The first day of school has already happened in most places or is just around the corner for others (lucky you with a few more days of vacation!). With school starting comes the excitement of new students, new routines, new curriculum, etc. The first few days of class are always the best. Before all the tough work begins, you have the opportunity as an educator to set the tone, allow students to get to know one another, get to know your new students and just have some fun before the real work begins!
I’m sure you already have in your arsenal some great icebreakers and student bonding activities you do each year, but I wanted to share some of my favorite back to school icebreaker ideas and perhaps inspire you to try something new, change it up or just refresh your status quo. If you’ve already started, don’t fret! The “getting to know you process” extends beyond the first few days. If everyone just looks like they need a break or you feel like students need to bond further, reconnect or let loose on a Friday, these will work great too!
Icebreakers are a great opportunity for everyone to get to know one another as well as begin the bonding process. Some of these icebreakers should encourage teamwork, rely on multiple forms of communication in order to achieve a goal and encourage fun amongst the group!
I’d love to hear more icebreaker ideas that you use in your classroom and that work for you! Share in the comments!
Idea #1: 2 Truths and a Lie!
I love this game! Each person says their name and then 3 things about themselves, one of which isn’t true. It’s the job of the rest of the class to guess which is the lie.
Idea #2: Trainwreck!
Everyone sits in a circle with enough spots for everyone, minus 1. One person stands in the middle and says one thing about themselves (this could be anything: I went to Florida for summer break, I have green eyes, etc) and everyone who the statement is true for has to get up and find another spot. The last person left without a seat goes to middle and repeat!
Idea #3: 20 Questions
This is fun on a personal level or a subject specific level, depending on the audience. One student picks something (a word, a ‘thing’, a place, or if you are doing an educational version say for a history class, a historical figure or event) and everyone in the class gets to ask a total of 20 yes or no icebreaker questions to determine what the student is thinking.
Idea #4: Silent Lines
This is great for younger kids but can be fun for high school age as well! Teacher gives certain criteria (age, height, birthday month, names in alphabetical order, etc) and students have to form a line putting themselves in the right order without speaking.
Idea #5: 2 Circles
The idea is to create 2 circles, one circle of people surrounds the other circle. The teacher then gives conversation topics for students from both circles (facing one another) can discuss. For each new topic, one or both circles rotate so there is always someone new to talk to. This activity is open to so many different kinds of conversations – from personal (what did you do this summer?) to current events, review of materials and concepts from the previous year, etc.
Idea #6: Talent Show!
Have students forms groups of shared interest (dancers, singers, artists, writers, etc) and each group has a set amount of time to perform their talents together. Dancers might choreograph a dance, etc. Depending on how hardcore you want to be, students can perform after 30 minutes, or give them a week and have students collaborate in class, after class and at home to put on something special. You can make the focus of each performance/project something connected to your subject, or just for fun to get to know everyone. Consider offering a prize (and allowing everyone to vote for the winner) to encourage everyone to give their best!
Idea #7: Baby pictures!
On the first day ask everyone to bring in a picture of themselves as a baby. The next day collect all the pictures and put them up on the wall or board. Allow students to guess who is who! You can have everyone just mill around and guess, or have everyone write their guesses on a paper and the one with the most correct guesses wins a prize!