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I’ll be the first to admit I hate icebreakers when I’m half asleep during an early morning summer staff development session. But I’ll also admit they usually wake me up and get me to interact with other teachers even though I’m not quite feeling up to snuff. So when I started using icebreakers and team builders in my class, I was relatively surprised to find that they are highly successful teaching strategies. By taking a few minutes to set the stage, students were better able to focus on the content they needed to learn.
In fact, icebreakers and team builders are critical if you’re planning on using hands-on, active social studies lessons this year! (Obviously ignore the rest of this post if you only lecture.) You can’t expect students to work together if you don’t create a classroom environment that fosters collaboration. That’s why I was so excited to see Lynne’s professional development video training here: Top 10 Icebreakers and Team Builders.
In this quick professional development training, you’ll find quirky original icebreakers like “Snowball Fight” (1:15 into the video) and tried-and-true classics like “Two Truths and a Lie” (2:35). You can find the student handout for the “Autographs” icebreaker (4:27) in Brian’s awesome lesson plan called Getting Started and Getting to Know Each Other. Share it with all the new (and not-so-new) teachers you know!
And before you do your first group project of the year, you absolutely must try my favorite team builder called “Lost on the Moon” (13:10). This team builder proves to groups that they DO need each other and that they are “smarter” as a group than as individuals. I used it for years in all my classes and only once did I have an individual student outperform the group.
Definitely check out this video and other great trainings in the new Professional Development section of TCI’sTeacherGenius! TeacherGenius contains tons of great teaching tips, videos, enrichment resources, and links to useful websites.