I like to have students speak Spanish early in my classes, as a way to reinforce to both new students and students that have had me before that speaking is an integral part of class. While not all of the activities listed here are speaking activities, I find them all useful for getting to know the students, and as an added bonus, I can get a sense of students' abilities without putting them in a high pressure situation. I also use my Six Speaking Games that Only Require a Ball as a way to set the tone and get students accustomed to using Spanish first thing in the classroom.
Before I continue to the ice breakers, I think that it is important to note that I always participate with my students. They can get to know me better, and it sets the stage for a positive relationship with them.
Ice Breakers for Intermediate/Advanced Students:
-2 Truths and a Lie: Students say three things about themselves, two of them true, one of them false, and the class guesses which is the false item
- I have never: Students sit in a circle. Everyone holds up five or ten fingers. Everyone in the circle says: I have never ______________. If a student has done said item, he or she must put down one of his fingers. If you want, you can give the students pieces of paper to toss into the center, instead of using fingers, etc. The first person to loose all of his items or put down all of his fingers is the winner!
- Hollywood: Set a timer for two-five minutes. One student stands in the middle of the circle of students, and answers random questions from classmates. You might have to give the students some examples. Such as What would your super power be? Or, Who is your role model? Any (appropriate) question is fair game. When the two-three minutes are up, a new person is chosen for the circle. I usually start this activity with volunteers, allowing the students who are more introverted to get used to the idea of being in the spotlight prior to tossing them into the center.
- Describe a classmate. Pair students at random, and ask them to learn eight new things about their classmate. Then, without revealing who their partner was, students say what they have learned and the class guesses who they are describing.
- Silly sentences using names: Students write their own name poem using the letters of their name. You could require a sentence per letter, or require that the entire name reads as one sentence. I usually have my advanced students do the second, and I have them do both first and last names. We often hang these up in the classroom.
-Twitter Wall: My school does not allow us to use social media with students, so I use a paper version in my classroom. I place several large pieces of paper around the room with things like #First day of classes, # first impressions of teachers, #today I feel, etc. and have students go around the room and write under each of the topics. Then we read the papers aloud as a class.
In my next post, I will focus on Ice-Breakers for Beginner and Early Intermediate Students. What are your favorite first day activities that encourage students to use the language and help you get to know them?