this type of classification is subjective and unhelpfully judgmental. Instruct the participants to introduce themselves to those in their team and quickly discuss some of their likes, dislikes, etc. After the introductions, reveal to the teams that it will be their job to discover how they should classify themselves- as a team- into two or three subgroups by using criteria that contains no negative, prejudicial, or discriminatory judgments. Examples of these subgroups can include night owls and morning people, pineapple pizza lovers and sushi lovers, etc. This activity encourages coworkers to get to know each other better and enables them to collectively consider the nature of all individuals within the team.

Problem Solving Activities

Picture Pieces Game
Time Required: 30 minutes

This problem solving activity requires that the leader choose a well known picture or cartoon that is full of detail. The picture needs to be cut into as many equal squares as there are participants in the activity. Each participant should be given a piece of the “puzzle” and instructed to create an exact copy of their piece of the puzzle five times bigger than its original size. They are posed with the problem of not knowing why or how their own work affects the larger picture. The leader can pass out pencils, markers, paper, and rulers in order to make the process simpler and run more smoothly. When all the participants have completed their enlargements, ask them to assemble their pieces into a giant copy of the original picture on a table. This problem solving activity will teach participants how to work in a team and it demonstrates divisionalized ‘departmental’ working, which is the understanding that each person working on their own part contributes to an overall group result.

Sneak a Peek Game
Time Required: 10 minutes

This problem solving activity requires little more than a couple of sets of children’s building blocks. The instructor will build a small sculpture with some of the building blocks and hide it from the group. The participants should then be divided into small teams of four. Each team should be given enough building material so that they can duplicate the structure you’ve already created. The instructor should then place their sculpture in an area that is an equal distance from all the groups. One member from each team can come up at the same time to look at the sculpture for ten seconds and try to memorize it before returning to their team. After they return to their teams, they have twenty-five seconds to instruct their teams about how to build an exact replica of the instructor’s sculpture. After one minute of trying to recreate the sculpture, another member from each team can come up for a “sneak a peek” before returning to their team and trying to recreate the sculpture. The game should be continued in this pattern until one of the team’s successfully duplicates the original sculpture. This game will teach participants how to problem solve in a group and communicate effectively.

Zoom
Time Required: 30 minutes

This problem solving activity requires the wordless, picture book entitled, “Zoom” by Istvan Banyai. This book features 30 sequential pictures that work together to form a narrative. The book should be fairly easy to find, as it’s been published in over 18 countries. The pictures can even be laminated to prolong their usage. Hand out one picture to each participant, making sure a continuous sequence is being used. Explain to the participants that they can only look at their own pictures and must keep their picture hidden from other participants. Time should be given for the participants to study their pictures because each picture will contain important information that will help the participants solve the problem of putting them into order. The ultimate goal is for the group to place the pictures in sequential order without looking at one another’s pictures. The participants can talk to each other and discuss what is featured in their picture. This activity brings coworkers together and gets them communicating with the common goal of solving a problem, but it also allows for leaders to emerge and take control of the task.

The Great Egg Drop
Time Required: 2 hours

This messy, yet classic and engaging problem solving activity requires splitting the room into two large groups with the task of building an egg package that can sustain an eight foot drop. A variety of tools and other materials should be provided to the teams. After the packages have been built, each team must also present a 30-second advert for their package, highlighting why it’s unique and how it works. At the conclusion of the presentations, each group will have to drop their egg using their package to see if it really works. Aside from teaching the groups to work together and communicate, it also brings them together with the common goal of both winning the egg drop and successfully creating an egg package.

Create your Own Team Building Activities
Time Required: 1 hour

The group leader should present participants with this fake problem: The hour was going to be spent doing a problem solving activity, but as the group leader- you don’t know any and you don’t want to do one that the participants have already heard or tried previously. The goal- or problem- then, is to have each group of participants come up with a new problem solving activity that they’ve invented themselves. Groups should be no larger than four or five people and at the end of the hour, each group must come up and present their new problem solving activity. Aside from being a problem solving activity in and of itself, this activity also promotes creativity, communication, trust, and time management, among other things.

