Teacher Class Ice Breakers

Some students can feel intimidated among their classmates. They may even feel shy with feelings of not knowing what to say or how to go about making friends. Ice breakers are an excellent way to break the ice, allowing students to feel at ease and get to know each other.

One teacher suggested the idea of creating groups. In each group, everyone must write down their name, e-mail address, and fun personal facts on paper. Then, these students pass around their information to the other students in the group. This is a fun way for everyone to get to know each other. It's also a nice way of staying in touch, through e-mail, in case a student needs help or wants to talk about school activities.

Teaching Idea

Ice Breaker, "Mingle, Mingle, Mingle!"
Carol Jackson; English Teacher, Dutch Fork High School

"This is a great icebreaker for a class to get to know each other better, and it also gives students a chance to get up and move around! Give students an index card, and on that card, have them write a question they would like to ask other students (like "what is your favorite song", "do you have any siblings" etc). Have students move around room singing "Mingle mingle mingle!" (like the cha-cha) and when the teacher says stop, students should grab the person closest to them to exchange answers to both of their questions. After they have talked for about 30 seconds about their answers, students exchange cards so they have a different question to ask, and "mingle" again!"

Teaching Idea

The Toilet Paper Game
Christine Murciar: Davenport Central High School

"For an icebreaker to be used with any grade. Throw out a role of toilet paper and tell the students to take as much as they need. (Don't tell them what it's for). After everyone has taken some, have them tear the toilet paper at the perforations. For each square of paper in their possession, they have to share one fact about themselves."

Teaching Idea

Donna, High School Teacher: Spokane, WA

"Get your students use to collecting information about each other early on in the school year. Place students in groups and encourage them to exchange phone numbers, email addresses or any information that is useful to get in touch with each other. During this time, ask students to share with each other some of the classes they have taken and hints on how they have studied in the past to get good grades. During this time, you can also encourage them to form study groups and meet after class time or show them how to set up a chat room discussion that enables them to meet online. This is also a great way to get students to communicate with each other outside of class."

Teaching Idea

Fantasy Island
Ann, Guidance Counselor: Northport, NY

"To help students get in touch with what's important to them and to introduce themselves to others in the class. Students will need construction paper and markers or crayons. Students are told to imagine that the piece of paper in an island. The island is theirs and they can have anything on the island that they want. Encourage the students to draw images of anything that they'd like to have on their "Fantasy Island"... After drawings are finished, students are paired off with a buddy. They share with each other about their island. After 5-10 minutes, the pairs are invited to share with the class what they've discovered about their buddies' similarities and differences."

Teaching Idea

What Am I?
Jessie, Staff Coordinator: Temple, OR

"Years ago before I got into administration, I would start every year off with this game. I would take out about 100 post-it notes and then give one to each student. Students would get in circle. Each student writes a noun (person, place, or thing) on the card. Then they stick the post-it on the forehead of the person to their right, noun showing. Each person then gets a turn to ask the group a "yes/no" that will help them guess what it is. If they don't get it right, we move on to the next person in the circle clockwise. I usually give some sort of prize to the three people that took the least number of guesses to get it right."

Teaching Idea

He Said/She Said
Debra, 7th-8th Grade Teacher: Queens, NY

"This is an idea to help students learn how rumors begin and spread and how the information changes from one person to the next. Ask for three student volunteers. Ask the three volunteers to please go outside in the hall. Ask for one more volunteer from the class. Ask the volunteer to come up front. Read a detailed description of a person to the student. For example: Susan is 12 years old. She is wearing blue jeans and an orange shirt. She has sneakers on her feet. Her hair is brown and her eyes are blue.

She is wearing a NY Yankees baseball cap, turned around backwards. In her hands are a lunch bag and 2 books. Ask the students who are seated to observe and note what they are about to witness. Invite one of the students in from the hall. Ask the student who just heard the description to repeat it to the student from the hall. Repeat this process with the next 2 students. Conclude by asking students to share their observations and ask them how they will handle the situation the next time they hear a rumor. Rumors are not true and the more they are spread around, the less truth they hold."

Teaching Idea

Record Of Me
John, 5th Grade Teacher: Salem, MA

"This helps students get acquainted and to start to feel at ease in the class/group setting. Make copies of a blank record; A circle within a circle divided into 6 segments. Start by talking to students about what a composer thinks of when he/she writes a song. The person wants to share his /her feelings or ideas with other people. Tell the students that they'll be doing a brief activity to share some things about themselves. Hand out a blank record sheet to each student. Ask students to choose six (6) categories from the following list and create a Record of Me. One of the categories must be what I hope to accomplish or get from this group/class.

