It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, active icebreakers are always a good idea.

Join our Facebook Live event this week to see some of these icebreakers in action, courtesy of Joe Dombrowski and Jessica Rogers. Joe is a self-described unconventional teacher, and he strongly encourages thinking outside the box when it comes to teaching. Jessica is a Chicago-area educator and improv instructor.

Below, Joe and Jessica shared some of their favorite active icebreakers to use with their students. You can use these along with our Free Printable Icebreaker Fish to let your students “fish” for the game they want to play.

1. Make Positive Snowballs

Students write a positive quote, word of encouragement, or positive picture (for differentiated purposes) on a white piece of paper. They then crumple up their own sheet to make a “positive snowball.” Ready…. Aim… FIRE!! Watch the positivity fly across the room both figuratively and literally. Have students sit in a circle to open and read. After you’re done, don’t toss ‘em. Instead, keep them in the classroom so students can reference them when they need a pick-me-up.

2. Create a Class Chant

Have your students create a class chant! Not only does this instantly bring the group together, it also gives you a preview as to the unique personalities you’ll be seeing all year. Use the chant as a tool to call students in for recess, a call and response to signify quiet time or even just for fun!

3. Play the ‘All My Friends’ Game

Start by having your students form a circle. Stand in the middle and say “ALL MY FRIENDS LIKE….” and fill in the blank with anything you enjoy. Goldish crackers, pizza, roller blading… ANYTHING! Any student who also enjoys the same thing as you has to switch a spot with another person in the circle. Much like musical chairs, whoever doesn’t have a spot goes in the middle and “ALL MY FRIENDS…” starts all over again. This is a super fast way to take note of your students interests.

4. Name Your Rose and Thorn

This is a simple way to recap a summer vacation, weekend, or event at school. Your rose = your BEST past of summer vacation. Your thorn = something about summer vacation that was less than ideal. It’s a good way to get a quick read on your students. Plus, it’s good to share both positives and negatives.

5. Learn Names with Movement   

This is a fun and active way to get to know everyone’s name. One at a time, each students says their name and accompanies it with a physical motion. The rest of the group should mirror. Then you move on to the next person. This really gets students moving and opening up while learning names of their classmates.

6. State Your Opinion

Label four corners of the room: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree. Students should start in the middle of the room or in their seats. Then the teacher reads a statement and students move to the corner of their room that represents their opinion on the topic. Topic examples might be “I love wearing uniforms to school,” or “I believe cats are better than dogs.”

7. Who Started the Motion?

Students stand in a circle. One student leaves the room for a moment. While out of the room, another students is chosen to “start the motion.” The selected student begins to move slowly while the rest of the students in the circle begin to follow along. The student in the hallway returns to the room and goes to the center of the circle. They have three chances to guess who started the motion. Repeat so several students get a turn.

What are your favorite active icebreakers for the classroom? We’d love to hear in the comments.