A Successful First Day Icebreaker in My Classroom

 

A successful start of class icebreaker

A photo posted by Desiree (@dthompson207) on

 

I spent a lot of time searching for icebreakers that I felt would be of value for my class. I was hoping to find some to help make my students and myself less nervous. After a lot of searching, I decided that my initial activity would be an icebreaker with a lesson that lasts.

I gathered a cloth pouch courtesy of a holiday Crown Royal purchase (luckily there’s only branding on one side, so no one could see it), as well as 14 semi-random objects that I could fit in the bag. I chose a small ball of yarn, post-its, a pen, bottlecap magnets, a snowman ornament, an orange paracord bracelet, a tiny music box, a Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, and a handful of small plastic animals. When it came time to start class, I began taking the objects out of the bag. I gained the full attention of a number of the students in the front, but some of the students in the back were still chatting away with their neighbors or were otherwise oblivious to what was going on. I returned all of the items to the bag, and asked everyone to take out a piece of paper and list as many of the items as they could remember. Some began making their list, some asked others for paper, and others had a minor meltdown.

I told them that I would be repeating this exercise, and took the items out again. Something very cool happened. I looked up to see that not only had I captured the attention of the students in the back, but now, many of the students at the tables in the back of the room were standing up, and peeking around the group in the front. I put the items away again, and asked the students to make a new list. Of course, they all got more items, and one student in the front was able to list all of the items.

One student came to the conclusion on her own as she said “Alright, I think I need to rethink my seating choice” and moved to the front. I was so impressed with this little activity! Not only did it illustrate that it is important to pay attention, and to arrive punctually and prepared, but it caught everyone’s attention and I think really hit home for them.

Starting a Snowy Spring Semester

So today is the start of the new semester for me. Winter has finally arrived in Maine it seems just in time for the start of the spring semester. For now, I will just be teaching one section of Introduction to Psychology, and later on in the semester I may have more courses start.

Last semester was a bit challenging for me with a larger class size, new textbook, and new course. With a larger class, I also encountered a wider range of student skills, abilities, and maturity. I also had a range of student satisfaction levels. Some said they really enjoyed class, looked forward to it, and learned a lot, but a few students expressed that they really didn’t enjoy the course, and didn’t feel they learned enough. In their reviews, it also sounded like they were appreciative of me as an instructor, and also some really disliked me as an instructor.

This semester, I plan to move forward and improve upon myself and my courses. I hope to gain more confidence in myself as an educator. I know that there are some things that I can improve on, and I also know that I am knowledgeable and experienced in relevant areas. I have begun to get feedback that my background is impressive even, which is really kind of strange to me. I am going to go into today knowing that I could have planned other activities, I could have done things differently, but the best thing to do is move forward with my plan, remember to breathe, and put my best foot forward.

With that being said, I am a little nervous and anxious about today, but I am also excited. I have some things planned for class, that I hope will be interesting, exciting, and well-received. I plan to do a little demonstration to allow students to get to know my classroom expectations, as well as me as a person. As an icebreaker, I also plan to do a personality test sort of activity as well so that I can get to know the students, and they can also learn a little about each other. I will go over the syllabus and other first day sort of things of course, and I think I will also show them an episode of Brain Games. I love how Brain Games takes pieces of psychology and makes them relevant, approachable, and fun for everyone.