Planning/Adapting Exercises


Tag Team Game
Time Required: 20-30 minutes


This adapting exercise requires just a few simple tools, which include large sheets of paper, writing paper, pens, and markers. In this exercise, participants are broken up into groups of 4-8 people and instructed to share with their group their individual strengths and the positive attributes they feel would lend to the success of their group. They are to write these strengths and attributes down on a piece of paper. After their group discussion, each team will be given one large sheet of paper, writing paper, markers, and a pen. The groups should then be instructed to make the “ultimate team member” by combining each team member’s strengths and positive attributes into one imaginary person. This “person” should also receive a name, have a picture drawn of them, and have their different attributes labeled. The group should also write a story about this person, highlighting all of the things their imaginary person can do with all of their amazing characteristics. At the end of the exercise, each group should share their person with the group and read the accompanying story. This exercise will help coworkers adapt to weakness they feel they or a team member may have by understanding that as a group, they are capable of having more strengths and positive attributes then they would have working solo.

The Take Away Game
Time Required: 5-10 minutes


This planning game only requires 15 coins of any time, including pennies. To play, the instructor can create multiple teams of two or have on group play another, with one representative from each team participating in each game until everyone has had a turn. The set up is simple: a coin is tossed to decide who goes first. Each side may remove two coins every time they call the it (heads or tails) correctly. The winner is the person/team removing that removes the last coin. The game can be made more complex by upping the number of coins a team can take when it’s their turn or by allowing coins to be put back. With increased complexity, the activity allows the teams a strategic planning stage. The goal is to have the players realize that simpler versions of the game can easily be planned and controlled by the team/person playing first.

The Paper Tower
Time Required: 5 minutes


This planning exercise is very simplistic in its approach, but it teaches participants the importance of planning, timing, and thinking on their feet. Each participant is given a single sheet of paper and told that it’s absolutely necessary that they construct the tallest free-standing structure in just five minutes using no other materials. After the five minutes and a review of the structures, a discussion can be had concerning who planned out their structure, who ran out of time, and what could be done differently next time.

Road Map Game
Time Required: 30 minutes


The participants need to be split into two groups with an equal about of players in each group. This planning exercise also requires that the participants have paper, pens, and a map. The map can be of the state the participants are in, of the whole country, or of a specific area. The area the map covers doesn’t matter as much as the fact that each group needs a copy of the same map. Instruct the teams to plan a vacation, which must be planned within certain parameters. Each group should be given a list of what they have for their trip, how much money they can use, what kind of car they will have, the size of its gas tank, m.p.g., the price of gas, the beginning and ending destination, and anything else you can think of. Each group should write down their travel plans and any group that runs out of money or gas will be disqualified. Awards can be given to the team that saw and did the most with what they had or for the most exhausting trip, the most relaxing, etc. The goal of team building exercises like this is to get coworkers working together as team with the common purpose of planning this trip in 30 minutes.

Paper and Straws Game
Time Required: 15 minutes


This planning game is ideal for small groups and only requires drinking straws and some paper. The group leader needs to draw a large circle on a large piece of paper with concentric circles within it. Then, each circle must be assigned a score, with the biggest score being saved for the smallest, middle circle. This paper is taped onto the middle of a large desk. Then, each participant must gather around the table and be given a drinking straw. The group leader will make dime-sized balls by wadding up bits of paper. It is up to the group leader how many balls will be in play. The participants must blow into their drinking straws to push the balls around. It sounds easy, but as more balls come into play, the participants must plan with their coworkers how they will push balls into high-scoring sections without moving balls that are already in place. This may require re-positioning themselves in different locations around the table or having different players blow in different directions; it’s up to the participants to create their plan of attack. The group leader can end the game once they’ve reached a specific score or once each ball is in the middle. These simple team building exercises helps coworkers work together to create and follow through with a plan and it also encourages them to communicate.

