Crossroads, Harlem Lacrosse, & Thomas J. Kenny School: Teamwork

This post is part of a series about the workshop presentations delivered at the 2018 ACT Skills Summit.


Teamwork involves working constructively and cooperatively with others in pursuit of a common cause or objective.

Lisa Bower from Crossroads kicked this session off by getting session attendees active in a lively group activity. In groups at their tables, participants were randomly assigned roles to play for their team, including Team Leader, Artist, Timekeeper, and Cheerleader. The goal of the activity was for the Team Leaders to observe an image, and describe it to their Artist well enough that the Artist could reproduce the image with a marker on chart paper. And the groups had to be as efficient as possible; they had 3 minutes for the entire activity. The activity opened the session by demonstrating the importance of effective teamwork through individuals taking on specific roles and responsibilities.

Adrian Heneveld and Eliza Halmo from Harlem Lacrosse then led participants in a group debrief, in which they reflected on the activity and gave each other specific shout-outs for good work. Reflection and shout-outs are one of Harlem Lacrosse’s key strategies for building teamwork, which they presented under three main domains which are outlined below.

  1. Program Design:
    • Incentivize positive behavior
    • Avoid over-coaching
    • Develop activities that force students to work together
  2. Peer-to-Peer
    • Group students in a variety of ways and with a variety of other students
    • Give students choice
    • Establish trust with and between students
  3. Culture:
    • Treat your program like a family
    • Partner with towns and schools for collaborative events and activities
    • Always reflect and give shout-outs at the end of a session

Following Harlem Lacrosse, Emma Patton from the Kenny School then offered some of the most effective practices from the programs housed at the Kenny School, Kenny Cats, and Kenny Clubs. Their best practices are:

  • Model Teamwork as a staff
  • Promote peer mentorship
  • Allow students to have leadership positions
  • Focus on project-based and experiential learning
  • Use restorative justice in conflict resolution

Materials from this session as well as the rest of the sessions from the 2018 ACT Skills Summit can be found here.