ice breakers, team builders, and energizers

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  • Ice Breakers, Team Builders, and Energizers

    Activity: On the first day of class, ask students to form groups with approximately five members and generate a list of 25 things they have in common. Students will generally first identify extremely obvious characteristics (for example, We are all human beings, We all have two eyes, We all go to this school.) and then move to less obvious characteristics that require discussion, for example:

    1. We are all taking more than six credits. 2. We all live on campus. 3. We all like _________ (a particular musical group or TV show). 4. We have all seen a movie within the last week. 5. We are all single.

    Encourage students to be creative. You may make the exercise competitive; awarding a prize or recognition to the group that finishes first or simply stop the exercise after 15 minutes, for example, and see which group has the highest number of commonalities. Purpose: To help students get to know their classmates while learning something about first impressions and preconceptions. Estimated Time to Complete: 10 minutes Materials and Preparation: Create questions Activity:

    1. Divide the groups into triads 2. Each person is given two identical forms, containing five blanks labeled with questions

    about personal tastes, such as favorite TV show, perfect vacation, favorite food. 3. Participants fill out one sheet for each of the other two members, guessing at what they

    think the others tastes might be. Guessing is essential, so only 2-3 minutes are allowed to fill in the blanks.

    4. Once the blanks are filled in, participants give the sheets to the people to whom they refer.

    Questions for Discussion: What were your guesses based on? Were any correct? Did two people guess the same thing about one participant? ICEBREAKERS Getting People Acquainted A. Reception Line

    Divide everyone into 2 groups; have them stand facing each other. Each talks to the person across from them until signaled (flash lights) At signal, person at end of one line moves to other end. Consequently, everyone has a

    new person to talk to. B. Pictures from Magazines

    Supply several old magazines and have people cut out a picture which either represents them or helps people remember their name.

  • Share picture with group or wear at meeting as nametag. C. Discussion Pairs

    Provide pair with structured questions to discuss about themselves. Use a Book of Questions type questions or more fact-oriented. Pair can be asked to introduce each other to whole group at end.

    D. Discussion Groups Go around the circle and have everyone in group answer questions similar to those

    mentioned in Discussion Pairs (C). E. Write Name on Board in Giant Letters

    Use colored chalk or markers if available. Add doodles to help people remember the name and the person (i.e. draw polka dots in

    letters if have on polka dot shirt). F. Passing Candy

    Pass a bag of candy (like M&Ms) and have everyone take as many as they like. (Dont explain your purpose)

    Once everyone has some candy, have them share one piece of info about themselves for every piece of candy they took.

    G. Piece of String Pass around a ball of string. As people to take a piece (any length they want) but dont

    tell them the purpose of the icebreaker. When everyone has string they have to wrap it around their finger and tell something

    about themselves every time they wrap it around. H. Autograph Sheets

    Prepare a sheet listing traits or facts about people with a line for them to sign their name next to the trait that applies to them. (I.e. someone who wears contacts, someone who has been to Europe, etc)

    People mingle around the room with their sheets seeking to find people who are eligible to sign their sheets. A person can only sign once with any sheet.

    May also reverse the process and have people seek out the autograph of people which they think the category applies. (I.e. someone who looks like they enjoy the outdoors, someone who is from the east, etc)

    I. Signature Points Prepare a signature sheets listing spaces for signatures of people in various occupations.

    (I.e. policeman, nun, coach, mayor, registrar, etc) Assign points to each person, based upon the difficulty of obtaining that signature People have a set time limit to go around the campus/community to obtain the

    signatures. At the end, add up the points to determine the winner. Could be used to orient freshmen to campus offices and the community.

    J. Autograph Bingo Prepare a sheet with 9 or 12 squares, each containing a trait or characteristic which

    could apply to people in the group. After the sheet is handed out, people have a set time limit (5 minutes) to mingle and

    find people to sign in the box which lists a trait that applies to them. The one with the most signatures when time is called wins bingo.

  • K. Words from Your Partners Name On a sheet of paper, the two partners write out their names and attempt to make other

    words using only the letters included in the names. After a set time limit, the one with the most new words wins.

    L. Something Unique Everyone stands in a straight line, side to side. Someone says something they think is unique about themselves (i.e. I spent last summer

    in Africa) If others have done the same thing, they step forward too. Everyone steps back in place and the next person attempts to find something unique

    about them. M. Coat of Arms

    On a sheet of ledger paper or newsprint, people draw a coat of arms and divide it into six spaces.

    The facilitator reads questions to the group and people put their answers in the designated space, either by using pictures or words to answer.

    The results may then be shared individually with the group or a piece of yarn may be attached to the sheet and people can wear them as giant name tags while they mingle and talk with others about their answers.

    N. Do-Si-Do Your Partner People assemble in-group formations like square dancing and are given a question to

    discuss with their partner. The group then do-si-dos to switch partners, and are given a new question to discuss. The questions may be written out on quarter-page sheets and distributed to the group

    at the beginning so the pace of the icebreaker quickens. O. Action Names

    Participants gather in a circle. One person begins by stating their name and doing an action. The next person repeats the name and action of the first person, then states his own

    name and does an action. This continues until the last person.

    P. Find Your Twin Sample topics are typed on a sheet of paper, with two blank lines provided to the right

    of each topic. First individuals fill in their personal response to each of the topics. (i.e. list the state in

    which you were born) Then they find another person who listed the same response to one of the first

    questions and get their autograph on the corresponding line. Q. First Impressions

    Break into groups of three people who dont know each other. Just from impressions, not talking, individuals guess answers to a list of questions about

    the other people. (i.e. hometown, rural or city person, major, beverage of choice, etc) People make a list of assumptions, then talk with each other to find out the real


  • Also provides insight to the power of non-verbal communication. R. Pick the Piece

    In advance, cut paper into several shapes (i.e. circle, diamond/square, rectangle, half-circle, star, etc).

    Have participants pick out a piece and then share with the group why it represents them.

    S. Index Cards Give people index cards, have them write answers on them to questions you ask (i.e.

    favorite type of food, why came to this school, best period of life, etc) Hand in cards, shuffle, and then leader reads of the answers while people try to guess

    who the person is. T. Three Things You Didnt Know

    Ask group members to write down three things about themselves that other members do not know.

    Compile a trivia sheet and then have group members identify who each statement is about.

    U. Backpack Have each person take from their backpack something that symbolizes them. Share the

    objects with the group, telling why they chose it. Variation: Put items in a pile and draw them out one at a time, guessing whose it is. Variation: Have each person take items from their wallet and either share with the

    group or break into small groups of 2-3 people. V. Humdingers

    Prepare slips of paper with name of popular, easy to hum songs on them. Each song should be written on three or four slips of paper. As people enter the room, they are given these slips of paper. On the word go: people mill around the room humming the song, trying to find others

    humming the same song. Variation: Use animal sounds rather than songs.

    W. Middle Name Each participant gives their middle name. They tell how or why that name was given. The leader should start the process.

    X. My Name Is Players sit in a circle. First person says, My name isand I like (food, pastime, animal, etc) using a word

    that starts with the first letter of their name. Example: My name is Pat and I like pasta. The second person introduces the first person and their favorite, and then him/herself. This continues around the room until the last person has the task of introducing the

    entire group. If a person gets stuck, give them a little time to get through their memory block before

    you give them the answer. Y. Color, Car, Character

    Each person writes their name on a piece of paper.

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