Fun and Easy Icebreakers for the First Day of School
Here are some fun ideas for getting your students acquainted and putting them at ease as you begin your new school year adventure.
1. Cut pieces of string or yarn in different lengths. Make two pieces of each length, and just enough, in total, for each student to get a piece of string. Have students walk around the classroom looking for the person whose piece of string matches their own. When they find their partner, students will visit and learn a bit about each other. Then, call on students in pairs, to come to the front of the room and introduce their partners. Each students need to tell the name of his or her partner, and one or two facts about them.
2. Get your students up and moving by having them find those with whom they have something in common. For example, tell students to find a partner who has the same color eyes that they have. Students will move around the room until they pair up with someone, then they need to learn that person’s name and one thing about him or her. Then, give another direction, such as finding a partner who gets to school the same way you do (bus, walk, car, bike, etc.). Do several of these so students become familiar with classmates, and lose their nervousness. You may want to tell students that they have to find a new partner each time.
3. You’ll need a good-sized space for this activity. If you don’t have space in your classroom, you could go out to the playground. Divide the space into two parts by putting a strip of tape down the middle. Tell students to stand on whichever side they would like. Then ask everyone to “switch sides if” the following statement applies to them. Here are some examples:
Switch sides if you rode the bus to school today.
Switch sides if you love math.
Switch sides if you have two or more brothers
Switch sides if you were in Mr. _______’s class last year.
Switch sides if you were excited for school to start.
Each time there is a switch made, students need to share a detail with someone on the same side of the tape. For instance, if the switch came because of the number of brothers, student would tell someone near them, “I have three brothers.” etc.
4. I love to start the school year with the book Chrysanthemum by Keven Henkes, and this is a great icebreaker to go with that story. Have each student count the number of letters in his or her first name. Then have them find a classmate who has the same number of letters. If they can’t find a partner, pair them up with someone else who has no one with the same number of letters. Students can then ask their partner questions about their name. such as:
Do you like your name? Do you have a nickname? Do you know anyone else who has the same name you have? If you could change your name, what would it be?
You could have partners introduce each other to the class by sharing what they learned about the partner’s name. You could also have a graph prepared, and students could work with their partners to graph the number of letters in their names.