Today we’re going to talk about engaging back-to-school ice breaker activity to build better connections.
Before I continue, since it’s back to school time, if you’d like FREE resources for your class, like a way to help your children get to know each other, visit my Free Resource Library.
It is essential for teachers to build a sense of community within their classroom for their students. It helps in developing friendships, trust amongst students and between student and teacher, and it creates a safe space and a sense of fun.
Beyond that, it creates a space where teachers can create an environment for social interaction and collaboration.
BUT most games are either pen to paper or require children to run around in close proximity to each other. I have taken two popular ice breaker games, “Find a Friend Who” and “Would You Rather” and adapted it to help children get to know each other safely while social distancing. It also enables to teachers to differentiate for different learning styles.
These two activities can be used and adapted for an elementary or secondary school classroom.
So, let’s get into it, shall we?
#1. Find a Friend Who
For this ice breaker, have students stand on the outside perimeter of the classroom. Ask them to practice social distancing for their safety.
Instead of giving them a piece of paper and having them run around the classroom, you’ll be doing this verbally. So instead, you get the piece of paper with the questions on them, and you’ll recite them to your students.
However, instead of saying, “Find a Friend Who” first, you’ll just say that latter part and adapt it, and say something like “If you like watermelon, pretend to eat one.” My students giggle, do the actions and have fun doing it.
#2. Would You Rather
Have your students stand up, tuck their chairs in and stand behind their desks.
Then, ask your students a “Would You Rather” question, such as, “Would You Rather ride a camel or ride a horse?” Instead of having your students write anything down, have them move to the side of the room that you point to. One side is for camel and the other is for horse.
As you get more into the games, change your types of questions make them a little more far fetched. Ask questions, such as, would you rather do ballet with a flamingo or do hip hop with a gorilla?
Have fun with this game because the more you get into it, the more they will too.
If you’re looking for questions for this game, check out my Back to School Ice Breaker Activities page.
- For children who have special or learning needs, use pictures to guide them instead of pointing in the direction and just using words. This develops their ability to learn new words as well.
- After you’ve asked a question, ask more probing questions to enable your children to get to know each other on a deeper level and how to engage in conversation.
- After you’ve tried a few rounds with your students, have them come up the questions of their own and ask them to the class, not only will they get more into the game, but it will teach them how to ask and answer questions.
- We talked about how to adapt 2 ice breaker games, “Find a Friend Who, and “Would You Rather,” so that children can play while maintaining their social distance.
- We talked about 3 ways to differentiate this learning for those who have special or learning needs to ensure that they are also engaged in this game: use pictures, ask probing questions, have children take charge of the game.
Make it a point to engage in at least one ice breaker a day for the first two weeks or month of school. You’ll be amazed by how connected your children will feel and have engaged they are with their learning.
You don’t have to come up with new ones. You can alternate these and give students a chance to lead the games so that it always stays fresh and exciting.
If you’d like more ice breakers, check out THIS RESOURCE.
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I’ll see you next Friday at 5:30pm PST.
Until I see you next time, remember to create, experience & teach from the heart.