Breaking the Ice – Warm up Student Engagement from the Start

You’ve developed your syllabus, printed your class roster, and set up Blackboard for your course this semester.  You feel ready to roll.  But have you thought about the benefits of an icebreaker activity on the first day of class?

Think about the fact that a group of strangers, with the capacity to affect one another’s wellbeing, will be spending a great deal of time together in the course, and likely the program, over the coming weeks and months.  Icebreaker activities are get-to-know-you activities that offer an opportunity for students to positively engage with one another right from the start of the course.

Many positives from an initial icebreaker activity will benefit students and the instructor for the duration of the semester:

  • Comfort – Icebreaker activities enable students to let down their guard, move past any initial apprehension, and arrive at a comfortable state for learning.
  • Rapport – Students will feel that their instructor cares enough to get to know them; that they are more than a Student ID number in a classroom seat.
  • Camaraderie – Students interact positively with their classmates, and this connection with classmates will serve them well in the form of future study groups, projects, and activities throughout the semester.

Google icebreaker activities for college students, and you will find many options that are easy to implement at the start of your next course.  Doing the right things first and the first things right with a relationship-fostering icebreaker activity will set the stage for positive student engagement throughout the semester and likely even the program.

A strong cohort equals student success


A very successful cohort

A very successful cohort

How would you like to be part of a group of people, who share the same goals, help each other achieve those goals, and build long-lasting relationships while doing so? In this environment you have partners that you can share ideas with, exchange information and recourses and have a strong support group.

Am I talking about IPA?……NO…… Continue reading

Personal Social Capital Portfolio

Students come into our classes with lots of different influences (both good and bad) in their lives that they may not even realize they have. This Social Capital Portfolio worksheet can be used as a good ice breaker on the first day of class to help students realize all the support that is right at their fingertips. Further this is a good tool for us as instructors to learn about our students’ experiental background and personal support circles (or lack thereof). Finally this tool helps identify areas where students may need assistance from other facets of the college (writing lab, counseling, etc.).