Trust Exercises


Mine Field
Time Required: 20-30 minutes


This trust exercise requires some setting up before it can be executed. It also requires a large, open area such as a room without furniture or an empty parking lot. The leader must distribute “mines,” which they place haphazardly around the area. These “mines” can be balls, bowling pins, cones, etc. This exercise gives coworkers a chance to work on their relationships and trust issues, which is why they are paired into teams of two. One team member will be blindfolded and cannot talk and the other can see and talk, but cannot enter the field or touch their blindfolded teammate. The challenge requires each blind-folded person to walk from one side of the field to the other, avoiding the mines by listening to the verbal instructions of their partners. Penalties can be put in place for each time a blindfolded person hits a mine, but the real idea behind the game is to get the team members to trust their partner’s directions and to teach them to communicate in a more effective way.

Running Free
Time Required: 20 minutes


This trust building exercise requires nothing more than a few blindfolds and a large, flat area- preferably with grass. The group leader can either team people up or allow them to pick their own partners. Once everyone is in teams of two, one team member will be designated as the leader and the other as the follower. The follower must wear a blindfold. The group leader will instruct the leaders in each team to hold the hand of their blindfolded partner and take them on a slow walk around the area for at least 3 minutes. This will allow the partners to get accustomed to the process and their partner. After three minutes, instruct the teams to take a normal-paced walk for three minutes. After those three minutes are up, instruct the leaders to take their blindfolded partners on a fast walk for thirty seconds. After each turn, the blindfolded partner is developing more and more trust in their seeing partner. Instruct the leaders to take their blindfolded partner on a 30 second jog, then a 15 second run, and lastly, a very fast 15 second run- with breaks in between. After the last run, the follower can take off their blind fold and rest for a bit with their partner before the process begins over again and the followers become the leaders and vice versa. After the last run, a discussion can be had about the process, whether or not it was difficult for participants to trust their partners and if so/not, why?

Slice ‘n Dice
Time Required: 15 minutes


This trust building exercise should take place outside and preferably, should be done with a large group of 20 or more. Participants should be instructed to form two equal lines facing each other (creating a corridor) and to put their arms straight out in front of them. Their arms should intersect, overlapping by about a hand with the arms of the people opposite of them. The person at the end of the corridor will walk down the corridor of arms. In order to let the person pass, the other participants will have to raise and lower their arms. That person will then join the corridor again and then the next person in line will walk through. This process will continue until everyone has had a turn. Now that the group is more confident, participants should be instructed to walk quickly, run, or sprint down the corridor, trusting that the other participants will let them pass without making them pause. For the last turn, the participants making the corridor should be instructed to chop their arms up and down as people run through. This exercise allows participants to build trust in their teammates while also having fun.

Eye Contact
Time Required: 5 minutes


This trust exercise requires no special equipment, just an even number of participants. Making eye contact is sometimes difficult for people, as it requires a certain amount of trust and respect. Some people avoid it, while others simply aren’t very good at it; they make look away often or appear awkward or uncomfortable, sometimes fidgeting with other objects. This exercise, though simple, can help coworkers become more comfortable and trusting of each other through the practicing of eye contact. For this activity, have people group into pairs and stand facing each other. The idea is to have them stare into their partner’s eyes for at least 60 seconds. Neither participant should be wearing glasses or sunglasses of any kind. There may be some giggles at first, as it can feel somewhat awkward during the first try, but as participants get the hang of it, it should become easier for them to make eye contact for prolonged amounts of time.

Willow in the Wind
Time Required: 20 minutes


This particular trust building exercise goes by different names, but usually illustrates the same idea. This exercise is best suited for coworkers who already know each other fairly well. One participant must volunteer or be chosen to be the “willow.” The willow must stand in the middle of a group with their eyes closed, their feet together, and body upright. They will perform a series of “trust leans” against the other participants, whose job is to hold up the willow and pass them around without allowing them to fall or feel frightened as if they’re going to fall. Before beginning, the instructor should discuss “spotting” techniques to all participants. Those who are not the willow must have one foot in front of the other, have their arms outstretched, elbows locked, and fingers loose, as well as be ready and alert. This will ensure that they will successfully pass the willow around without any troubles. Various co-workers can take turns being the willow. This technique helps coworkers establish and build trust with each other in an open, fun environment.