Icebreakers are " discussion questions or activities used to help participants relax and ease
into a group meeting or learning situation" (Dover, 2004). Icebreakers are very important in the learning-teaching process that takes place within the classroom. They can help in creating and maintaining a healthy and successful learning environment for students and are also the best warm-ups to get students engaged in a learning task.
According to Laura Telliry, these are the main things to consider when working with icebreakers :
- Teachers need to learn what icebreakers work out best according to the age group and number of people.
- According to the Stress and Wellness Specialists a successful icebreaker needs
- step-by-step instructions and then needs to be demonstrated (Instant Icebreakers). Icebreakers are most effective when they are thought out, practiced, and have clear instructions (“Beat the summer heat,” 1998).
- Not all students will like or want to participate in icebreakers, but it is important to keep in mind that most people do like them and not to be discouraged.
- Teachers need to read their class; if something is not working the teacher can adjust or try a different approach to an icebreaker.
- Specialists stress that a teacher should make sure the room is silent before speaking so that they have full attention of their students. A teacher can use a noisemaker like a drum or a whistle to get the student’s attention.
Here are some great icebreakers you can work on using technology :
1- Self Portrait
Have your students draw themselves. After they have done this, collect the papers and hang them up for the whole class to see. Now have students try to guess who the artists was for each picture. Here are the web tools to do that :
2- Video/ audio introductions
Encourage students to record a short video clip in which they introduce themselves to their peers. Here are some very easy and simple to use tools for this purpose :
3- Create Avatars
Ask your students to create avatars of themselves or of popular personalities and show them to the whole class. Other students can try to guess the personality behind the avatars. Here are some tools to do this :
4- Word Tree
The teacher generates a list of words related to a topic to be taught. The students then
have to suggest words related to the topic while the teacher writes it on the board and
clusters is by theme (Dover, 2004). Here are the tools to do it
5- Prior Knowledge check
Giving multiple choice tests or true and false quizzes before introducing a topic or
reading engages students, activates a student’s prior knowledge, and will encourage the
sharing of information and resources. The teacher can discuss the answers with the class
before and after the lesson in order to focus on the important parts of the topic being
taught (Dover, 2004). Here are the tools to do it
6- Personalize it
The teacher writes the topic to be taught on the board and then talks about how the topic
relates to them by using a personal reference or story. The students are then to figure out
how they can relate the topic to a personal reference or story. Here some of the tools to do it :
7- Classroom Blog
Create a classroom blog and ask students to write a short post introducing themselves to others. Here are the blogging platforms to use
8- Use Pinterest
Create a Pinterest board and ask students to add visual pins that introduce them to others
9- Use Comics
Encourage students to use the tools below to comic strips on who they are. Here are some of the tools to help you do that
10- Use QR Codes
Students can use free QR code generators to produce a QR code that others have to read to know them. They can create QR codes and print them then scatter them in class then each one randomly picks a code and scan it to see who it is about. Here are tools for this:
More resources :
Teachbytes article on icebreakers
Worksheet Library Icebreakers