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Icebreakers

(Adapted from the Honolulu Community College Faculty Guidebook)

Introduce myself. Participants introduce themselves and tell why they are there. Variations: Participants tell where they first heard about the class and why they decided to take it, what they hope to gain from this course, a question they hope this course will answer for them

Introduce another. Divide the class into pairs. Each person talks about him/herself to the other, sometimes with specific instructions to share a certain piece of information. For example, "The one thing I am particularly proud of is..." After five minutes, the participants introduce the other person to the rest of the class.

Character descriptions. Have students write down one or two adjectives describing themselves. Put these on a stick-on badge. Have class members find someone with similar or opposite adjectives and talk for two minutes with the other person.

I've done something you haven't done. Have each person introduce themselves and then state something they have done that they think no one else in the class has done. If someone else has also done it, the student must state something else until he/she finds something that no one else has done.

Find someone. Each person writes on a blank index card one to three statements, such as favorite color, interest, hobby, or vacations. Pass out cards so everyone gets someone else's card. Have that person find the person with their card and introduce themselves. Course-related variation: write down some aspects of the course in which you are particularly interested and try to find someone else with similar interests.

Famous person. People write a famous name or place on a piece of paper and pin it on someone else's back. Person tries to guess what name is pinned on his/her by asking others around the room yes or no questions. Course-related variation: connect it to your course content in some way. If you are teaching American History have students guessing about a well-known event in American History. If you are teaching film, have students guess the names of famous films.

My name. People introduce themselves and tell what they know about why they have their name (their mother wanted to name me after her great aunt Helen who once climbed Pike's Peak in high heels, etc.). It could be the first, middle or nick name.

How do you feel? Ask the students to write down words or phrases that describe their feelings on the first day of class. List the responses on the blackboard. Then ask them to write down what they think you as the teacher are feeling this first day of class. List them on the blackboard in a second column and note the parallels. Briefly comment on your feelings and then discuss the joint student/teacher responsibilities for learning in the course.