Back to School Icebreaker
Set a tone for your school year!
Icebreakers are effective and interactive team-building activities that typically precede the big event, and in our case, the big event is class! They enable students to get to know each other in a relaxed setting and buy into the purpose of the event - learning! They also allow for diverse learning styles and opportunities to help each other.
Research has demonstrated that students will learn when they are physically, mentally, and emotionally involved. Games allow educators to meet these needs.
Icebreakers convey a tone of working together through communication, support, and laughter.
Here is an example of a back to school icebreaker:
The Name Game!
Materials: soft tossable object, timer (optional)
Students stand in a line or sit in a circle. The first person says their name and a favorite thing. The second person then says their name and a favorite thing, as well as the name and thing of the person before them. Each person after that adds the names and items of all of the people before them.
★ Have students say their name only
★ Do not time the students. Simply use it for learning each others’ names.
Variation for the School Year:
•Instead of names, have students wear index cards or stickers…
••with sight words, vocabulary words, etc. on them. Students will have to read and/or spell the word they are tossing to.
••with a math fact on them. Students can say the fact and answer before tossing the object.
••with names of items in a sequence (think ABCs, planets, life cycles, events on a timeline, etc.) that students are learning about. Students have to toss the object in the correct sequence.
Get a free pdf version HERE!
This activity and more can be found in my Back to School Small Group Activities resource!
Have fun breaking the ice this year!
~ By Miss Rae
On May 16, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commonly referred to as the CDC, released a report compiling estimates of the number of children living in the U.S. with specific mental health disorders. The report asserted 13 to 20 percent of children suffer a mental disorder in a one year time period.
The most prevalent parent-reported social emotional related diagnosis of children ages 3 to 17 years were as follows: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (6.8 percent), behavioral or conduct problems (3.5 percent), anxiety (3.0 percent), and depression (2.1 percent). Based upon the collected information completed during 1994 through 2011, the CDC’s report indicated an expected increase in the predominance of such conditions.
Negative emotions are correlated to lower levels of student engagement (Reschly, et al., 2008). These negative emotions can stifle learners. Negative emotions can result in emotional deficiencies, and such deficiencies can result in academic derailment.
Positive emotions, on the other hand, were found to be correlated to adaptive behaviors. This results in increased student engagement. As a result, adaptive behaviors, then, in turn, promote positive emotional skills such as an ability to handle change, work with a team, and improve interpersonal relationships.
The reality is that today's educators don't have a choice. We MUST address our students' Social Emotional needs.
The second reality is that educators do not always know where to begin to even address such skills. The budgets of school systems are bursting at the seams; finding the funds to provide professional development and a Social Emotional curriculum can be a moot point.
So what's the answer?
We must infuse Social Emotional Learning into the curriculum, using our content as a springboard!
And here are some ways to do that!
Use the lessons, morals, character development, plot, theme, etc. to drive Social Emotional Learning conversations!
Check out my Social Emotional: Short Story Empathy to learn how to teach Social Emotional Learning with texts!
Stories can provide a basis to prompt discussions and to determine a life lesson to be learned!
2. ADVENTURE GAMES
Connect learning goals to cooperative learning games. Think a Tug of War game to model the Revolutionary War AND elicit discussion around Social Emotional goals (i.e. How did the sides feel?)
Check out my Social Emotional Classroom Adventure Game: Goal Setting to learn how to teach Social Emotional Learning with games!
Games can prompt discussions around teamwork, setting goals, adjusting goals, and MORE!
Work hard, play hard, learn hard!
~ By Miss Rae
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [Mental Health Surveillance Among Children — United States, 2005–2011]. MMWR 2013;62(Suppl 2).
Reschly, A. L., Huebner, E., Appleton, J. J., & Antaramian, S. (2008). Engagement as flourishing: The contribution of positive emotions and coping to adolescents’ engagement at school and with learning. Psychology In The Schools, 45(5), 419-431. doi:10.1002/pits.20306