I am a TA for a class designed to bring a group of about 25 students together as a cohort starting their freshman year of college. They are in the same department so they will be mostly taking similar classes for awhile.
By the way this class meets weekly.
When I TAed this class last fall community building was a huge focus of mine. As such we did do an ice breaker and a scavenger hunt towards the beginning of the class but that was about it. I couldn't think of anything else to do. At the end of the quarter we did do a sort of "show and tell" for cool things students had done (sky diving, making rockets, baking, art etc).
The goal for me would have been that by the end of the quarter they would all know each-other decently well and would have a sense of solidarity. A stretch goal would be that they would feel comfortable hanging out with each-other outside of classes for studying or just exploring the area around campus.
None of this really happened with my class unfortunately. I think part of it is I just didn't do a lot to encourage this sort of thing to spring up. Additionally I was not in control of the curriculum/schedule so while things like the student showcase may have been more effective early on they were not so effective later in the quarter when I could control the class topic.
This year I am moderately in charge of the curriculum and I want to do something cool with it. The current plan is to roughly stick with the same schedule from last year but in my opinion it didn't work. Students didn't have a good chance to get to know each-other nor work together early on.
I have been looking for ideas of how to improve things here or stories of successful classes like this one but I am really having a difficult time finding good examples/resources. Everything I find seems to be geared for much younger kids or thinks ice breakers are actually the only/best way to get your class to interact with each-other.
Do you have any tips/ideas/resources I might be able to leverage to make this next year's class special?