Back to school can be a stressful time for both students and teachers – especially if they’re new to each other. That’s why ice-breakers, specially designed activities to break down barriers, are so important!
Regardless of your student’s ages, below are a selection of great warm up and getting to know you exercises that will help everyone make new friends, and feel belonging in your classroom.
Objective: Students will engage in fun and interactive ice-breaker activities to get to know their classmates, build rapport, and create a positive classroom environment at the beginning of the school year.
- Name tags or labels
- Colored markers or pens
- Sticky notes
- Ball or soft object (optional, for certain activities)
Day 1: Ice-Breaker Activities
Welcome and Introduction (5 minutes):
- Greet the students warmly and briefly introduce yourself.
- Explain the purpose of the ice-breaker activities: to help everyone get to know each other better and build a friendly and supportive classroom community.
Human Bingo (15 minutes):
- Hand out blank bingo cards to each student. Instruct them to fill in each square with a characteristic or fact about themselves (e.g., plays a musical instrument, has a pet, speaks two languages, etc.).
- Encourage students to mingle and find classmates who match the descriptions in each square. When they find someone who fits a description, that person signs or initials the square.
- The first student to get a line (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) filled with signatures calls out “Bingo!” and shares some interesting things they’ve learned about their classmates.
Find Your Match (15 minutes):
- Before the class, prepare a set of cards or sticky notes with pairs of related words or images (e.g., peanut butter & jelly, sun & moon, etc.).
- Hand out one card or sticky note to each student without showing them the content.
- Instruct the students to find their match by looking for the person who has the card with the related word or image to theirs.
- Once students find their match, they should sit together and introduce themselves to each other, discussing why they are a match.
Ball Toss Questionnaire (optional, 15 minutes):
- Have students stand in a circle. Pass a soft object (e.g., a ball) around the circle while playing music.
- When the music stops, the student holding the ball should answer a question written on the board or provided on a sheet of paper.
- The questions can be light-hearted and fun, such as “What’s your favorite food?” or “What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this school year?”
5. “Two Truths and a Lie” (20 minutes):
- Have students sit in a circle. Each student takes a turn to share three statements about themselves: two truths and one lie.
- The rest of the class tries to guess which statement is the lie by asking questions or discussing the options.
- After the guessing round, reveal the lie and give the student a chance to share more details about the truths.
Day 2: Sharing and Reflection (optional)
Sharing Circle (20 minutes):
- Invite students to sit in a circle again. Provide open-ended questions to facilitate sharing, such as “What was the most interesting fact you learned about a classmate?” or “How did the ice-breaker activities make you feel about the upcoming school year?”
- Encourage students to actively listen to their peers and show support and respect during the sharing session.
Classroom Expectations and Goals (20 minutes):
- Transition from the ice-breaker activities to discussing classroom expectations and goals for the school year.
- Collaboratively create a list of guidelines and aspirations that will contribute to a positive and productive learning environment.
The assessment for these ice-breaker activities will be informal and focused on observing students’ participation, engagement, and interactions during the activities. Additionally, the teacher can gauge the success of the ice-breakers by monitoring the classroom atmosphere and the level of comfort and camaraderie among students in the following days.
Wishing all of you a happy and fruitful year ahead at school! 🙂