Ideas for getting to know each other: Ice Breakers Galore!

Each student receives a slip of paper with a song title on it, with about four or five people receiving the same song. They don’t show their song to anybody. Instead, they hum their song, walking around the room trying to find other people humming the same song. For younger students, put the name of an animal on their paper. They can walk around making their animal’s noise until they find others making the same noise.

Have each student introduce himself by first name and tell something they did this summer that starts with the same letter. For example, I could say “Hi, my name is Nicole, and I nudged the President.” The next person in the line (or circle) does the same but must also introduce the people before him and their summer activity.

Place enough chairs for every student in a circle. Tell the children that you’re sure you all have something in common with each other. Then say something like, “I really love pizza. If you love pizza, too, stand up by your seat.” Comment on how many and continue with a few more statements like this. Then, and this is where the fun begins, tell the students to move to another seat if must stand in response to the next question. It should not be adjacent to them or occupied. As they do this, you sit in an empty seat. The last child standing will be the next person in the middle who must form an “if” statement. The trick to getting out of the center is to pick something that lots of people will have in common. Your students should learn this after a couple of rounds.

A classic icebreaker is to give your students a “People Finder Sheet.” Make a list of qualifications like “Can speak another language” or “Has visited Europe.” Then have students seek out these people in your class. Students who meet the qualifications initial the item. The object of the game is to fill the page with initials, but they can only use a student’s initials once per sheet. Be careful, though. Because this icebreakers is a classic, many of your older students will have done this countless times in the past. But you can still use this icebreaker! The trick is to make the qualifications more interesting so they can learn fun things about each other.

Each student should write down three sentences describing himself. For example, “I have attended 11 schools,” and “I have an aunt and an uncle both named Laverne,” and “I love to vacation in Cancun.” The catch is, two of the statements are true and one is false. (Try to guess which one I am lying about!) The students then share their three statements with each other or the entire class (whichever you prefer) and vote on which they think are true and false. The catch here is that the more unusual the information, the harder it will be for the other students to guess. Let them know this, and you are sure to learn some interesting trivia about your new students.

Starting a new school year can be as stressful for new students as it can be for you. Through the use of some of these icebreakers, your transition to the new year can be more comfortable for everyone. Read on for more classroom-tested ice breakers from Teachnet Contributors.

My introduction to the students is sharing a part of my interests and self by taking a small white paper bag (lunch bag size) with my name written in crayon and decorated with stickers, sequins, etc.. I place about 5 – 10 different items that tell about myself. Chocolate Hershey bar ( I love chocolate…what teacher doesn’t?), picture of my animals, sea shells, NY Yankees pennant (favorite baseball team), favorite book, a little potted plant, (enjoyment of gardening), a baby rattle & picture of my new baby, etc… After sharing this with the students, I pass out these same type of bags and direct the students to bring no more than 10 items depicting their interests and likes (must fit in the bag!) They then will take turns explaining their items – sometimes I video the presentations to be used later on in the year (can be used on a web page or Avid Cinema presentation). The students learn a lot about each other as well as provide you with their interests on which to use and build on during the school year for motivation and/or conversation. I finish up the day by bringing the students and a large skein of yarn (rolled into a ball) outside and sit everyone into a circle. I begin by holding the end of the string and tell something about another person I learned, then I gently toss the ball to another student, they must share something they learned about another student. The ball is tossed around the circle weaving a “web” until the yarn is totally unrolled. This allows for bringing the class together as a “family” from day one, making your interests common ones, and helping new students unfamiliar with those who know each other more comfortable now that they know the others a bit better. -”Botn1″

I like your idea about the bag. It would be a good idea for a couple of days subbing too. Your yarn idea reminded me of another use I have with it. When you throw the yarn you must say something that you LIKE about the person you are sending it to. When everyone has had a go, the yarn is thrown back, again, stating what you like about the person you are throwing it to. -Dona Hartwich from down-under

Ask students to bring a box or a bag with items that tell something about them. Have students interview one another and then introduce their partner to the class. Once students have interviewed each other, have them make a place mat for their partner. Have a personal scavenger hunt Ask them to write an acrostic with their names Play the Letter Name Game: Students must go around the room looking for someone who has a certain letter in their names. Ex. Look for someone who has an “m” in their name. Or, find how many people in the class have an “m” in their name. Play “Get Acquainted Bingo.” Get a list of students’ names and ask them to fill in a Bingo grid. Then play Bingo. Another Bingo activity is to have them say something about themselves as their name is being called. Play Signature Bingo. Instead of you writing the names of the students on the Bingo grid, have students go around collecting signatures from the students; then play Bingo. Hope you can try some of these. -Marta Pabellon

You could have your students make “Me Posters” and you could make one also. The poster would include photos and/or magazine pictures that tell something about the person, such as family, hobbies, special interests, etc. – you make your poster including the information you want to know about the students and then use is to introduce yourself to them. Then ask them to do the same. I always ask them to include their name or nickname in a way other than just written out. Another suggestion would be to write the class a letter about yourself and put it on a transparency. Read the letter to the students and then ask them to write you a letter including the same type of information. You will need to be specific about what info you want included – I give an outline or list. I don’t know what age your students are but this works well with older students. -Sandy “SQUILT109″

I write a letter to the kids. I also write a letter to the parents to introduce myself and tell a little bit about my background. I’ve received great feedback about that. -”Luvmugs44″

I also send a postcard welcoming my new students, and they have always commented on it the first day of school. Another thing I do is send a letter to the parents also, introducing myself and telling a little about what my class will be like for their children. This year, for the first time, I have made a handbook to send home the first day of school with very detailed information about most of the expectations in my classroom, including such things as what happens if toys are brought to school, restroom policy and weather-appropriate clothing for outdoor recess as well as the usual information on behavior management systems, classwork expectations,and homework policy. -Nancy Rausch 4/KY

One Response to “Ideas for getting to know each other: Ice Breakers Galore!”

  1. Babette says:

    I really like the ice breaker ideas that are posted here. I always find that these activities reduces the anxiety that the kids have on the first day of school. I also like the idea of sending a letter home on the first dat of school to the parents with information and expectations. I find that parents are just as anxious as the students.
    Last year I came across a fun song to help the students in my class (1st graders) learn each others names. We all sat in a circle. I started the song and it went like this:
    CLAP CLAP PAT PAT
    Mary Mary How do you do?
    Who’s that sitting next to you?
    Then Mary would find out if she didn’t know and then she would start the song and so on until all the students had gone.
    They all really loved this and it was easy for them to remember with easy movements to.

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