One thing that P7 has in abundance is friendship. Some of my favourite moments of this year have been witnessing the small acts of kindness between friends. I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced many of these myself in the classroom and it’s just one of the reasons why Preston Street is such a special place to be.
Sometimes, however, we find ourselves in situations where our friends aren’t there for support and we have to work with people we don’t find so easy to get along with. This is especially true for the Sevens who will soon be meeting new children as they begin Secondary school. So for Friendship week, we looked at teamwork skills and how to make the best of a tricky situation. We began by discussing strategies for successful teamwork, from avoiding conflict, to dealing with situations head on. The class were then put to new tables, where they were deliberately separated from friendship groups. They were then given a handful of dried spaghetti, a couple of handfuls of marshmallows and challenged to build the tallest tower in 50 minutes!
It was fascinating watching the variety of approaches. Some teams worked in a ‘all hands on deck’ style, whereas others discussed plans, worked independently and then came together at the end. Maite has experience in architecture and has been taught to ‘Always have a plan B’ so she made a smaller, more structurally sound tower while the rest of her team worked on a larger but infinitely more fragile building. To an outsider looking in, it seemed as if her team had broken down, but when I delved deeper I realised that her team were simply covering all bases very effectively.
While some of the teams had issues, I was really pleased with how they tried to deal with it themselves and overcome their problems independently. Unfortunately this isn’t always successful or indeed possible and it was a good talking point for the class that if someone is preventing you from achieving, you have the right to ask the teacher for help.
So, all the towers eventually collapsed. And a few sneaky marshmallows got eaten, despite HEAVY germ warnings. But it was a really fun morning and I think we all learnt a little about group dynamics and teamwork.