Icebreakers for Middle and High School Students
If you ask around, most teenagers believe the first few weeks of school are a total waste of time. “We just play the same stupid games we used to play in primary school!” “It’s simply seven periods of my instructors reading me the syllabus!” or “It’s only seven lessons of my professors reading me the syllabus!”
So, what can we do to make those first few days count? Some real middle school activities can also be used in high school. They enable you to foster a sense of community in your classroom while also allowing you to get to know your pupils in exciting and meaningful ways. In addition, there are four free 15-minute icebreakers to try right now.
- Honesty fosters a sense of community.
Students in secondary school are like sharks. They can’t smell food from thousands of feet afar but can detect stale lesson ideas with astonishing speed and precision. Start the season by being genuine rather than doing anything you’ve done previously.
Inform them that the first several days will be spent getting to know one another. That this time is unquestionably different. As you recall, they didn’t get to say farewell to their professors last year.
Tell them you need to understand them as part of your junior high icebreakers, and they need to get to comprehend you so you can all have a good year. Here are a few topics on which you can be open with them:
- What behaviors/attitudes irritate you the most.
- What do you anticipate from them each day when they walk into your classroom.
- Your goals and anxieties for the upcoming school year.
- What are your ambitions for the school year?
- What are you anticipating the most this year?
- Participate in a few get-to-know-you challenges
While you might not want to take a chance on a trust-fall activity just yet, bodily and cognitive obstacles can be a terrific way to know about your kids’ personalities. Who will be the class’s leader, and who will require prodding to speak up? Take notice of who respects their teammates and gets upset along the road.
You will gain access to all this information when you observe your pupils working through a problem. Do you need some icebreakers for middle school?
- Put some tarps on the ground for the Tarp Flip Challenge. Organize student groups to get on them. What is the challenge? They must turn the tarp over without walking off of it. (To keep the groups honest, you’ll need some people to keep an eye on them.)
- Construct a Boat: Split your students into groups or let them choose their own to see who is buddies with whom. Give each group a tiny roll of duct tape and a bag of drinking straws. Tell the children they have 25 minutes to build a watercraft with only straws and tape. Fill a tub or a classroom sink with water and get able to test the boats and announce the winners.
- Balloon Launch: Divide pupils into groups of four to six students and distribute a few balloons of the same color to each group. Each squad should be assigned a distinct color. Allow children to blow up the balloons to their desired size and hold them without tying them shut. Allow pupils to release the balloons from the front of the room. The team with the farthest-flying balloon wins.
- Two Truths and a Falsehood: Ask each student to write out two truths and one lie concerning themselves. They can say them out loud or write them on the board, and the other kids will vote on which is the truth!
- Scavenger Hunt: Divide the students into groups and give each group a catalog of products to locate throughout the classroom. They’ll have to collaborate to discover who can locate and display their stuff quickly.
- Would You Rather: To choose their “would you rather,” have the pupils show a thumbs up or thumbs down. If you’re looking for inspiration, have a look at this list.
- Try student-to-student interviews
Putting one pupil in control of questioning another can be a very effective strategy. Create a list of unusual yet informative topics as a class, and then invite each child to choose three or four that they’d feel at ease discussing with someone else.
Allow students to conduct interviews with one another before writing a brief piece about the classmate they questioned. Display the papers in the classroom to give pupils a sense of ownership. The following are some examples of informative (but not threatening) questions:
- What is one of the world’s most pressing issues today? What should we do about it, in your opinion?
- Who do you look up to the most and why?
- Who would you like to be if you could be anyone else in the world, and why?
- What brings you the most joy?
- What is the most difficult aspect of being a teenager?
- Give your pupils a chance to speak, then sit and listen carefully.
This is a tricky one for teachers. We want our classes to run smoothly and according to our plans, so entrusting responsibility to a bunch of middle or high schoolers can feel like a recipe for disaster.
Giving our students some (controlled!) authority over how their classroom operates, on the other hand, often boosts their sense of control and influence in the room. They’re more invested in seeing that their decisions are followed since they made them. Here are a few ideas for things you could delegate to the students:
- Seating agreements: With the agreement that, if necessary, you may change seats.
- Having this chat with them allows you to express your worries about the work that is done while also respecting their wish to enjoy music at suitable times.
- Procedures for the first several minutes of class: Inquire about how they believe pupils should enter the class and begin working.
- Procedures for using the restroom, the drinking fountain, and other facilities: Even though they’ll almost certainly come up with something you’d choose yourself, it’s astonishing how much more seriously they’ll take it if it’s their idea.
- What must be done with cell phones? You can start by declaring that having them on tables at all times is a no-no, but you’d be amazed how tough they can be on each other when they’re alone.
High school students desire the added responsibilities and benefits of being older and more experienced pupils. We establish a class sense of respect and caring when we tell them that we notice that during those crucial first several days of class. Taking the time to undertake engaging and meaningful activities will help us have a fantastic school year!