It’s that time again! Summer is dwindling down and school days are right around the corner. If you’ve already returned to work, then you’re ahead of the curve — at least as far as Virginia goes. If you’re not back to work yet, then instead of dreading the inevitable, think about the endless possibilities of how to make your first day one to remember.
These are fun little games and activities that get students talking about who they are and learning about who their peers are. In the past couple of years, I have done several fun activities. This year, however, I’ve come up with something that (I hope) will get them chuckling, while reminding them that school isn’t always mundane.
This year, I’m doing something called, “First Day Funnies.”
I am going to split up the class into two teams. Randomly. I don’t want students to begin alliances and cliques. They may not like it, but it’s for their own good. After they are split up into teams, I’m going to hand half the team a one-liner joke (without the answer). They may not share this at all with anyone. It is to be kept a secret until I give them a signal. The other half of the class will be given the answers to their one liners. They will have 60 seconds to match themselves correctly. The first team that completes the task will win. The winning team will come up in pairs and read their joke and answer in front of the rest of the class.
I will connect this icebreaker activity by asking, “What do you think the point of this activity was?” “Why do you think it’s so important to keep a sense of humor in every situation?” “What did you learn from this activity?”
I will introduce Wonderopolis to my students, as well as my role as a Wonder Lead, while starting them off with “Does Every Joke Have a Punchline?” I’m pretty excited about this new activity and I’m hoping it’ll go as well as I imagine it to be.
Another icebreaker that I have done in the past was called Ipod Introductions. This was a lot of fun, too, and pretty successful.
Ipod Introductions: Give the students an outline of an ipod classic — the big one. Ask students if they could create a playlist for themselves, what songs would be on it and why. Then, have them decorate their ipod bodies by drawing images (or symbols) they think depict them. It can be favorite foods, animals, hobbies, etc. While students are working, play music that you enjoy. When everyone is done, share your ipod introduction and then ask for students to share theirs. You’ll get some surprising answers. A couple of years ago, I had a student who was a Beatles fan and a lot of the songs she chose exemplified her very unique personality and memories as a child. Remind them to be open and honest. Your classroom should be a safe place to share memories and ideas.
Other icebreaker ideas you could do:
- Create a pinterest board about yourself. Show it to your students and then ask them to create a pinterest board to share with their classmates.
- Two Facts and One Fake: Tell your students three things about yourself. One of them should be a fake. Have the students guess which one the fake is, then tell them about your two facts. Give students a couple of minutes to think about their Two Facts and One Fake. Ask for volunteers to share until the entire class shares.
- Letter to my Future Self: Ask students to write a letter to their future selves. It should follow this format:
It’s September 4th and I’m now in (grade). I can’t believe how quickly time has flown! Now that school has started, let me tell you a little bit about what I expect this school year to be like.
- 3 things the student expects from the class (teacher, lessons, hw, etc)
- 2 things the student wants to learn about/read about
- 1 goal they will achieve by June (grade earned, skills, friendships, etc).
** The 3-2-1 can change to whatever you want it to be, really. The possibilities are endless. **
End the letter with:
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed (grade)! Take care and please remember to always wonder!
From your future self,
Have the students date it and turn it in to you. I usually tell them I won’t read them unless they want me to. If they want to share it with me, then they can tell me in the last couple of minutes of class and we can briefly discuss goals and what not.
Icebreakers are tons of fun and give you a great way to learn about who your students are. They also give you a great way to make your classroom colorful and expressive, while showing your students that you care about what they think.
I hope some of my ideas will help to bring a spark into your classroom and your students this year’s first day of school.
Do you have any icebreakers that are fun and interesting? If you do, please share them below in the comment section. I’d love to hear your ideas!
Thanks for reading and remember to always wonder!
<3 The Wonder Family Nixon