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Icebreakers can be a hit or miss in the secondary classroom. And as a secondary teacher, it’s important to have effective strategies to make them a success.
We’ve all been there, scouring Google for ideas, only to have it fall flat in the first five minutes of class. But fear not, we’re here to help you plan a great first day of school. One that builds a strong classroom community and sets you up for success throughout the school year–no matter the number of preps you have.
Start off the Class Period with a Warm Welcome
One of the best ways to start the first day of school is with a warm welcome at the door. Greeting your students sets a positive precedent for the rest of the year. And it’s a great way to make them feel welcome in your class.
From the admin perspective, it also helps prevent discipline issues in the hallway. Your presence is enough to deter negative behavior inside and outside your classroom.
Lead with a Fun Icebreaker
Icebreakers should be fun and engaging. But they can often feel forced and uncomfortable, especially for high school students.
That’s why it’s important to choose icebreakers that allow students to share what they want about themselves in a way that’s comfortable and non-threatening.
“Would You Rather” Icebreaker in the Secondary Classroom
One example is the “Would You Rather” game. This game involves coming up with two different answers to every question. Have students stand up and move from one side of the room to the other, depending on their preference.
This game can be adapted to fit any content area, from FCS classes to English classes. For instance, in a foods class, you might ask students if they prefer cake or ice cream.
This game can also be modified to include pop culture references, such as asking about TikTok versus Instagram. If you want pre-made questions, check out this resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
The benefit of this game is that it allows students to feel comfortable and engaged. (While also giving you insight into their personalities and preferences.) You can use this information to make strategic decisions about class projects and group work.
PRO TIP: include yourself in answering all the questions. If you’re having students move from one side of the room to the other–move with them. You can form instant connections and become more relatable this way.
“Draw a Line” Icebreaker for the Secondary Classroom
Another fun icebreaker is having students talk about their summer and draw a line to explain how it went. This can be a bit trickier, as some students may not want to share personal information. One modification would be to ask how their day is going instead.
This is a great way to get to know your students and start building a positive classroom community.
In conclusion, icebreakers can be a great way to start the school year. They need to be engaging, non-threatening, and adaptable to fit your content area. By starting with a warm welcome and leading with a fun icebreaker, you can set a positive tone for the rest of the year. And get to know your students in a way that helps you plan for success. So, be creative, be adaptable, and most importantly, have fun!