Classroom Icebreakers for Every Grade Level
Your students receive many educational benefits from classroom icebreakers. They may not realize it at the time, but those get-to-know-you activities bear much weight in terms of social emotional learning.
Since we’re your ally in education, we’ve compiled a list of classroom icebreakers for every grade level.
Grades: K-5 Classroom Icebreakers
Ah, the elementary age group. From kindergarten to fifth grade, children start becoming their own unique person. In other words, their personalities, aspirations, and apprehensions develop during this admittedly fragile stage. Plus, these years constitute a crucial period for social development.
As their teacher, part of these responsibilities fall to you. What happens in your classroom can help them flourish into adults who enjoy fruitful, balanced relationships. (No pressure.)
Not to worry, these icebreaker activities for elementary students will set them on the most ideal social learning path.
Name Word Search
Here you go: This worksheet download provides a fun way to exercise your kids’ minds while they learn their classmates’ names.
To let you in on a little secret, the teacher might also use the word search generator linked above. After all, it’s never easy to memorize another set of names on the roster.
Handwriting-Class Roster Edition
The necessity of cursive as a cornerstone of curriculum has remained up for debate. But good handwriting shall remain a permanent foundation. Either way, the good news is that you can use a handwriting exercise as a classroom icebreaker.
Download this handwriting worksheet, plug in the names on your class roster, and you’re good to go.
Student Interviews-Elementary Edition
Student interviews allow kids to develop a deeper rapport with one another. Divide your students in pairs, and give them a list of questions to ask one another. At the end of the activity, each student will reveal what they discovered.
Questions can be tailored for individual age groups. A few examples include:
- What is your favorite color?
- Do you have any pets?
- What is your favorite TV show?
Grades: 6-8 Classroom Icebreakers
We’ve arrived at the middle grades. These students are growing up. They’re undergoing an awkward stage in their social and intellectual development. At this point, activities, popular musical groups and television, and other trends factor into the equation.
In short, these kids don’t want to be “uncool.” Lucky for them, their teacher is trendy and hip. But most importantly, their teacher wants to help them sharpen their social skills. We’ve got you covered with these classroom icebreaker ideas.
Guess that Picture
Get some scraps of paper ready. While you’re at it, grab a bowl. For this activity, simply fill that bowl with categories such as cartoon characters, chain restaurants, sports, household objects, or whatever springs to mind.
After dividing the class into teams, one person draws the item they pulled from the bowl, while the group attempts to guess what it is. It’s pretty much a makeshift Pictionary.
It works like this. Students write three things about themselves, then crumple the paper up into a “snowball.” At that point, you set up a timer and allow them to have a one-minute snowball fight. Yes, it’ll make a mess, but it’s worth it.
When the timer goes off, everyone grabs the closest snowball and has to try to find the person the three facts describe. Afterward, students can introduce their person to the class using the information they learned.
Student Interviews-Middle Grades Edition
Really, this one works for all grades. Teachers can pair students up and give them a list of questions to ask. At the end, each student will tell what they discovered.
Once again, questions can be tailored for individual age groups. Here is a handful of examples that may work for the middle grades:
- What is your favorite subject in school?
- What is your second favorite animal?
- What kind of music do you like?
Grades: 9-12 Classroom Icebreakers
High school students. They stand at the gate that opens to adulthood. At this point, they’re mostly worried about being awkward and feeling as if they belong. That said, icebreakers might not be their thing. But, as their teacher, you have the students’ best intentions at heart.
Two Truths and a Lie
This activity involves revealing three details about a person, two of which are true and one that is false. Students say the three things out loud and then guess which one is untrue. It’s a classic icebreaker, and it still works.
Your ____________ Name
This is a fun game that allows students to brand their alter egos — e.g. their rock star name, their detective name, their superhero name, and more. Teachers can change parameters as they wish.
Let’s say one’s superhero name comes from a combination of their favorite color and a common office supply. Who wouldn’t read a comic about a caped crusader named the Blue Stapler?
A premade version of this icebreaker is available to download here.
Student Interviews-High School Edition
One more time. Student interviews really do work for any age group. The trick is finding the appropriate set of questions to give each pair of students. Here are a handful of more mature interview queries that will help high schoolers break the ice and enjoy class:
- If they made a movie of your life, what actor would play you?
- What is a surprising fact about yourself?
- Who is your hero?
If you’re looking to motivate your students, improve your classroom morale, and upgrade the fun factor in school, consider these PD courses.
- Game-Based Strategies for Language Instruction: Gamification keeps your students engaged. Bottom line, this technique turns challenging lessons into attainable disciplines.
- Motivating Unmotivated Students (Research and Practice): Icebreakers might reveal the unmotivated students in the beginning, but it’s up to you to ensure these kids also receive the benefit of an education.
- Highly Effective Questioning Strategies for Teachers: This PD course enables you to sharpen one of the most powerful tools you have in your teaching arsenal. Asking questions, that is.
Advancement Courses, a Wiley brand offers K-12 educators more than 200 online, self-paced professional development courses covering both foundational topics and emerging trends.