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Old 07-24-2008, 12:15 PM
GatorGal's Avatar
GatorGal GatorGal is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 339
High School English
First day icebreaker

I know this has been brought up in the past, but I am in desperate need of a new icebreaker I can use with my high schoolers.

I try do a lot of classroom relationship building in the beginning of the semester, so I want an icebreaker to help them (and me!) learn names.

I don't want to resort to having each kid stand up and say something unique about themselves (I HATED that in college).
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Old 07-24-2008, 05:03 PM
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kelbel7583 kelbel7583 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 38
5th Grade Teacher
A unique ice breaker activity that I've done with middle schoolers is known as "Snowball Fight". When students enter into the classroom I ask them to write down 2-3 pieces of information about themselves. I specifically ask them not to write their names on this piece of paper. Then, students are told to fold their paper into a ball. After giving very clear instructions, students are allowed to participate in a mock "snowball fight" using their balled up pieces of info. I allow the "fight" to last only about 1-2 minutes. When told to "freeze" students pick up the nearest "snowball" and return to their desks. We then go around the room and share the information on our found snowball. Classmates try to guess who their snowball belongs to.
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Old 07-24-2008, 05:05 PM
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scienceteach82 scienceteach82 is offline
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Posts: 783
looking :(
That sounds fun!
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Old 07-24-2008, 05:14 PM
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michelleann27 michelleann27 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 620
8th Grade Science Teacher
Our school is so strict we could never do that.. Sounds like fun though.
A teacher affects eternity; he/she can never tell where his/her influence ends.
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:22 PM
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dovian dovian is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 260
High School Teacher
I did a similar snowball fight last year - I had them write down 3 things about themselves that started with the same letter as their first name. We went around and said names once and then they had to throw their paper, take another paper that was thrown their way and try to return it to the original owner. Admittedly it didn't help me that much (I find an alphabetical seating chart is the best thing for that) but on the last day of school one of the kids said to me, "Remember that day when you let us throw paper in class?" So I see that as success

This was with 9th graders, by the way. I would suggest putting a time limit on the throwing.
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:41 PM
ByCandleLight ByCandleLight is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 53
High School Teacher
I tried using something similar to the snowball activity. I had a series of "my favorite..." questions and had the kids answer them on index cards. Then I shuffled them, redistributed them, and the kids read them aloud and tried to guess whose card it was.

Only problem is that I work in a town with a population of about 1400. Everybody knows everyone else. Kinda took all the fun out of it.

Now I don't have an ice breaker. Just go straight into a group activity that involves the kids finding movie and music examples for each of the literary elements for the next day's lesson.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:18 PM
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crzymtngirl75 crzymtngirl75 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 75
9th Grade English
I have 2 on my list so far:

1) I love the toilet paper roll ice breaker! It's perfect for 9th graders because all you have to do is pull it out and they all start laughing. Anyway, you have to have a few of these ice breakers planned because word will spread between classes and once they are on to you - game over! If you don't know this one - you pass a roll of t.p. around the room, instructing the students to take as many squares as they think they will need. You don't tell them what they will need it for even though they will beg. Once everyone has their squares - again, go around the room and they have to tell one fact about themselves for every square they are holding!

2) The pipe cleaners - hand out a pipe cleaner to each student. Give them only a few minutes to create something that represents who they are. Go around the room and have them share what it is they made and why. This was so much fun at one of our teacher trainings!

I am still on the hunt for more!
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:32 PM
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mmswm mmswm is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,190
The land of fun and sun
Former math teacher
ohhhhh, I like the snowball fight and pipe cleaner ones. I think the snowball fight would be fun considering where I live. We all remember the ONE day it snowed in miami...january of 1977. I was little more than a year old and I have a vivid visual image of running outside to look with my very pregnant mother chasing after me. I think the kids would get a kick out of that.
The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off due to budget cuts.
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:23 PM
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hescollin hescollin is offline
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Posts: 2,546

Living Color

Someone posted this activity which is another neat idea.
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:18 PM
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queenie queenie is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,415
When I sub for middle school and don't have plans to follow (rarely), we play "Two Truths and a Lie." I write down three facts about myself on the board. Two are true and one is a lie. (For example, "It took me 22 years to graduate college. My best friend has purple hair. I have four kids." )Then I have the kids do the same thing. The objective is to have the class guess which is the lie (four kids), so obviously, the more outlandish the truth is and the more plain the lie is, the more likely the class will get it wrong. It's a really fun game and it makes kids have to think about things no one knows about them. Plus, the kids learn new interesting things about one another.

[[BTW, I started college in 1984 right out of high school, attended a year, dropped out to get married, had kids, then went back and finally graduated 22 years later in 2006 ;o) ]]

We also have played "I Never." You give all the kids about 5 of something. Could be m&ms. I used little colored sticks I had a lot of. Then the first person says something that s/he has never done that s/he thinks most people in the room have done. For example, I always say, "I have never been over 5 feet tall." Then, everyone in the room who HAS done what the speaker has not done must turn in one stick. Winner is the person at the end still holding the most sticks OR the last person to lose their last stick.
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day, icebreaker

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