Ice Breaker (Student Names)
Shared by Jacque Wilson-Jordan
This activity takes a full 50-minute period, but to me it’s worth it. The classroom geography is decentralized, a welcome change from me standing up and reading the syllabus on day one. The students greet each other and learn about each other. I learn about them; they learn about me. It’s fun to give them a unique quality that may be surprising to them, e.g. that I like to lift weights. The teacher is human! If there’s any awkwardness or weird/unsettling vibe or disruptiveness in the class, this tends to squelch it.
Going through this series of steps and reviewing my sheet when I take attendance on subsquent days helps me learn their names very quickly.
Ice Breaker (Poetry)
Shared by Gael Grossman
This ice breaker activity uses poetry to get students to work together early in the semester and offers an opportunity to discuss limerick and haiku.
Writing Ice Breaker
Shared by Chuck Guilford
With inspiration from/credit to Ken Macrorie, Peter Elbow, and many others
This is an opening day activity that works both as an ice breaker and an introduction to some practices that will be used throughout the term.
Student Information Sheet
Shared by Stephanie Kratz
With credit to On Course Workshops
This is an information sheet aimed at building rapport and showing instructor interest in students.
Shared by Karen Henderson
This is an icebreaker that consistently works well with my demographic, which is very nontraditional.
Smartest Student and Instructor
Shared by Isabel Quintana Wulf
With inspiration from/credit to Transforming Teaching Through Learning Seminar, Lansing Community College, MI
This activity is a course-starter activity designed to come up with a Student/ Instructor contract setting basic expectations for classroom behavior, preparedness, and interactions for the semester ahead. First, show the instructions to the activity on the board. Ask students to come up with two or three qualities that make good students and two or three qualities that make good instructors. After they have shared and compared with their peers, ask students to share their lists with the class: write down their answers in two columns on the board (Student/ Instructor). Once all the student suggestions are on the board (and you have added some suggestions of your own, like ‘accountable’), discuss the overlaps in the columns. Generally, what makes a good Student also makes a good Instructor (organized, prepared, ready to learn, respectful…). After discussing the qualities on the board, copy the list and post it in the course management site or make it available to your students somehow. Keep the list open so more qualities can be added during the semester as necessary. Consider this list as something to aspire to as the semester develops. Remind students about it periodically so it becomes a strong reference point for classroom management.
Goals and Questions
Shared by Susan Naomi Bernstein
With inspiration from/credit to an activity presented at a universal design pedagogy workshop at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont
After perusing the course syllabus and preliminary discussion of the course goals and assignments, draw on this activity to engage communication and understanding between students and professor.