Getting to know a classroom full of people can be a real challenge, for student and teacher alike. Everybody’s new, uncertain, and maybe a little hesitant to be the first to “break the ice.” Then again, class time is limited and there is a real need to get to know one another in a short amount of time. There are a number of fun ideas out there, or perhaps you prefer to come up with something more uniquely you. Either way, here are some tips and ideas to get you started.
Tips for creating a good ice-breaker activity:
- Consider various types of ice-breakers--don't just stick to "questions."
- Be aware of time constraints
- Keep in mind technology requirements.
Activities designed to overcome the awkwardness of the first day (or two, or maybe three!) and invite a comfortable camaraderie among class members:
- Question-and-answer: Go around the room and ask each class member (including the teacher!) to respond to one or more questions that are both fun and give more information about that person. Some examples: If you were going to be a candy bar, what candy bar would you be? Are you a cat person or a dog person? Are you a Pepsi or Coke person? What song is stuck in your head right now?
- Guessing famous people: Put names of famous people on labels and put it on their foreheads. The participant must guess the name they have by asking others questions.
- Put yourselves in order by last name without saying a word.
- Have each participant list three of their accomplishments that might best describe them and have them put it on a post-it note and post them in front of the room. Others will use the three accomplishments to try and guess who the person is that wrote the post-it note.
- Prepare a brief video introducing yourself and the topic of discussion to the class. This could be the first thing that the students and teachers see from each other. This is a great way to present personalities online and set the mood for the course. This activity can be used by the teacher only, or adapted to meet the needs of all participants.
- Have everyone take an online silly personality quizzes (such as “What Muppet Character Are You,” “What Superhero Are You”) then share answers in a chat room or discussion board, asynchronous or synchronous. Perhaps users could include an image (copy & paste) if the quiz site gives them one.
- Create a brief PowerPoint that introduces yourself. Presentation can include graphics and media.
- You can find even more fun ice-breaker ideas here!