Ice Breakers & Community Builders

  • Kahoot!: See pre-made Kahoots and/or have kids create them for the class—about themselves or content)
  • Quizizz: Make your own or use pre-made Quizizz(s?). This allows you to put kids in teams.
  • BINGO: Play the classic game. Unique gameboards are available at My Free Bingo Cards.
  • KINGO: Make your own version of a BINGO card with challenges—academic or social/emotional/physical. Edit a card in My Free Bingo Cards.
  • Escape Room!: Play a virtual escape room with your class—have them type possible solutions into the chat and play as a whole class or divide into competing teams. Google “Virtual Escape Rooms.” Warning…many cost money, but some are free such as this Harry Potter-themed challenge and this Jumanji-themed challenge.
  • Charades: Simply mute the sound of the student who has to act out the charade while others type their guesses into chat. This could also be content-based (I used to have my students act out literary terms, for example).
  • Box of Lies: This is from Jimmy Fallon—why not show a sample—this link has a special connection to Renaissance! Challenge one student to find an item from their house that they hide in a box or pillowcase. The selected student can look and feel the item, then describe it in as much detail as possible while others listen in. At the end, all students have to vote…is it a lie or truth—thumbs up or down.
  • Name Game: We’ve all played that name game where you have to say your name and something you like that starts with the same letter (e.g., “I’m Adrienne and I like armadillos.”). In this version, students have to find an object, take a photo, find a computer image, etc, that they display when they say their name.
  • Scattergories: In the classic version of this game, a letter is selected at random (e.g., S). Then, 2-3 categories are revealed (e.g., things found in a refrigerator, colors, professional sports teams, items of clothing, animals, cartoon characters, modes of transportation, etc.), and students must write down ONE entry per category that begins with that letter (e.g., sour cream, silver, Seattle Seahawks, stilettos, sloths, Sylvester the Cat, scooter). They get one point per answer if no one else has that answer; this encourages them to think of unique answers. For a twist on the game, they need to retrieve the physical items to show on screen.
  • Scavenger Hunts: Generate a list of thing(s) students must find and bring back to the virtual classroom. This could just be for fun and community building (e.g., a silly hat) or it can be content-based (e.g., find an object which represents paradox, or find an object which demonstrates reflexion along the X axis). Another Scavenger Hunt challenge: Over the course of a week, have students document thing(s) they must find in their daily experiences to share with class through writing, video, or photos. For example, find these things on a nature or neighborhood walk; document examples of the Golden Mean; document examples of energy/force/mass; document cooking/knife skills; find art/beauty in an unexpected place…
  • BOGGLE/Word Unscramble: Each student writes any chosen letter on a piece of paper and holds it up to be seen by others on the virtual classroom. Others have to create words from the letters shown. The student with the most words, wins. Consider eliminating words that others have created and giving more points for longer words.
  • Name that Tune: Consider having kids work in teams to collaborate on what the tune might be. Allow students to choose the tune…as long as it’s school appropriate!
  • Pictionary: Using a virtual whiteboard, have a student draw a prompt while others guess by chat. Consider having students work in teams to draw at the same time on a single drawing and/or compete in teams.
  • Jeopardy: Create your own and/or use one of the pre-made boards at Jeopardylabs.com.
  • Freeze Dance: Have students get up and move/dance while the music is playing, then FREEZE when the music stops. If they’re still moving, they’re out. Consider allowing students to DJ.
  •  Simon Says: Similar to Freeze Dance. This is simply a movement break. Consider allowing a student to play Simon.
  • Lunch Club: Set aside a time to have virtual lunch with a small group of students. This is a cool time to share recipes and/or the ONLY way to take non-annoying Instagram pics of your meals to share with others.
  • Book/Movie Club: As a voluntary activity, select a high-interest book/movie for students/parents/teachers to read and meet about outside the regular school day. Consider picking a book/movie that the whole family could enjoy so that families feel welcomed into social/emotional/cultural experiences of school.
  • Virtual Pet Day: And if they don’t have a pet…use a stuffed animal, sibling, object.
  • The Cup Song: Challenge your class to learn The Cup Song. Set a date to have students submit their solo video of the cup song and find someone talented enough to put it together into a compilation.
  • Would I Lie to You?: In a riff on a hilarious British show, collect statements from students of hilarious/unexpected things from their lives (e.g., “When I was younger, my nickname was squeaky.” Or “I once spent 10 hours ‘living’ in a Walmart.” Or “My family ate my beloved pet.”) You choose a storyteller for the day, and send him/her a phrase through private chat where they read it aloud for the first time in front of everyone; the phrase you send could be one the storyteller actually said, or it could be one you made up completely. The storyteller’s job is to be convincing that the phrase it real; everyone else’s job is to ask questions and determine if the storyteller is telling the truth or a lie. Have the class vote using thumbs up or down. This is a great exercise for theater students, or in English to practice using details to make a story convincing.

Thank you to Mr. Kyle Cohen (he’s awesome!!) and Gerry Brooks (an administrator always in his car, but a hoot!).

Links to Other Ice Breakers & Community Builders:

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