Every year before the first day of school, I scour the internet for some kind (any kind) of creative "icebreaker" to do with my classes. There are A LOT of ideas out there I assure you; but, most of them are just plain corny and overused - especially for the high school classroom. (Either that, or just WAY out of my league, like some of the Pinterest photos I've included in this post.)
That said, I still think doing some kind-of "getting to know you" activity IS important no matter how old the students are... We are going to be spending a lot of time together, and I'm going to ask a lot of these young people - to work hard for me, do what I ask, participate in class discussions, and consider some controversial topics in literature and life - the least I can do is take ONE stinking class period to get to know them. (Sorry if you are one of those "jump right in" teachers... It's just not my style.)
To be honest with you, I have yet to find something that I LOVE for the first day of school. This year, as well as several years prior to this, I started off with your classic "two truths and a lie" game. In case you are unfamiliar, basically, I just ask that every student write down three statements about himself/herself. Two of the statements should be TRUE, and one should be FALSE. Then, they take turns reading their statements to the class, and we try to guess which one is the lie. It is simple. It doesn't take much upfront planning on my part. I learn a good bit about the kids - both from their facts and the "approach" they take with the activity (serious/funny/sarcastic/etc.) Plus, my students usually enjoy it. (I also like to tell the class that this helps me figure out who the good liars are in the class so I can "keep my eye on them" later. Ha!) Because I'm not opposed to a little bribery once in a while, I usually offer some kind-of candy "prize" for anyone that stumps me/the class.
This year, I went a little further with this concept and gave a QUIZ at the very start of class. I enjoy a little humor at their expense, so I got a kick out of telling them to get out a blank sheet of paper and number it 1 - 25 as soon as they walked in the room. (Some students started panicking immediately about the summer reading they didn't do!) Anyway, the quiz was really just a little "Quiz on the Teacher" with True/False statements like "Mrs. Chapman was once a competitive gymnast" (True) and "Mrs. Chapman has read all of the Harry Potter books" (False - I haven't read a single one!!). In the end, I gave a prize (something "valuable" like movie theater boxed candy in my case) to the student with the most correct answers. I even had two or three "lightening round" bonus questions to break a tie. The game was a lot of fun and allowed me to really introduce myself - more than just the surface level "I went to Clemson, I like to write, and here's your syllabus" - and it was especially appropriate since I am new to the school. Then, I told them it was their turn and introduced 2 truths and a lie game.
And, on a slightly different note, I ran across this "Prayer for the First Day of School" when I was searching back to school stuff on Pinterest. Seriously, it brought tears to my eyes... This is EXACTLY my heart for the kids that enter my classroom this year... I need to be praying this every single day.
|Apparently, no one really knows who actually wrote this - if you do, please tell me!|
BUT, this website designed this and another cute printable of it!