1. The "Build Something-Build Relationships" Exercise:

Before asking students to work collaboratively with their reading assignments, some introduction might be needed. Divide your students into groups and provide each group with a deck of cards. Clear out space in the classroom and instruct them to build a house of cards--with the largest house winning a prize (an extra credit point or some small candy would work). By the end of the exercise, most group members will be talking to each other (and, we hope, laughing). It is important to point out your observations about collaboration to the class. Discuss how the objective of the exercise was to open communication channels, the importance of teamwork, and how every member of a team has something important to contribute.

If you don't want to use this activity, think of some other game that requires teamwork to help your students get to know one another and learn to work together.