Ice breakers are great for any large group of people that are getting to know each other, including elementary classrooms. Organizing ice breakers for the first few weeks of school, and then continuing them throughout the school year, is a great way to help build a positive classroom community. The All About Me bag is a great option for a back to school ice breaker.
Choosing Ice Breakers
When choosing ice breakers for your classroom, it is important to think about the purpose behind the ice breakers. For me, it was important that the ice breakers helped students feel more comfortable around each other and helped them find common interests and similarities.
I always avoided ice breakers that would put students on the spot in front of the entire classroom, as that often makes students nervous – defeating the purpose of the ice breaker. That being said, it is important for students to feel comfortable speaking in front of the entire class, and a well-planned whole group ice breaker can help with that.
All About Me Bag
My favorite whole group ice breaker is the All About Me Bag. On the first day of school, students are given an empty paper bag with instructions stapled to it. The instructions tell students that their very first homework assignment is to decorate the bag. Then, they choose 3 objects that will fit in the bag to share with the class.
Before giving students this assignment, I always model to the class using my own All About Me Bag. Not only did the students love hearing about me, but this also helped me model the expectations for when students had to present.
I would usually bring one of my favorite books, one of my dog’s favorite treats, and a picture of my husband and I on a hike (see picture to the left) to put in my All About Me Bag.
Although some students will still be nervous speaking in front of the entire class, this ice breaker allows for students to choose what they are going to be talking about, and gives them plenty of time to prepare what they have to say.