One of the essential components of a positive learning environment is the establishment of positive relationships. Creating a classroom tone that is friendly, supportive and invites opportunities for connected modes of learning, can enhance the learning experience for all students.
Incorporating icebreakers can help create an environment where all students feel safe sharing. Icebreakers not only encourage student voice, they can support students in making meaningful connections to content.
My experience with facilitating icebreakers with students and adults has taught me a few tips and tricks. I’ve had some great experiences and I’ve also had a few total bombs. Here are a few quick tips:
- Choose Wisely: Choose with intention. Establish your purpose and then find the activity that supports that purpose.
- Plan in Advance: Be sure you are comfortable with facilitating the activity. Avoid stumbling through directions because that can confuse your audience and ultimately your activity can lose its flavor.
- Learn the Art of Flexibility: Don’t micromanage student responses. As long as it doesn’t harm the classroom community, allow students the freedom to “lean in.”
- Participate: Model risk taking by sharing in the process. Don’t be a wallflower!
One of my favorite sites, Experiential Tools, provides a host of ideas and facilitation tools for building the classroom community. Here are a few other great links: