Ice Breakers for the New Year
The beginning of the year is truly a wild time for teachers. August can bring with it a bucket of stress and anxiety, but also excitement for the prospect of a new year and a classroom full of fresh minds. One of the first things you should consider is a way to get to know these new minds right off the bat. Incorporating some fun icebreakers at the beginning of the school year can help to establish the rapport you want for a successful school year. Here are some fun suggestions to help you do just that.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and a Lie is a fun activity that will get even the most hesitant of your students to willingly participate.
How to play: 1. Give each student a notecard, piece of paper, or personal white board. 2. Instruct them to write down two things about themselves that are true and one thing that is not the truth. They shouldn’t share with anyone which of their ‘facts’ is the lie at this point, and the lie should be listed with the truths as if it is a truth (so don’t have them list their truths and lie in any particular order). 3. This is the fun part. Each student gets a turn to share their list with the class. You can have them walk up in front of the class or just stand up at their desk. You and the rest of the class get to guess which is the lie based on the student’s presentation. At the end of the voting, the student gets to reveal which of the ‘facts’ presented is not the truth.
*Note: in a 1:1 district or if you’re trying to incorporate more technology, this activity can easily be done by having students submit a premade Google Form with their list, where you could project each list to the rest of the class for voting.
You can create a template for this four square activity or use a larger one of the example below. The idea is that students partner up and complete the four squares by talking to their partner. Then, they add a picture of their partner to the middle circle and present the four squares about their partner to the rest of the class.
*This can also easily be done on the computer if you share a template with students to do on their computers and then use a resource like Padlet or Nearpod to have students show the rest of the class.
If you can spare a little extra planning time for a scavenger hunt, do it! It’s a crowd favorite. It also forces student to work together and allows them to be competitive at the same time. Trust me, they love competition. So, this would be a fun way to get students to work together. You could pair them up or combine them into small teams.
If you want to do so randomly, a fun suggestion is cutting out little shapes or putting colored slips of paper under the tops of their desks. Then, when they come into the classroom and choose their temporary “first day of school” seats, they will be pairing/grouping themselves without even knowing it. When it’s time, just have them grab the shape or color under their desks and find the other students in the class who match.
You could make the scavenger hunt include clues about you (for a more get to know the teacher activity), clues about content, or even rules and procedures (this way students are forced to identify the rules and procedures you have posted around the room). I like to do this activity paired with my syllabus so that students are searching both the syllabus and the classroom. It’s a really great way to get students interacting with you and with each other right away.
*You can create a mobile scavenger hunt that the students can even access on cell phones using Actionbound. This is an excellent alternative for incorporating technology with students.