I am a new math teacher and I am trying to figure out what 1st day ice breakers/activities are really fun for middle schoolers. Some of my classes will have as few as 10 students and others will have around 25 students, so I guess I'll need two different activities due to the number of students. The typical ice breaker seems to be a scavenger hunt where kids walk around gathering signatures based upon questions. This is fine, but it just seems so "typical". Does anyone have any other suggestions? Thank you!!

this isn't quite what you were asking for, but in my opinion, i spend the first day going over rules, not doing ice breakers. I know each teacher has their own style, but i feel using that first day to make the rules and expectations clear shows the students what i am expecting. I hand out the syllabus (I teach high school, I wouldn't do that for middle school) go over it, then hand out a contract with the rules and grading policy clearly stated and have them sign it and make their parents sign it.

I have the kids introduce themselves to me. They have a few minutes to think about my questions, then they have to stand up and say them to the class. Usual questions are: Name? Age? Favorite subject & why? Least favorite subject & why? Hobbies? Most interesting scar? (Or something equally silly to break the ice and boring-ness). After this, I get down into an activity - either a scavenger hunt based on the classroom rules or a learning activity (my P doesn't like us to do rules on the first day - he likes us to jump into curriculum).

I don't do icebreakers either. I do 10 minutes on my expectations and then I teach and assign homework.

You could do a math gylph autobiography. I've never done it, but it would be fun if I taught math all day. Basically, you come up with a list of questions and have the students draw or color something based on the question. Then they could share. It would give you more insight into them as a mathematician too. Maybe, draw your favorite number largely on a piece of paper. Draw a heart inside your favorite number if math is your favorite subject, draw a star if math is not your favorite subject. On and on and on.

I never do icebreakers either. By the time I get them, they have already spent a year together, and 70% of them attended the same elementary school, and the other 30% attended another school. I prefer to spend my first day going over procedures and expectations, and then I have them write an introduction letter to me. I teach English, so that gives me some information about the kids and their writing ability. They don't really need to break the ice with each other, but I need to get to know them.

How do you all learn your new students' names? I used to do-pass the ball around-say your name and 1 word to describe you, the next person goes and repeats the person(people) before him/her, etc. . .it gets really monotonous, but helps learn names quickly!

I learned a cute one this summer. You break kids up into groups and give each groups a die and a penny. Then you give them a list of six things like: 1. My school. 2. MY family. 3. My job. (etc.) They roll the tie and toss the penny. For whatever number they roll, if it's heads they tell their favorite thing, and if it's tails they tell their least favorite thing. You could make it as personal or general as you want.

When I taught middle school, I set up the first day like a tour of the classroom. We started out at the door, where I would make an announcement like, "This is the door. I expect that you will pass through it and reach your seat before the bell rings. You should try to avoid using it between bells. Please do not expect to gather around it before the period ends." As I went through the room, I was able to cover all of the little classroom rules, and the tour really stuck in the kids' minds.

get kids in circle and play "I'm going to . . . " u decide where ur going so say ur going to the beach - you say "Mr. ___ is going to the beach and i'm taking a surfboard." the next kid has to repeat who u are and what ur bringing then add his name and what he's bringing and u go around the circle - fun way to remember names - u can also have the destination a secret and then u say what ur bringing and the next kid has to decide what he's bringing - if it's the beach and he says a basketball you say - no ur not going the same place i'm going then u repeat what ur taking and add something new that's another clue like "My name's Mr ___ and to my destination i'm taking a surfboard and sunscreen" buy a hula hoop - kids get in circle and hold hands - slip hoop between 2 kids before grasp hands - kids have to get hoop around circle without breaking hands write down math terms (integer, pi, circle, equation) on index cards - kids tape on their backs without seeing what they have - they must mingle and ask yes/no questions to figure out what math term they are

I like pairing my students up and having them interview each other. Then, they have to introduce their partner to the class. Great for public speaking practice and interview skills. If you have an odd #, have one of them interview you, and visa versa

Same here. I just write my name on the board, explain them the sacred rules of the class and wish them good luck. On the other hand, I save all the best activities for the first week/month. A great start is always essential, especially when you're working with tough kids.

I also teach my rules/expectations while going over the syllabus. To Add: This was my first year trying this, but I did Social Contracts in all my classes where the students came up with the rules. It needs to be VERY structured so they don't come up with silly rules, but it worked out really well for my 7th graders. We wrote the rules on a sheet of paper, and all students signed it. I have them up on my wall for all classes, and we refer to them from time to time if there is an issue. It sets the tone and also gives them something to own up to that they came up with and voted on.