By: Karen Bradshaw
Wouldn't life be so much easier if we had some good ice breakers for students when starting a new school year?
Last year, I noticed that my kids were more anxious than usual about the start of the new school year, probably because they were starting a new school with new students and a new teacher. I got to thinking about how it might be easier for them if there were something that made them feel more at ease. So, I decided to talk to a teacher friend of mine who gave me some great information on her favourite ice breakers for students. And I would love to share some of these with you.
It can be scary for a kid when beginning a new school year, but as adults there are ways in which we can make things run a little more smoothly.But using some of these ice breakers can put the kids mind at ease and rather than feeling as though they are being thrown straight into the lions den, they will be more likely to feel comfortable and secure at school.
A great way of breaking the ice getting to know their new group of peers is to share a little bit of information about themselves. This is a simple game where each student gets the chance to talk about themselves as well as interacting with the other members of the class.
The teacher should ask each kid to write down four facts about themselves, three of which are true and one of which is a huge, whopping lie. This also gives them a chance to get creative - which is great for developing minds!
When everyone is ready, have each child read out their facts and then let the rest of class decide which is the lie. Not only is this a chance for the kids to chat to one another and get to know each other but it can also serve as quite a hilarious game, with their imaginations cooking up all sorts of silly facts. They'll be sure to be laughing their way out of the class room at the end of the game.
This is a popular game in all walks of life, and quite often adults can be found playing a rather saucy version of Would you rather? But this can be adapted for the classroom and is the perfect way to spark up conversation - both in the classroom and after they have left.
You can do this as a class activity or put the kids into smaller groups, either way works well. One person has to ask a 'would you rather' question, in which two options are given - neither of which are very desirable but the rest of the group has to choose which option they would go with, if they had no choice.
You might want to come up with a list of your own questions for the class to read out as a way on ensuring that they don't start asking anything inappropriate. So let's look at some examples of 'would you rather' questions you might use.
* Would you rather spend a week in the jungle or a week in the arctic?
* Would you rather never eat candy again or never drink soda again?
* Would you rather have no internet access but infinite money or infinite internet access and no money?
If you want to get the class to understand each other better, this is a great option for introductions. Before class, ask the students to bring in one item that they feel describes their personality. Once everyone is settled and ready, you can ask each student to show their item and give an explanation as to why they chose it.
As a way of really getting everyone talking, you might then offer the other kids the chance to ask questions, such as 'where did you get this item?' 'Is there a special story behind it?' 'Do you have more than one of these?' Not only will it get their minds ticking but it is also a great way to encourage new friendships, especially with kids who might have similar interests.
You have likely played this game as a child yourself or even as an adult at a social gathering but Guess The Person - also known as 20 Questions or Who Am I is a great way to break the ice.
Each student should think of a person or character and the other kids must ask questions to determine who that character is. The catch? They are only allowed to ask questions that can be answered with 'yes' or 'no.' In some variations, only 20 questions are allowed - hence one of the alternative names of the game, or in some cases, you can keep asking until you get it right.
Think about it, even as adults it can be overwhelming going into a new situation - in some cases it can be downright terrifying, so imagine how that feeling is amplified for a younger person!
Giving the kids a chance to interact in a safe and controlled environment can help them grow in confidence and spark friendships without the added pressure of the playground. What's more, these types of activities can create lasting bonds between a group of people who have shared a common experience, so even if they don't become the best of friends - they will still share a common memory.
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