Springboard: Quick Creative Activities to Launch Learning

ISBN: 978-1-885473-78-3
SIZE: 6 x 9
PRICE $24.95

“Creating as many hands-on learning opportunities as possible for students brings a level of energy, excitement, and authenticity to a classroom that cannot be replicated in any other way.”

Teachers constantly face classroom time limits combined with curriculum requirements that must be adhered to and met.  Within these boundaries educators also desire to teach social and organizational skills to aid students as they grow and become a part of their communities and their world.  Springboards contains 50 creative activities and demonstrations designed to address—in 15 minutes or less—topics like goal setting, focusing attentions, achieving the “impossible,” time management, and teamwork.

Combining years of successful experience in education, the authors include insight on why we use activities to prompt thoughtful discussion as well as concepts vital to successful demonstrations and discussions that encompass and encourage profound ideas.  Group leaders, therapists, experiential program facilitators, and educators of all kinds will appreciate these quick, emotive activities written deliberately to draw participants’ attention and encourage deep thinking and learning.


“This book will save me hours of preparation time with its easy-to-follow instructions and fun, entertaining and interesting ways to involve students! Learning activities with The 5 Questions help educators facilitate the discovery of meaningful insight for the students. Students ‘get it’ so that the concepts ‘stick’ in their minds. I am delighted with these activities; they are quick and easy to apply daily to any class.”
Roberta Bittel, Coordinator of Student Activities Canandaigua Academy, Leadership Teacher and New York State 2009 Advisor of the Year

“As a teacher, I appreciate that the authors understand the value and difference between real learning and an ‘education.’ In a time where testing seems to be the focus and learning thrown on the back-burner, this is the type of book that needs to be in all educators’ hands, no matter what grade level they teach.”
Krista Gypton, 2008 Arizona Ambassador for Excellence in Education

“Springboard has an activity for every personality. What a fitting way to bring students and instructor together to form relationships, teamwork, and trust.”
Belinda Ranstrom, Business Technology Instructor, Quincy High School, Quincy, MA

“Booty Bump is a great ice breaker that builds team unity and is a ton of fun. Being on the bigger side I got to throw my weight around and grease the other team. Highly recommended!!!!!”
Mark Saunders, student

“Toothpaste is impossible to put back in, but a great demonstration of how you never get to make a first impression twice!”
Feroz Jan, student

Excerpt from the Book

Quick, Creative Ways to Partner

Several of the activities in this book require forming partners. Forming partners can and should be an activity in itself which, when done well, increases the connection and feeling of safety among participants.
The one process that we never like to see is the old, “Okay, everyone partner up with someone you don’t know.” This inevitably creates a number of undesirable outcomes. Students generally find friends and some are left out in the process. The few people who take the directive seriously could be opening themselves up to rejection from their peers. The process can take longer than it should, and instead of increasing community feeling, it ends up increasing feelings of exclusivity.
Following, you will find some of our favorite ways to create partnerships and teams. These are meant to be starter ideas and once you get the idea of creatively partnering people, there is no limit to using these strategies.

Quick Partner: This is a way to partner at the beginning of the year or program that allows you to come back to the same partner over and over. Quick Partners is a wonderful way to establish pairings in a somewhat random environment. The basic instructions are the same for each of the creative greetings and once you understand the concept, there is an endless variety of partners you can create. Two examples follow:
High Five Partners: Say something like, “Everyone quickly find a partner, someone close to you, just grab someone quickly. Okay, this is your ‘Hive Five’ partner. Whenever I tell you to find your high five partner, you will find this person, give them a high five, and say ‘High Five’!” (Always demonstrate the action you want your participants to execute.)
Lumberjack Partners: Say something like, “Okay, everyone quickly find a partner, someone close to you, just grab someone quickly. This is your ‘Lumberjack’ partner. Whenever I tell you to find your lumberjack partner, you will find this person, ‘saw lumber,’ and sing ‘I’m a lumberjack, and I’m okay.’ ‘Sawing lumber’ involves one of you giving the ‘thumbs up’ sign. Your partner then grabs that thumb, stacking their fist on top of yours. You then grab their thumb and so on until all four of your and your partner’s hands are stacked up. Then the partners push and pull back and forth, simulating a saw.”
With the same basic set up, imagine partnering for the following:
• High Low Partners
• Jedi Partners
• Fish Partners
• Bowling Partners
• Dosey Do Partners

Find Someone Who… : This partnering strategy directs the participants to the person who will be their partner. The criteria you choose will either create random groups or self-selected ones. There is a big difference in the partnership of people who have the same last digit in their phone number and those who like the same kind of music. Set a time limit, and when that time is reached, have remaining students grab the closest partner-free person. Have students find someone who meets the following criteria:
• Has the same number of siblings.
• Has the same last digit in one of their phone numbers.
• Likes the same toppings on pizza.
• Is wearing the same color shirt.
• Plays the same sport (or plays no sport).
• Likes the same kind of music.
• Has the same favorite subject in school.

Create a Team That… : Use this strategy for partners or groups of 3 or more. The goal is to give students a “team” or “partner” criteria that they need to meet. This is similar to “Find Someone Who…” but gives a greater degree of flexibility to students. Simply tell the participants to create a team or a partnership that collectively meets one of the following criteria.
• Has all colors of the rainbow represented in their clothing.
• Has a total of 5 siblings.
• Each likes a different genre of music.
• Each has a birthday in a different month.
• Whose total age is 39 (or whatever number will work for your group).
• Whose total height is under 12 feet (or whatever number will work for your group).

Mad Scramble: With the entire group in a circle, let them know that in a moment they are going to find a partner. They will only have 5 seconds to run into the middle of the circle, grab someone and return with them to the outside of the circle. Ready, set, go!

Pop Up: This strategy takes a bit of time and can help you create very purposeful partnerships. Have the group sit facing you, either in chairs or on the ground. Tell them that when you name a criteria, their job is to pop up quickly and look for someone else who popped up. Once they see that person, they must cry out in their most enthusiastic voice, “I knew it would be you!” The two then become partners, sit down together, and no longer pop up. The following are some ideas for criteria or invent your own, based on the group’s needs.
Pop up if you:
• Were born in December (or any other month).
• Are not wearing shoes with laces.
• Have an e-mail account that includes your actual name.
• Still believe in the tooth fairy.
• Cry during movies.
• Were ever a girl or boy scout.

Table of Contents

Creating Meaning
Structure of the Engagers/Activities
Possible Themes
Possible Set Up
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