As many of us start to prepare for back to school meetings and prep work, I begin to think of the icebreakers I will use to get to know my incoming 6th graders. I believe that middle school is a transition time and we teachers must really form a bond with our students. That bond helps the students succeed in a positive classroom environment.
One of the ice breakers I like to do is the "about me" bags. I am sure you have seen or heard of these. I come to class with a bag (one that describes me) and fill the bag with items that tell about my life, personality, family, etc. I share my bag with my classes and then I send around a sign-up sheet for each student to sign up for a time they will present their own "about me" bag. I usually do 5-6 a day and it takes about 10 minutes or so.
Another ice breaker I do is a time capsule/survey. I have each student fill out a 10 question time capsule sheet, collect them, and put them away for the year. On the last day I have them fill out the same sheet as I pass back their original one. We then discuss how our lives changed over the 182 school days. It is interesting to see who has all10 answers that changed.
I also do a 2 lies/2 truths. This is where you come up with 2 truths and 2 lies about yourself. Then we guess what is true and what isn't. The kids love to share these.
I also begin an All About Me book that the students create. It is a writing activity that we cover in 4-5 days. This booklet tells me a lot about my student's backgrounds.
Another thing I use to get more information from my students' parents is A Million Words or Less assignment. It is a homework assignment for the parents :) It is basically a questionnaire for the parents to reflect and write about their child. It gives me some great feedback on my students and their strengths, weaknesses, and the type of learner they are.
All About Me 2011
In a Million Words or Less