Icebreaker Activities / Getting Acquainted

Autobiography Poem

The first day of school I tell my students that their first assignment will be to write a poem. I usually hears moans and groans at this point, especially since I teach Math. I say that this will be the easiest poem they have ever written because it will be about themselves. The first line is their first name, the second line is three words that describe themselves, the third line is three things they like, the fourth line is three things they do not like, the fifth line is three movies they have seen (could do books they have read, but movies usually get a better response), the sixth line is three fears they have, the seventh line is three things they like about school, the eighth line is two goals they have, the nine line is a place they would like to visit, and the tenth line is their last name. You could adjust any of these lines to suit your classes. I sometimes have to remind my students to keep it G-rated. I take the poems up and read them, and the next day I have the students guess which poem goes with which person. I read the poems aloud, omitting the first and last lines. I usually give bonus points to the one who gets the most correct.  Emily D.

Back to School Back Pack

I introduce myself to my class by bringing a backpack to school. In it I put several things that tell something about me: my favorite book, a picture of my family, a stuffed frog (since I collect them), a picture I have painted, etc…

After the students have arrived, we sit together on the floor to get to know each other. I start with myself by pulling one item out at a time and discussing how it relates to me. I make sure the items can be handled by the children so that I can pass them around. When I am done, I go around the circle and have each student share one thing about himself or herself.

I also let the students know that they may visit the backpack and look at everything again during center time.

I know of another teacher who sends the backpack home each day until everyone has had a day. The student selected to carry the backpack home returns with 2 or 3 things and gets to share with the class.

Tamie Clark, 1st Grade, Jackson Elementary

Family Wreath

I collected family pictures of each of my students during our Introduction Day. I told the family I would probably not return these pictures. I then took the pictures and made a “family wreath”, for the lonely days or when the students just missed home. This was a huge hit with all the families and the children. I placed the wreath in the home living area, and was amazed to see the students, all year long, go over to the wreath and take time to admire it and their family. (Some families included pet pictures to put on the wreath). On the last day of school I auctioned it off to a family and bought supplies for the class room. All my parents wanted this “keepsake”.  Joan G.

Get to know you bags

During Open House I give my new students their first assignment. I supply a white paper bag for them to fill with five items that will tell the class a little about them. They fill the bags with pictures, magnets, small stuffed toys, medals, past report cards, awards, etc. Throughout the first day each student will share what’s in their bag and why. I also fill a bag myself and go first. I show enthusiasm about every item that they show, they love the individual attention!  Bob Rickert, 3-2, 3-5

Getting Acquainted

GetI like to have some get acquainted projects for the first few days. One thing I do is when I send my parents a welcoming letter, I ask that the children bring in a small bag of pictures and other small objects that could be part of a “me” collage. These collages are a good springboard for the children to discuss their unique qualities, and at the end of the year, they enjoy seeing how they have changed. We also make schoolhouse picture frames for their first day of school photos. I cut schoolhouses out of oaktag, and the children glue pasta on the frames. I spray paint the pasta frames gold. The parents love having this memento of their child’s first day when I give it to them on Back-to-School Night.  Robin, Grade 2

Getting to Know Each Other

On the firat day of school do an activity to bring the class together such as a classroom survey. The students walk around and talk to the other students and fill out a questionairre. At the same time they are getting to know each other.
Pam Gates, Grade 7

Getting to Know You

During the first week of school I give my students a sheet of fill in questions that help me get to know them. Such as…if you had a secret and had to tell a friend, who would it be?, what is your biggest fear for the school year?, what are you looking forward to? I like to give these back to them at the end of the year and do it for the next year and see how their thoughts over the last nine months have changed.  Stephanie, 6-8

Introducing the Teacher

I created a “book about me” on myself. I used photographs of myself as I was growing up. The photos began at birth through high school graduation. I wrote a very simple story about what I wanted to be as I was growing up. I used repetitive phrases and titled the story “Can I, Dad?”. On the first day of school, I read the story to my students and reveal on the last page that the story was about me, their teacher. I then put the book on the bookshelf and allow the students to read it whenever they want.   Sherry L., 4th Grade

