Daunted by the first day of school and facing a class full of new faces? In this month’s Ilm o Amal, TRC staff has compiled a list of ice breaker activities that can ease the transition to a new classroom for both teachers and students.
Imagine the first few days of school. Everyone, including teachers can feel a little lost and awkward. A classroom ice breaker activity is just the thing that can help you and your students settle in during the first days of school.
Here are a few ice breakers you can use to ‘break in’ your classroom.
1. Get Into a Line
In this activity, the teacher gives a prompt and students organize themselves according to the prompt. For example, a teacher tells students to organize themselves in alphabetical order or according to their birth month. While participating in this activity, students keep moving and talking, getting to know each other and learning about what they have in common. Other prompts you can try are, lining up according to the number of siblings you have or in alphabetical order according to your last name.
2. Writing a Letter
Write a short letter to your students giving details about yourself as the teacher. Include information such as where you live, if you are married, if you have children, what you like to do in your spare time and whether you have any pets. Ask your students to write back a similar letter with information about themselves.
In this activity you divide the sides of the room to represent opinions or answers on a certain topic. For this activity you need to form questions that are answerable by yes/no, true/false and ‘would you rather do X or Y?”.
You can ask questions like:
Yes/No: Do you speak more than three languages? Are you reading a book right now? Do you have more than 2 siblings?
True or false: I slept before 9 o clock last night/I like cats / I got up late today
Students move to opposite sides of the classroom according to their answer to the question.
4. Mingle Mingle
Ask the students to write a question they would like to ask other students on a piece of paper. The questions can be simple, such as ‘What is your favourite colour?’ or ‘What is your favourite movie?”. Then ask the students to walk around the classroom till you say ‘Stop’. At that point students should ask the person standing closest to them the question written on their piece of paper. Ask the students to mingle again and repeat the exercise with a new person.
Ask students to draw three concentric circles on a piece of paper. Students write a topic representing food, season, sport etc., such as ‘Winter’, ‘Watermelon’ or ‘Cricket in the middle circle. They then write ‘Love’ in the second circle, then they write ‘Like’ in the third circle and finally in the outside circle they write ‘don’t like’. The students then go around asking their peers how they feel about the item, writing the students’ name in the correct circle.
6. Truth, truth, Lie
Students write down three statements about themselves, of which one must be a lie. The other students then ask them questions to find out which one was a lie. Even teachers can use this activity to share information about themselves on the first day.
7. What we have in common
Form small groups of students and ask them to identify three things that they have in common with each other. The stranger the thing, the better and more fun it will be. You can write prompts on the board and then give students time to figure out. Later students can vote on which group has the weirdest thing that they have in common.
8. The Name Game
This will work in a class in which very few people know each other. For this game, you will require a small ball. Students sit in a circle and everybody says their name. Give the ball to a student to begin the game. He or she has to say someone’s name and throw the ball at him or her. They have to do this quickly in say about 2 to 3 seconds or they are out.
As a teacher, you can get to know your student and encourage your students to gets to know each other with these classroom ice breakers. The ice breakers have little social risk attached and can also be a lot of fun if they are done properly. An effective ice breaker will encourage everyone to participate and help them relax too.