Icebreakers are activities that do not only help students ease into the classroom environment, but they also make for a good moment to learn more about them. It’s no secret that a successful classroom environment starts with knowing what our learners’ interests are from the first week, so make use of icebreakers on that first interaction.
Beginnings are hard, especially for students who are not familiar with the school or even their classmates, so it is a good idea to start with simple, yet thoughtful icebreakers. One of the most import aspects of dealing with students is learning what they like, so take this opportunity to do so. Here are some fun icebreakers that will help you create a wonderful classroom atmosphere and can be used either individually or as a series of activities:
Get to know each other
Write or present the question: “What should we call you?”. Give each student a sticky note and a paper clip and ask them to write their names on it. With the paperclip, have students attach their sticky notes to their apparel (sticky notes don’t like to stick on fabric, hence the paperclip).
When that’s done, have students stand in a circle so they’re facing each other. Ask them to look at each one of their peers and try to learn as many names as possible within 30 seconds. When time’s up, ask one volunteer to stand in the middle of the circle while the rest of the participants cover their names with their hands.
Now have the students point and say the names of as many participants as they can. If they’re too many, you can ask another person to join in or switch the students chosen to name the others. End the activity when most of the students are mentioned. Students can also name their peers with hints if necessary by saying words that rhyme or the first letter of their names.
To finish the activity, have them organize themselves in alphabetical order and assign a wall or cardboard for the students to stick their sticky notes onto.
Access their artistic side
Sometimes students don’t know how to put things into words but are great at imagining it or even drawing it, so this icebreaker can help with that. Have students form small groups of 4-6 and share some colored pencils and color sheets. Ask them to describe something they love and give them plenty time to finish. When everyone is done, have them share with their group what they drew and explain what they love and why.
This could be an exercise to discover what are your students’ strengths and weaknesses, too.
Depending on how much time it took them with the previous part, you can add to this same activity by asking them to draw someone they love, too. This one can be shared voluntarily with the class, as some students might still be shy during the first day.
Dice and roll
This activity is a little bit more intricate, as it requires some preparation beforehand. Have students make two rows of seats facing an opposite student. For each pair, give them one dice and one sheet containing 6 topics or questions that students will have to answer each time they roll the dice. Invite one student from each pair to roll the dice, and the other to ask a question from the sheet. After 2-3 minutes, have them rotate to the right, so that all classmates interact and hear answer from other students.
For the questions/topics sheets, I have added some here so you can mix it up a little. Don’t forget to number them from 1-6 in the sheets, so that students can ask the correct question.
- What is something you are really good at?
- What is your favorite school subject? Why?
- What is your favorite fruit?
- Who is your favorite TV show or cartoon character?
- What is your favorite animal?
- What is your favorite pizza topping?
- If you received a thousand dollars, what would you spend it on?
- Discuss what you did on your vacation break.
- Tell someone three interesting facts about yourself.
- Explain a skill you have that others don’t
- What is the most delicious meal you’ve ever had?
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
- If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be and what would you name it?
- know about you.
- What animal you would be? Why?
- Discuss your interests and hobbies with a friend.
- Talk about your favorite book and your favorite character in it.
- Talk about your favorite meal and why do you like it. Where can you have it?
- Talk about your favorite movie and describe your favorite scene.