An athlete would never start an exercise without warming up first and the same goes for students’ brains! For this reason, icebreakers remain a popular activity to introduce new topics, recap on previous lessons and increase energy levels. It can also be useful in new classes at the start of term when both teachers and students are still getting to know each other.
We’ve put together 5 icebreakers that are sure to get your lessons off to a flying start!
1. Post-it starter
This activity is great for recapping on the last lesson and addressing any unanswered questions that the students may have while also generating discussion and increasing levels of interaction. When your students are walking into class, hand them a post-it note and get them to write down a question about the last lesson’s topic. You can also give them a choice of different colored post-it notes so that they can rank their question by difficulty. Everyone can then stick their post-it note on the board before picking someone else’s question to answer. Once this has been done, you can host a general discussion about some of the questions that have been raised.
2. Think, Pair, Share
This is a handy exercise to use if you want to get your students to share ideas early on. Start by writing a topic on the board – this could be a general thought for discussion, overall aim or the lesson subject. You can then get the students to think about this by themselves for one minute. After the time is up, divide them into pairs and get them to discuss their ideas between themselves for two minutes. Finally, take three minutes to choose students at random to share their partner’s thoughts. This will test both their listening and interpretation skills!
3. Quickfire Quiz
A quick quiz is always sure to get things going in the classroom! Even better when it’s interactive and allows all of the students to participate and answer. With Quickfire, you can enter a series of questions and then get your students to log in on their devices and provide immediate responses! Give them the option to answer in text format or draw diagrams using a canvas. This is perfect for introducing new topics, reviewing previous lessons and assessing student knowledge. You can also feedback on their answers and access all of the data and interactions afterwards! Sound too good to be true? You can find out more by visiting the Spiral homepage.
4. Odd one out
This simple but effective icebreaker requires quick-thinking skills and is also highly effective for introducing a new topic. The best way to do this is to show your students four images with three relating to each other and one as the odd one out. They will then need to guess which is the odd one out and explain why. The students can either work individually or in a group and a few examples should be provided to see how quickly they can work it out.
5. Just a minute
This icebreaker is great for recapping on topics and assessing how much your students have learnt. As your students are coming into class, write a topic on the board that you covered in the last lesson. Then get your students to sit in a circle and starting one at a time, get them to try and speak for one minute about the topic without repeating themselves, hesitating or going off-topic. If they do hesitate, repeat or go off-topic then the task hands over to the next student who has to do the same thing. This will keep going until all the students have had a turn – definitely a fun way to get them working under pressure!