Pasta La Vista (Jelly) Baby – A Team Building Experience

Recently, the Schools’ Personnel Service (SPS) Business Support Team and Kent-Teach started holding team building sessions. They're going to be taking place every two months and will be hosted by one of the team members.

When you’re all really busy it can be difficult to imagine creating time for team building but there are important reasons why they should be implemented.

1)       Get know each other better

2)       Promote working with different team members

3)       Improves Communication

4)       Increases motivation

5)       Encourages creativity

6)       Improves staff morale

7)       Encourages problem solving skills

8)       Can help break down barriers

The list of positives is extensive and by allowing one of the team members to host the session it makes the organiser consider all the other people they have to involve.

The first session was organised in July by Jamie in the SPS Business Support Team. There was much talk about what was planned and at some point there was a rumour that cabbages were going to be involved.

So we all arrived in the room looking at each other in anticipation and we started off with a celebrity names ice breaker game to determine who we were going to work with on the task. We discovered that the Kent-Teach team are rather knowledgeable on celebrity names.

Then Jamie started pulling out bags of spaghetti and jelly babies. Some of us were definitely looking a bit confused and it turned out that the spaghetti and jelly babies were to be building materials. In pairs, we had 20 minutes to make the tallest tower that could hold an inflated balloon.

As you can see from the pictures, we all had different approaches and this was interesting to see. Many jelly babies were sacrificed in order to keep the energy going for the builds. My team went for a triangular stable approach but it took too much time and didn’t win on height. Some towers looked very precarious and almost collapsed, but in the end Ben and Elaine tower was announced the winner.


Ben and Elaine's winning spaghetti tower          2nd place Samantha & Rebecca                    My team's tower

We then became two teams and used our newly acquired jelly-babies-spaghetti-building knowledge to build an even better tower. 

Everyone enjoyed themselves and agreed it was a great way to spend an hour. We got to use our problem solving, communication, creative and collaboration skills. We all felt a bond at the end of the shared experience and look forward to the next session.

Team building doesn't have to be an expensive affair, it takes creativity to come up with a cost effective idea which is a good task in itself for the person organising the session. If you are planning to do something like this then it’s a good idea to set some guidelines on the event such as the budget and allocated time. The organiser should also take into account people's health and fitness levels. 

There is so much creativity in schools and I'm sure your staff could come up with fantastic ideas to do with art, music, physical activity or engineering like our spaghetti towers. It’s my turn to host the September session and it’s been a bit challenging coming up with an original fun idea. I hope the team will enjoy it as much as this one, so watch this space!

Do you have any team building experiences or ideas that you can share with us?    

It's good to take time out to reassess your life and look at what you can do to make sure it's not all work and no play. Have a look at our blog on How to Achieve a Good Work-Life Balance.

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