First Week Favorites ... "Say what?"

This is another one of my favorite first-week lessons as we begin to establish our classroom community.  I begin by reading a picture book about listening.  I'm sure there are some really high-quality titles out there, but this book belonged to my daughter and every kid I've ever had loves it because of the familiar characters.  (Plus, I can do a pretty good Tigger voice... it sells it every time.)  :)

We talk about how and why it's so important to be an active listener and what a good listener looks like, too... "The Parts of a Listener."  Then, the fun begins.  I pair up the children and give each pair:

• two identical Ziploc bags of Lego pieces
• one visual barrier to put between them

One child becomes the speaker and the other child becomes the listener.  This is a great exercise in effective communication because the end result won't work if the partners can't communicate clearly with each other.  The goal is for both partners to have the same exact structure built at the end of the activity.    


The speaker secretly builds a structure behind the barrier, careful not to let the listener see it.  The listener waits.

Then, keeping the structure hidden behind the barrier, the speaker gives oral directions to the listener on how to build the same exact structure using his set of Lego pieces.  (This is why they must have the same exact set of Legos.)

The listener is allowed to ask questions when confused, but they aren't allowed to look over the barrier or touch each other's sets until they're all done and ready to check.

When they think they're finished, they can take down the barrier and see if they were successful.  Then, they switch roles and the listener becomes the speaker.  

{It can be harder than it looks... as you can see.}

TIP:  Think about the age of the children you teach and stock your Ziploc bags accordingly.  Ten Lego pieces, or fewer, is an ideal amount.

PIGGYBACK IDEA:  If you want the children to be successful on their first attempts, stock the bags with only 2-4 pieces each.  Then, each time you do the activity again, increase the number of Legos in the bag.  This is a great way to show them how some activities require more attention and concentration than others.

ALSO:  This is a great activity to modify and do throughout the year... and it doesn't always have to be done with Legos.  The children can duplicate each other's drawings, use other construction materials (such as toothpicks and marshmallows), or use your math manipulatives (such as pattern blocks or geoboards). 

Here's a little poster I use during this first-week lesson... it stays posted in our classroom:


  1. This a one of my favorite ideas ever! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Melissa! My kids always have fun with it. It's not as easy as they think it is, but they like it... hope yours do, too! :)

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  3. This is such a great idea! Kids love legos, so I am definitely trying this out. Thanks for sharing.

    Fantastic First Grade Froggies

    1. Thanks, Renee. I'm glad you like the idea. Let me know how it goes! :)

  4. We did this today, the kids loved it! Thanks!


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