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Michael Doig is a science teacher, web developer, and avid traveler who lives in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in Zoology and from Pace University with a Masters of Science in Teaching. He currently teaches Earth Science in a New York public high school.

5 Ideas for First Day Ice Breakers

Meeting a new class can be both intimidating and exciting. Icebreakers are a good way to get students active and participating early. Here are 5 ways you can start your classes off on the right foot.

Two Truths and a Lie

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For this icebreaker you will pass out 3×5 cards to everyone and ask them to write down 2 true statements about themselves and 1 lie. Then each person reads their own card aloud and the class guesses which statement is the lie. It is best if the teacher goes first to illustrate how it should be done before participants write down their statements.

For example – I went to school in Hawaii, I met President Bush when I visited Washington D.C. and I once got 12 people to go skydiving. The lie is President Bush. Notice how I didn’t put the lie last and the skydiving example could be a lie.

First Impressions

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For this icebreaker you tape a piece of paper to each participants back. Students stand up and mingle for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes each student writes one or two words describing the first impressions they got about the person they just met. Students shuffle and do this process again. After meeting 5-10 people, participants remove the sheets from their backs. Students pair off and introduce each other to the class using the word on the sheets. This is a feel good activity, so when you introduce this make sure students write appropriate words on the sheets.

Human Bingo

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For this activity you give each student a copy of a bingo sheet. During a set amount of time, students go around and find classmates who match the statements on the sheet. Participants can’t sign the same sheet twice. At the end of the time, students tally up points and whoever has the highest total wins a prize (extra credit, candy). This is very fun and engaging. The link above is just an example you can make your own at Print-Bingo.com or Bingo Card Printer.

Candy Toss

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Be sure and introduce this activity as the Candy Toss. You need a large bag of candy for this activity. Students assemble in a circle and then the teacher passes the bag around and tells students they can take as many pieces of candy as they would like (go crazy), but they can’t eat it. Once the bag has made it around, you tell the students that for each piece of candy they took from the bag, they have to say one statement about themselves. Thus the more candy they took, the more they will have to say. After completing this, they can eat the candy.

Commonality

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In advance prepare 3-4 sets of 3×5 cards that have names on them that are related. Then pass them out randomly and have students find their matches. For example you would prepare 4 cards each one with a different name such as Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa once those 4 students find each other they should realize they are the Simpsons. You can use band members, movie characters, presidential candidates, etc. Be creative, but use something students will know. Once they have found each other, have them sit together and introduce the group to the class. This is a great activity to get students into random groups.

Good luck tomorrow and have a great year.

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  1. gravatarMarisol Bradbury | Sep 27, 2008 | Reply

    The ice breaker activities are such a great way to get to know your kids in a non threatening way while creating a student-friendly environment. Brilliant!!!!

  2. gravatarGreg | Oct 3, 2013 | Reply

    I love these. I will use these for my JAG class. Thanks for sharing!

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