Each summer I like to take time to reflect on the past school year…what went well and what I would like to change for the coming school year. I decided that this year I will share these reflections on my blog, so each of my next several posts will include ideas for the upcoming school year.
Today’s post is about the first day/week of school. I am going to share an icebreaker that I did last year, which worked out really well for me. In my small Catholic school, most of the students know each other really well as many of them have been in the same class since preschool or kindergarten. Because of this, most traditional getting-to-know you icebreakers don’t really work for me in my classroom. The problem is, though, that even though the students know each other really well, I don’t know my homeroom students well at all coming in to the new school year, so I had to come up with a way to get to them a little without boring them since they already know each other.
So….I designed this worksheet.
I had the students fill in the top half (which is all about them) when they first came in to keep them quiet and busy as I collected supplies and took care of homeroom “stuff”. I had them write down their guesses for the questions on the bottom of it (all about me) to see what they already knew (or thought they knew) about me.
When they were finished (after about 15 minutes or so), I had them cut the bottom section off and hand in the top half to me. I then went over the questions about me. Just about every student wanted to guess the answers to each of the questions, so I called on a bunch of kids to share what they thought the answer was and then I told them the answers. It was sort of like a show-and-tell time for me as I showed them a picture of my dog and my family when we got to those questions. They got really into it and seemed to really enjoy getting to know a little bit about me.
As much as they enjoyed learning about me, their favorite part was what I did with the top half of their papers that they handed in to me…
For the whole first week of school, any time we had a few spare minutes, I would pull out those papers and we played “Who am I?”. I would read about 3-4 of the answers someone wrote down and the kids in the class would have to guess who it was. For example I might look at someone’s sheet and say “I had a great time in Disney World this summer. I love the color yellow and hate eating broccoli. Who am I?” I would then call on students to guess whose paper I read. If after 3 guesses no one got it correct, I would read another fact or two from their sheet, and call on other students to guess who it was.
The kids got so into this game and begged to play every day! It was a great way for me to learn a little bit about my students and it was fun to see how well they really knew each other. I am definitely planning to do this activity with my homeroom again this year since it was such a hit. If you would like to use this activity with your class, just click on the worksheet above to download it.
Thanks for reading,