Making An Important Book

On the first day of school I read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. I review paragraph writing and instruct them to write a paragraph following the same format as the book about themselves. I also do the same. After the rough drafts are written they are to do a final draft and attach it to a white piece of paper, where they add an illustration. All the pages are laminated and bound into a book. Students reread this book throughout the year. It easily becomes a favorite. Students also enjoy reading the book from the previous years classes. Robin Long

Me Puppets

On the first day of school (unlike the remaining days of the school year), the children are usually reluctant to talk about themselves. We make “me” puppets using paper plates for the head, yarn for the hair, and construction paper facial features, with a popscicle stick for a handle. Upon completion, we stage a puppet show. The children hide their faces with the puppets and tell their classmates all about their families, hobbies, pets, etc.  Gail W., Grade 2

Names Word Search

In order for my students to get to know their classmates, I create a word search with the names of my students. After all the names are found the remaining letters reveal the hidden message “welcome back to school.”   Denise Trimino, Special Needs 4th-6th grade

Our Favorite Things

On the first day of school, I introduce myself to the class, and I tell them that they are going to unscramble some words that I have placed on the board. The scrambled words are a list of my favorite things, but I do not reaveal this to the students. After the students have worked to unscramble the words, I ask for volunteers to help reveal the unscrambled words. After all of the words have been unscrambled, I challenge the students to name a category for all the words. If the students can not guess, I tell them they have just discovered my favorite things. Then I let them create some scrambled words of their own. Each students gets a chance to reaveal their list during the first days of school.  Cara Koen, 3rd/4th

People in My Family Assessment

On the first day or shortly thereafter, I have the children draw a picture of their family, but the rule is: only the people that live in their house. It’s amazing to see how unsure some children are. It gives a lot of good information to the teacher. For younger children, they dictate the names and ages of family members, for older students, they can write them themselves.  Barbara, 2nd grade teacher

Snowball Fight

I give everyone a white sheet of paper. Along with their name, I ask them to write one thing they are excited about, one thing they are nervous about, and one thing they would like to learn. (They can draw a picture if they aren’t able to write yet.) We wad it up and have a snowball fight with our paper. Then, we all pick up a snowball and read the information. Next, we have to find who it belongs to. This is great for getting to know each other and seeing what their fears and expectations really are. At the end of the year, it’s usually what they remember most.  Kelly Creed

Snowball Fight!

To get to know each other and have a “ball” at the same time, I always incorporate “Snowball Fight” into my first day of school activities. Give the students a clean sheet of white unlined paper. Have them write 3-5 unique things about themselves. Tell them NOT to put their name on the paper. Next, have them crunch the paper into a ball. Have them stand in a large circle around the room. Then allow them one full minute to have an all-out snowball fight! When one minute is up, have them locate a “snowball” nearest to them, unfold it, and take turns trying to guess who it is. They absolutely LOVE this activity! It loosens them up real quick and they will remember it always. Many of my students tell me it was the best minute of fun they had all year! Betsy Pollard

Teacher True/False Quiz

About a week after school starts I pass out a true/false quiz about myself. I have 10 statements about myself, which deal with things I’d like the students to know about me, and some random true facts that they always think are false. Once the students have silently taken the quiz, we go through the statements together. I ask them to raise their hand if they think a statement is true, then if they think it is false. This part is fun for me to see what impressions they already have of me. I then tell them the correct answer. They love it! Their homework assignment that night is to write a true/false quiz about themselves, which I will then take. They can then grade how well I did on their quiz. I learn quite a bit about them by taking their quiz.  Amy Kirshen

One comment on “Icebreaker Activities / Getting Acquainted

  1. I am looking for a science ice breaker activity that will last 1-3 class periods (45 minutes each) …6th grade class….any ideas?

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