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, you can also try a modified version of “speed dating” called “class connections”. Although you have probably already done an “icebreaker” activity at the start of the semester, students often feel more comfortable sharing information at this point of the semester so it can be a richer experience. For this activity, the class needs to form an inner and outer circle, with students facing one another (you should join in the circle too!). Each person has 30 seconds to share information about himself/herself and then after the minute is over, the students in the outer circle rotate. The process is then repeated. Here are some conversation topics for this activity:

  • My favorite part of college is…
  • My favorite person is…
  • The mistake I learned the most from was…
  • My favorite hobby is…
  • My favorite quote is…
  • I admire…
  • The study strategy that works best for me is…
  • If I won a million dollars, I would…
  • My favorite vacation spot is…
  • My favorite season is…
  • In 10 years from now, I will be… (Harrington, pp 41-42)

If you sense that your particular group of students is ready for this level of interaction, you might also use this activity at the beginning of class. Or, consider how it could be used at a development retreat, a team-building event, or any other meeting of people who could benefit from increased time spent getting to know one another.

Reference: Harrington, Christine. 2013. Instructor’s Resource Manual for Student Success in College: Doing What Works! A Research-Focused Approach. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

What are your favorite icebreaker activities? Submit your ideas to [email protected]. We may share them in a future blog post!