Back-to-School: Icebreakers That’ll Surprise and Thrill Your Students

August 21, 2018

Stephanie Machado

M.Ed. in Educational Leadership

As the new school year begins, so begins the work of building a classroom community and getting to know our students. There are endless games and activities out there to help students get to know us and each other, but educators sometimes recycle the same things year after year. Check out the ideas below to spice things up this school year. 

Roll out the year with the Toilet Paper Game

As students enter your room, greet them at the door with a roll of toilet paper. After saying hello, tell them to take as much as they think they need for the game. They’ll look perplexed, but simply repeat the directions. Some students will take one square, and some will take 10 –  either way is OK! Once everyone has entered, explain that for every square they tore off they get to share a fact about themselves. This will immediately break the ice, and they will all burst out in laughter. You’ll also learn a lot about your new class!

Slide in introductions with PowerPoint

Most of us have the opportunity to meet our students and their parents before school starts. For this activity, you will need to collect emails before school begins or from student’s registration files. Send an email before the first day of school with a PowerPoint slide template. Students will fill it in with the information you want to know, such as their favorite subjects and hobbies, along with pictures of themselves. They will then send it to you before the first day.

On the first day of school, you can have these slides looping for students to see or you can have students introduce themselves using their slide. It gives everyone a great visual and serves as “notes” for the student presenting, which helps a lot with shy students. 

Anchor friendships early with Anchor Chart Surveys

Create different anchor charts with questions such as:

  • What is your favorite sport?
  • What is your favorite subject?
  • What is your favorite food?

Split the anchor chart into four sections and write a different answer in each box. For example, if you asked, “What is your favorite sport?” one box might read basketball, another might read soccer, another might read football and another might read baseball

Give students Post-it notes. Tell them to write their names on them and stick their names in the box that applies to them. Once they have done this with all of the questions, they can see other students with similar interests to them. This is a great way to break the ice!

Another tip is to facilitate an activity where students can create something that you can hang up. It will make the students feel like they are a part of your classroom. A carefully curated classroom doesn’t beat the art of students’ work.

Have a great start to the school year, educators!Start your school year off on the right foot by starting your master’s degree in education at American College of Education. Explore all our master’s degree programs to find the one that’s right for you.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.
Stephanie Machado
Stephanie Machado, M.Ed. in Educational Leadership

Stephanie is an instructional coach living in Florida. She's also an avid reader, wannabe chef, and lifestyle blogger.

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