Education, Games, Motivation, Teaching Tools

Make Your Ice-Breakers into Earth Shakers

This will be my 25th year of teaching.  Add this to the years I attended school as a student and you will get 42 “first days.”

42 days of team-building activities and ice-breakers.

During those 42 years, I estimate that I’ve played “Getting-to-Know-You” Bingo about 25 times.  24 of those times were not initiated by me.

If you whip out Getting to Know You Bingo (or the equally enjoyable Getting to Know You Scavenger Hunt) as an activity at a staff development, I will groan.


Almost as loudly as I would at this joke:


If it bores me, chances are my students won’t be too excited about it, either. So I look to my colleagues each year for new ideas.

Maybe you are hunting for new ideas, too.   Here are some that I’ve gathered in the last couple of weeks that might help you to avoid yawns on the first day of school (other than the genuine ones that result from a summer of staying up late and getting up at the reasonable hour of 11 AM).

  • Being Student Centered Day One – Click on the link in Alice Keeler’s post to find a collaborative spreadsheet of 1st day ideas from teachers around the world.  While you’re there, add yours to the list – as long as it isn’t Bingo 😉
  • Get ready for Dot Day – This year’s Dot Day is September 15-ish. Use some of the ideas linked in Shannon Miller’s post to prepare for this great event and to allow your students to display their own unique qualities.
  • Epic Back to School Selfie Template – Shell Terrell provides this great idea that will definitely motivate students to express themselves.  You will need a free SlideShare account to download the presentation – or you can “remix” it and build one of your own!  You can also try one of the suggestions on Shell’s Kid Icebreakers page (lots of suggestions for primary grades),  or from her post on Teaching the Emoji Generation.
  • Social Media Profile –  Speaking of the Emoji Generation, , you might want to try this free download from Michelle Griffo on TPT if you teach 4th or 5th grade. You can see the cute bulletin board of her class’s responses here.

I hope this list gives you some Bingo alternatives that get your students’ year off to an exciting start!