The first week of school has always been a stressful time. A new class, new students, and lots of energy. A great way to get to know your students is by doing icebreakers. The icebreakers help the students relax while learning about their classmate and teacher. I always recommend you join in on the icebreaker instead of just observing.
I call this one Groups but I have heard it called blobs before. It’s super simple and easy to set up. Have your students write down favorite things categories (like color, animal, food, movie, music, etc) on small sheets of paper. Crumble all the small sheets up and place them in a bowl (or hat). Pick out a random category and have your students gather into small groups based on the answer as quickly as possible.
Toilet Paper is a weird but fun icebreaker. Stand at your classroom door before class starts. As students are walking in, tell them to grab as much toilet paper as they need and have a seat. Once all the students are in the classroom, have them count how many squares of toilet paper they have in their hand. Once they count their square, let them know that number is the number of facts they will need to say about themselves.
If you are able to get a Giant Jenga set, I recommend writing questions on each block. When you build the Jenga, have the questions hidden next to another block. Have each student one-by-one pull out a block and answer the question before the tower falls over!
This or That
This or That helps students learn about debating while learning about each other. Pick light topics such as “Which animal makes a better pet…dog or cat?”. Have the students choose a position, they can even move around the room: right side for cats and left side for dogs. Then give them a minute for each group to discuss the best reason for choosing that position. Let the kids debate!
This next game is a little more difficult, but tons of fun. You won’t learn about your students’ interest but you will learn about their quick-thinking and process of evaluation skills. This game is called Assassin. Have your students stand around in a circle, one student will stand in the middle and they will be the ‘detective’. Another student who is standing in around the circle will be the ‘assassin’, all other students are the ‘victims’. The assassin will kill the victims by sticky out their tongue at them. As the victims are getting killed, the detective needs to figure out who the assassin is before all the victims die.
Building a personal Time Capsule is always a lot of fun. During the summer, I recycle Pringle cans and lids. The students get to decorate their capsule however they would like during the first week of school. For the inside, I always recommend putting a picture from the 1st day of school, a biography (I print out a worksheet that includes height, favorites, and 3 goals for the year), and a letter the student can write to their future self. At the end of the year, the students get to open them up and reflect on their school year.
My favorite game is Snowball Fight; mainly because it requires 0 prep on your part. Have your students take out a sheet of paper and write down 3 facts about themselves. Make sure no one sees what they are writing. Then have the students crumble up the paper like a snowball and have a snowball FIGHT. After a few minutes of throwing the snowballs around, have everyone pick up one snowball. Individually, they need to read the 3 facts on their snowball and guess who it is.
Another great, no-prep icebreaker is Tattoo Parlor. Have each student draw a tattoo that they think accurately describes them or includes one of their favorite things. Then you pin all the tattoos up at the front the class and everyone has to try to match the tattoo to the student.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and A Lie is a hilarious game as kids come up with the funniest lies. Basically, each student needs to write down 2 truths about themselves and 1 lie. Then one-by-one they will tell the class what they wrote down and the class needs to figure out which one is the lie. This is a favorite icebreaker among high school students.
If your students have too much energy and need to get it out without going outside, Beach Ball is a great icebreaker for you. This involves a little planning ahead. You will need to buy a medium-to-large sized beach ball. Write down different getting to know you questions on the ball. Have the students bounce the ball around the classroom to each other. Then yell ‘STOP’. However has the ball when you yell stop has to answer the questions that his hands are on. One trick to this is to write numbers instead of questions on the ball. That way you can reuse it over and over again with different questions. Each time you want to reuse the ball write the questions on the board with a corresponding number.