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Easy Collaboration-Building Icebreaker Ideas for the First Day of School

Starting off the school year on the right foot is important for students, but also for teachers. If you begin by teaching collaboration-building skills as soon as students enter the classroom on the first day, you will help to set the foundation for an effective, collaborative classroom climate!

Start off the school year with these easy back to school or first day of school icebreaker ideas for building an effective collaborative classroom climate at the middle or high school level. And they are fun for students, too!  The first one is my favorite!

Try some of these easy icebreakers!

A Meet & Greet
This is my absolute favorite activity for back to school! Not only does a Meet & Greet help your students find each other and begin to break down the walls of isolation, but they can also help you introduce the content or topics you will be covering in your course. And the set up is simple!
  1. Create or purchase bio cards. Either print 2 copies so students can find the matching cards, or separate the name from the bio text. 
  2. Give each student one card or name as they enter the classroom.
  3. Direct students to find their match.
  4. Allow students time to get to know one another and learn a little about their person.
  5. Have each pair introduce their person and themselves!
A Find Someone Who
Much life a Meet & Greet, a Find Someone Who activity lets students find each other through questioning or through the analysis of clues.  Create your own, or use a simple template that gives students plenty of options for finding themselves and others.
  1. Distribute the Find Someone Sheet to students as they enter the classroom.
  2. Allow students time to mix and mingle around the classroom.
  3. Offer a prize or simple reward for the first one to complete the entire worksheet.
A Content-Based Find Someone Who
Take the premise of the basic game described above, but add in content about people from history or give clues on topics of study from the course. As students solve the clues, they can meet up with each other to share their information with the goal of completing the entire task.

Assign an Identity Bag
While this one takes an extra day, you can learn all about your students and allow them to learn all about you through the sharing of Identity Bags.  Bring your own ready to go on the first day of school and then dedicate the second day of school to student bags. 
  1. Find a bag that symbolizes you in some way.
  2. Fill it with small representations of your life or your interests.
  3. Present the bag and the items, explaining the significance of each.
Think-Pair-Share
Since this activity is one you are likely to use in your class throughout the year, start on day 1 by teaching them the Think-Pair-Share strategy. Read this post for variations on this classic strategy!
  1. Have students think of 3 things that most describe who they are or what they like. 
  2. Pair students (usually with neighbors) to have them discuss the 3 things with each other.
  3. Allow pairs to share out as a team, introducing each other.
Do you have another idea that works well in your classes? Please share it in the comments!

Start off the school year with these easy back to school or first day of school icebreaker ideas for building an effective collaborative classroom climate at the middle or high school level. And they are fun for students, too!  The first one is my favorite!














Hope you all have a great first day back to school! And that you have an awesome school year!

Happy Teaching!