  • My Favorite Song
  • My Favorite Place To Go With Friends
  • My Month of Birth
  • Favorite Restaurant
  • Class I Like Best
  • Favorite Movie
  • Favorite Musician
  • Where I was Born
  • Place I'd Like To Go To
  • What I Want To Accomplish or Get From This Group/Class

Give students about 5 minutes to work, then ask them to pair off with someone they don't know. Ask them to begin to share the information they've chosen for their record with their partner. Ask students to take turns introducing their partner to the class/group, explaining what they've learned about their partners."

Teaching Idea

Who Loves You Baby?
Noah Sumner, English Teacher

"An icebreaker that seems to work well for high-schoolers entails trying to guess their classmates' favorite things. Circulate writing paper and pens and ask students to write their names and record their favorite (you as a teacher can come up with subject appropriate topics) things. Some ideas that I've used are: bands, TV shows, movies, books, subjects, foods, sports and athletes. Collect the papers, and read the answers, but have the class guess who responded. It's a good way to settle beginning of the year tension and get to know your classes."

Teaching Idea

Remembering Names
Rosalinda: Teacher; West Java, Indonesia

"For my junior high school class in which the students are in this course for the first time and don't know each other yet, I usually play "Remembering Names" game using a ball. I do this because they tend to be quiet or shy to ask others student's names that they don't recall. After they introduce themselves in front of others, I tell them to recall the names for 1 minute & that'll keep them busy asking each others' names. Then I throw the ball first to anyone I call and she/he must throw it again to the another student by calling out his/her name. Remember, don't throw it to the person next to the name you're calling out and/or to the same person all the time. The one who miscall his/her friend's name must come forward and ask the 'miscalled friend' about any of their favorite things. That'll work for 5-10 minutes and finally they'll get new acquaintances."

Teaching Idea

Defining Perception
George, Middle School Teacher: Birmingham, Alabama

"Ask for 2 student volunteers to come up and stand in front of the class. Explain to them that they are going to be part of an experiment about different perceptions. Ask the class to begin to describe the two classmates who are standing before them. Let the descriptions go on for a few minutes. Examples of descriptions might be: hobbies, music they like, etc. Ask the 2 students how accurate the descriptions of them were. Let the students point out things that were right on and things that were not true, at all. Point out to students how we all assume certain things to be true about people based on how they look. Additionally, our perceptions are based on our experiences and beliefs. Perceptions change from person to person and there is never an absolute truth in our perceptions. We need to be open to experiencing people for who they are and not how they look."

Teaching Idea

Draw Yourself On The First Day
Milton Rays, 4th Grade Teacher

"On the first day of school I always play "Draw Yourself" with the kids. It serves as a great ice breaker. I have students draw themselves. I collect all papers and post them at the front of the room. Students the try to identify who was the artist for each picture. The activity also helps you get an instant sense of each students self concept and work ethic."

Teaching Idea

The Hello Name Game
Linda Newton, Teacher

"The name game is a great way for students to get to know the names of everyone in the class. Just gather the students in a circle. Have students add one word to their first name so that other students can remember it. I start by saying "I'm Mrs. (Fig) Newton". The next student will go and say "Hello, Mrs. (Fig) Newton, I'm Barabara (Bunny)." This repeats and every time a student goes, they have to try to say hello to everyone that went before them. It makes for great fun and works as a wonderful ice breaker."

Teaching Idea

Fill In Your Future
D. Ferguson, Health and Physical Education/ Washington, DC

"By the time the students enter the classroom I have already put a paragraph on the board which has some blank spaces for the students to fill in. The paragraph can be about any subject matter you want but the object of this activity is to get the kids thinking. For example a paragraph may start as followed: "This school year I will be more_______, by _________. In the past I have __________, which has _________ me from __________. I want to become a _________ student... I usually read the paragraph first to break the ice and then have students volunteer to read their completed paragraph aloud to the class."

Teaching Idea

Introduction Letter
Laurie Christensen, Teacher

"I like to start my year off with a letter of introduction to my students. They like to learn about me (and about you), so I tell them a little bit about myself -- where I live, what I like to do in my spare time, pets, children, anything I think I want to share that they might like to hear. Then I have them write a letter back to me in the same format regarding themselves and sharing some of the same type of information. This helps you to learn a lot about your students in the beginning of the year."