Ice breaker ideas

  • M&M Ice Breaker

Come to the first day of class prepared with enough M&Ms for each student to get a small handful. Each color of M&M represents something different to share. Each student will give their name, course of study, and tell something about themselves depending on the color of M&Ms they received. Here is a sample PowerPoint slide you can project so students know what to share. Other ideas of things to share include a recent accomplishment or what they hope to get out of the course.

  • Syllabus Icebreaker

 Assign students to groups of 3-5 and have them introduce themselves. Following introductions, have each group generate a list of 5-10 questions they have about the class. The instructor then hands out the syllabus and the groups go over it together to answer their questions. Upon completion of the small group activity, the class then reconvenes and the groups ask any questions that were not addressed in the syllabus.

  • Syllabus Scavenger Hunt

Prepare a list of questions requiring students to search the syllabus to find the answer. Question examples: How is the final grade calculated? When is the final paper due? Are late papers accepted? 

  • Familiar & Unique

Assign students to groups of 3-5. Each group comes up with 4 things they have in common, and each individual should be prepared to share something that is unique to them. The group shares their familiar and unique features with the class. (From: Victoria Meyers at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan)

  • Classroom Behavior Charades

Working in teams, have students introduce themselves and share a behavior (done by a professor or student) that they find irritating that happens in the classroom. Each team decides on which behavior to act out to the rest of the class (remember - no talking). The rest of the class has to guess what behavior the team is acting out by a certain time. This can lead to a discussion of agreed upon classroom behavior. Save a list of  classroom behavior rules.

  • Three Truths and a Lie

Give each individual a 3x5 index card. Have them write three truths and one lie about themselves. Explain the goal is to trick the class to guess which statement is false. Have each person share their statements, and the class can guess which is the lie. A variation on this game is to have the students star the lie and write their name on the index card. Collect the index cards and quickly create a kahoot game. Students can use their mobile devices to play the kahoot game.

  • Kahoot Game - Overview of the 1st day

Prepare a Kahoot game before class with questions you plan to cover before you play the game. Consider questions that could be answered from the syllabus. At the beginning of class, go over the syllabus and have students introduce themselves and share something special about themselves. Before you play the game, add questions about things students shared (i.e. this classmate shared they have 3 cats and a bird). A prize for the winner never hurts!