icebreakers

Icebreaker Activities: Getting Acquainted

Students walk in to the first day of class not knowing quite what to expect from you or their classmates. They may know just a few people… or, they may scan the room and see no familiar faces. They know basic information about what you’ll cover in the course, but they probably don’t yet know you, your teaching style, or the finer points of your course and its organization. Many of them may feel anxious about or intimidated by all these “unknowns.” To help students warm up to one another, and to you, it can help to open up Read More…


Your Favorite “Icebreaker” Activities

We enjoy receiving comments, ideas, and teaching tips. We also enjoy passing those ideas back along to you! Below, we share a few of the “icebreaker” activities contributed by readers of the Cengage Learning Blog. Try some of them in your classroom! Have teaching ideas you’d like to share? Leave us a comment below. In my doctoral program, we were given a few bonus points for sharing a little background on ourselves and they would be read and commented upon by other students. It was interesting to find multiple connections of areas of interest to family to past experiences. —David Horst

After Read More…


Connecting Students With One Another

This week on the blog, we’ve shared some “icebreaker” activities that can get students engaged with each other and with your class. We hope you’re enjoying these activities and that they’re sparking some ideas that you can bring into your course. In today’s activity, selected from the Instructor’s Resource Manual for Student Success in College: Doing What Works!: A Research-Focused Approachauthor Christine Harrington presents an idea that can be used later in the term, once students are a bit more familiar with one another. To promote further connections among class members and with you as their professor, Read More…


Increasing the Level of Student Preparedness in Your Inclusive Classroom

In any given course, you’ll find a mix of students, with a corresponding mix of personalities and levels of preparedness. Some of these students have a high level of self motivation; others need extra support to get through the course. Some registered for the class with a great deal of enthusiasm; others may be there simply to fulfill a requirement. Furthermore, these students come from diverse backgrounds, and they bring with them a wide variety of experiences inside and outside of the classroom. Though it’s somewhat of a challenging prospect, you likely want to find a way to Read More…


Building Community in Your Online Course

In addition to the educational opportunities that broaden students’ intellectual horizons, college life provides a number of opportunities designed to bring students together and broaden their social horizons. Take a look at a bulletin board on a traditional college campus, and you’ll find numerous flyers promoting concerts, guest lectures, movies, club activities, and other enjoyable events that give them the chance to meet other like-minded individuals. Likewise, the periods of time before and after classes offer students the chance to set up a less formal get-together, such as a study group for the big exam or an afternoon Read More…


Dusting Off the Cobwebs Activity

To maximize learning, brief yet powerful active learning strategies can be used. Using these brief activities can result in higher levels of student engagement with the material and one another, higher motivational levels, and can lead to an increased mastery of the material being learned. Prince (2004) recommends adding a brief interactive exercise into your lecture approximately every fifteen minutes, but why not start class with an activity? At the start of every class, I ask students to participate in a “Dusting Off the Cobwebs” exercise. Here’s how it works: Step 1: Students need to partner up with another student. Read More…


Your Best Practices for Getting Students Engaged & Conversing

At the Cengage Learning Blog, we enjoy sharing our teaching tips, strategies, and ideas with you. But it also inspires us when you share your ideas! This week, we’re featuring comments and contributions submitted by our readers. Today’s teaching tips focus on ways you can get students engaged, motivated, and conversing in your class. Have teaching ideas you’d like to share? Comment below, or send your thoughts to thinktank@cengage.com. Utilize Twitter and Skype to engage students in learning. Place a question on Twitter daily and have the student answer the question citing the source. –Marian Yavorka Jobe, UPMC Mercy (Pittsburgh, PA)   Before discussing Read More…


Ways to Break the Ice This Summer

Even though they’re in your summer course to learn your course material, students may still be hoping for an interactive (and, dare we say, fun) class environment. To inspire a warm, welcoming, and dynamic setting, it can help to incorporate an icebreaker at the beginning of the term. However, given the accelerated pace of summer sessions, you may not have the same amount of time to devote to these “getting to know you” activities as you would during a standard term.In such a case, it pays to choose activities that allow students to become familiar with one another without requiring an Read More…


Social Networking: Think Before Posting—or Deleting

Social media and social networking can present great opportunities for both you and your students to engage and connect with each other and with the world around you. However, online interactions like these can also leave posters open to criticism. It’s important to consider how you’ll react to these situations. Do you delete the comment or post to avoid offending anyone? Do you take the opportunity, if appropriate, to start a meaningful dialogue around the subject? The activity below, from the instructor’s manual that accompanies Louis E. Boone and David L. Kurtz’s Contemporary Marketing, 16th Editioncan be used Read More…


Welcome Back Warm-Ups

With the start of a new year, and the start of a new term, come a new group of students in your classroom. In addition to standard first-day-of-class activities, such as introducing your course topic, stating your attendance and grading policies, and reviewing course materials, you may wish to devote time to introductions. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, Fourteenth Edition, Wilbert J. McKeachie and Marilla Svinicki offer some simple suggestions for getting to know one another. Given the time it can take to make it around the room, these ideas are perhaps best suited for use in a smaller class, Read More…