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“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.” ~ H.E. Luccock Olson
Beginning the school year is often very frightening for children. It’s no wonder when you consider that children are walking into a room full of people they hardly know and for some children this will be one of their first times learning how to socialize with others. Young learners are still developing their social skills and for them to be success in your class, it is important to show them how to build relationships with their peers and teach them the right way to play with other kids. Getting to know you activities are fun and help us ensure we have a semester full of lasting memories. These relationship building activities help prevent bullying from occurring, teach kids the social skills that are needed for their development, help them work effectively in teams and pairs, and promote a culture of trust and scaffolding. Beyond these benefits, these activities will motivate your students to use language related to their real world experiences. In this way, they personalize their learning. Watch the recording of my recent webinar on this topic here!
Get your copy of Hacking Digital Learning, The 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, [email protected]!
Getting to Know You Activities
Pass the Ball
Students sit in a circle
Each student says his/her name
Introduce 1 ball to the circle
Give students the ball & instruct them to roll it to another student.
They have to say the student’s name & ask a question
Each student brings in a favorite toy
Divide the class into 2 lines and seat them across from each other.
The teacher starts the timer for 1 minute and the pairs play with each other
They switch partners
Group the Toys
The teacher brings in various toys
Class sits in a circle
The teacher lays out the toys and asks which would go together
The class groups the toys
Then the teacher puts them in a bag
Each student grabs a toy then finds a partner to play with
Who Am I?
Each student tells a favorite food, place of travel, etc.
The students record it/ write on a Post-It
Put all recordings/Post-Its in a bag
Students reach in, grab one, & find the person
Divide the class into 2 groups & give them each 1 trash bag
Put each group at opposite sides of the room
Each child takes off 1 shoe & places in the group’s bag
Swap bags between groups
Students reach in, grab a shoe, & find their partners
The student asks a get to know you question
When finished they sit back in their line.
My Favorite (A hand-out you can download and adapt here)
Instructions: Ask the children to draw, one in each section, their favorite toys, food, person and animal. When they have finished, sit the children in a circle with all the pictures in the center. Can they guess whose is whose?
My Memory Matching Game
Remember the matching memory card game where students have cards in rows, face down, then try flip each til they find it’s matching pair?
In this activity, students create a memory card game but the cards must explain something about themselves
You can give them a list of questions to make it easier for them to create their games
They have to make 2 of every card that explains a favorite food, a pet owned, # of siblings, etc.
They then pass their game to a partner to play. When the partner makes a match, the partner also has to guess what the matching pair represents about that student.
The class gets into a circle & each student reports what they found out about their partners.
Teach Us HowTo…
Each student shows the class how to do something
Make sure that it is something that when the student teaches it, everyone else can also try to do it.
For example, students can show the class how to make a paper airplane, free throw, origami frog, etc.
You can video record these and add on a website
An Exhibit of Me!
Stuff Animal Interview
Students bring in a stuff animal
The class sits in a circle
Each child in the circle asks the stuff animal a question
All children stand up
You yell out a category and students line up again the wall if the category applies to them
For example, the teacher might say, “Line up if you have a pet.”
Encourage discussion by taking it further and having kids find another peer who either likes the same thing or has the same thing. In this example the teacher gives the children about 30 seconds to find someone with their kind of pets
Kids bring a picture from home like a picture of a favorite memory or of their families and pets. They can also bring in baby pictures of themselves. They shouldn’t be easily identified by the picture.
Tape these pictures to the wall or on the whiteboard.
Students guess which picture belongs to the whom
The student shares the memory with the class
About Me Charades
Create cards with categories like favorite animals, food, places, colors, etc. or dislikes/likes
The student grabs the card and whispers in your ear the answer to the question
Then the student acts it out for other students to guess
If your students have low English skills, then you may want to have flashcards available so that they show you what their answers would be.
Ideas with favorite web tools!
Bookmarks of Tools
Find many more icebreakers listed here! Check for examples of tools in my PearlTree of Resources: Getting to Know You Kids!
Try any of these ideas with your students this year and tell us how it went.
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Interesting essay samples and examples on: https://essays.io/grant-proposal-examples-samples/