Blended Learning · Distance Learning · Personalized Learning · Teaching Strategies

Ice Breakers & More

Some school districts are announcing their plans for the fall and I know that regardless of where students learn, the first few weeks are going to be so important.  I will definitely have a bootcamp/orientation to help students learn the tools that we will be using.  Here are a few first week of school activities that I can use with my students whether we are face to face or online.

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

If we are face to face, I will definitely take advantage of being outside and I really like the idea of the scavenger hunt from Mundo de Pepita.  This could be modified for online learning in small breakout groups.

What’s Different?

This can easily be done with social distancing or online.  Pair students up and ask them to turn back-to-back (or cover their screen).  Students then change five things about their appearance.  Partners then turn around (uncover their screen) and try to guess the five things that have been changed.

If I do this online, I will have students complete this in breakout rooms and then have them reflect individually on the experience.  This activity encourages students to get outside of their comfort zone and to be more observant.

Slides Intro

I fear that many of my go to ice breaker activities, like find someone who…, are not going to be safe if we are in person.  I found a Google Slides presentation where students create an intro slide on a shared slides presentation.  I would then complete a follow up activity (Jeopardy, Quizizz, Schoology Quiz, Kahoot, etc) that would encourage students to get to know their classmates.

Screen Shot 2020-07-17 at 2.04.51 PM

Looks Like, Sounds Like, Feels Like

At the beginning of the year, or when we need a reset, I have students discuss what learning in our class looks like, sounds like, and feels like.  I feel that this is something that I should have done when we switched to distance learning this spring.  If we are doing online learning, I will have students describe what it is for synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Flipgrid Intro

Students will record a short intro of themselves which will help me learn how to pronounce their name as well as get them used to speaking more on video.  A goal of mine for online learning is to get students to speak more.

Exit Ticket

I am definitely going to minimize the amount of paper work that students physically turn in to me if we are face to face.  I will ask students a few questions on a Google Form to get to know my students a little better.  Some of the questions that I plan to ask are:

  • What are you looking forward to in French class?
  • What are you worried about in French class?
  • How can I support you?


I will continue to update this with more ideas as I find or think of them.  What are your plans to start the school year?

Update 7/23/2020: Spanish Mama has shared some other ideas that could even be used as brain breaks.

2 thoughts on “Ice Breakers & More

  1. I’m so glad I found your blog! I’m feeling very overwhelmed and students don’t arrive for another week… We’ll be doing 100% in-person school. In addition to figuring out how to teach/learn with masks, social distancing, etc., we’re supposed to switch from a traditional to a blended learning approach this year with training on how to do so…this week. (“Modern Teacher” is the name of the training program.) We had the option to start the online training early, which I chose, so I started about two weeks ago… We’ve never done playlists or choice boards. We’ve never recorded ourselves teaching, with the exception of a few attempts by a few teachers in the spring. Here’s the kicker: we’re not a 1:1 district! Not only do we not have a device for every student, but each department shares a cart of Chromebooks, so at the most I’ll have them in my classes one day a week. I have no idea how I’m going to implement this in such a short amount of time with few to no digital resources on a daily basis. Needless to say, I’m stressed (which is why I was up until midnight looking stuff up online and then woke up at 2:30 and have been doing the same thing since then…

    I’m pretty sure your blog is going to be my new handbook because I’ve only read a few posts and have already learned a lot.. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge so willingly!

    Liked by 1 person

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