Savvy Strategy: Who am I? Who are We?

Icebreakers.  Kids hate ’em.  You hate planning and facilitating ’em.  But, you continue to go back to the drawing board every year and pretend to half-smile your way through yet another year of class introductions, builders, and breakers.

I have one fool-proof exercise that seems to be appropriate for the wide spectrum of middle school monkeys of all stages of development and fails to tire itself.  I begin by drawing puzzle pieces onto a piece of posterboard.  I make sure to draw one piece for every student, one “title” piece, and one piece for myself.  I write “back” on the back of every piece so that students have a sense of direction and draw on the correct side.

Instructions are simple.  Decorate your piece with images, words, designs that represent who you are.  Things to consider:  your family, interests, hobbies, friends, strengths, etc.

IMG_20130906_182220_201Next, I have students share with a partner and then introduce to the class (if the number is manageable).  Then, students assemble and glue the pieces to a second piece of poster board.  I hang the puzzles on my wall and have quite a display from prior year’s classes.

Overall, idea achieves the purpose of class introductions without the cheesiness, forced nature that so many introduction activities have a tendency to do.  It also is a nice addition to the classroom on Back to School Night.

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