The first day of high school can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience for students. As an educator, one of your primary goals is to create a positive and inclusive classroom environment from day one.
Icebreaker activities are an excellent way to accomplish this, helping students get to know one another, build relationships, and establish a sense of community. We’re making it easy by sharing a variety of creative and engaging first day of school icebreakers for high school students that will foster teamwork, communication, and a positive classroom culture, setting the tone for a successful academic year.
21 First Day of School Icebreakers for High School
These 21 first day of school icebreakers for high school students can encourage communication, collaboration, and self-expression, helping students feel more comfortable and connected in the classroom.
- Two truths and a lie – Each student shares two true statements and one false statement about themselves. The class then guesses which statement is the lie, encouraging interaction and conversation.
- Human bingo – Create bingo cards with different characteristics or experiences. Students need to find classmates who fit the description in each square and have them sign it. The first to fill a row or the entire card wins.
- Find your match – Prepare cards with unique pictures or words. Distribute the cards to students, and they must find their match by locating the student with the corresponding picture or word.
- One-minute interview – Divide students into pairs. Each pair has one minute to interview each other, asking questions such as favorite hobbies, travel destinations, or dreams. Afterward, each student introduces their partner to the class.
- Four corners – Label each corner of the classroom with a different category or opinion (e.g., favorite movie genre). Read out a statement, and students move to the corresponding corner that represents their preference. They can discuss their choices with classmates.
- Emoji introductions – Have each student choose an emoji and ask them to introduce themselves by explaining why they chose that particular emoji to represent themselves. Encourage creativity and self-expression.
- Sentence starters – Provide sentence starters on small cards (e.g., “The best thing about summer is…”). Students pick a card, complete the sentence, and then find a partner to share their responses.
- Who am I? – Write the name of a famous person, character, or historical figure on a sticky note and place it on each student’s back. Students then ask yes-or-no questions to determine the identity on their back, moving around the classroom.
- Gallery walk – Create posters with different discussion prompts or questions and place them around the classroom. Students walk around and respond to the prompts by writing their thoughts on sticky notes. This encourages active participation and sharing.
- Desert island – Ask students to imagine they are stranded on a desert island and can only bring three items. Students share their chosen items and explain their reasoning, fostering creativity and critical thinking.
- What’s in a name? – Have students explore the meaning or origin of their names. They can research and share interesting facts, cultural significance, or personal connections associated with their names.
- Collaborative drawing – Divide students into pairs and give each pair a large piece of construction paper and markers. One student starts a drawing, and after a set time, they switch roles. The collaborative artwork can be displayed in the classroom.
- Would you rather – Present students with a series of dilemmas, asking them to choose between two options. For example, “Would you rather have the ability to fly or be invisible?” Students can explain their choices and engage in friendly debates.
- Classroom scavenger hunt – Create a list of items or facts related to the classroom or school. Students work individually or in teams to find the items or gather the information. The first to complete the scavenger hunt wins.
- Personal flags – Provide students with blank paper or fabric and art supplies. Ask them to design a flag that represents their personality, values, or interests. They can share their flags with the class and explain the symbolism.
- Speed friending – Students form two concentric circles, facing each other. Give them a set time to talk and ask questions to the person facing them. After the time is up, one circle moves in a direction, and the process continues with new partners.
- Memory map – Have students draw a map of a significant place from their lives, such as their hometown, a memorable vacation spot, or a special event location. They can share their maps and explain why the place is meaningful to them.
- Stand and share – Give students a prompt (e.g., “What is your favorite book/movie/TV show and why?”). Students stand up and find a partner to discuss their response. After a set time, they switch partners and repeat the process.
- Team-building tower – Provide students with materials like straws, tape, and marshmallows. Challenge them to build the tallest tower possible within a given time limit. Or have them create a tower that can support an object, like a golf ball. It will encourage teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity.
- Song lyric connections – Play snippets of popular songs and ask students to connect with classmates who know the song or share a favorite song lyric. They can discuss the music they enjoy and find common interests.
- Class survey – Create a survey with questions about students’ hobbies, favorite books, movies, or music. Collect the responses and share the results with the class. It helps students discover shared interests and promotes discussion.
These 21 engaging first day of school icebreakers for high schoolers can play a crucial role in your first-day routine, setting the tone for the entire year. Just remember to provide clear instructions, encourage active participation, and emphasize the importance of respect and inclusivity throughout these activities. By investing time in icebreakers, you are investing in creating a supportive and collaborative learning environment that will benefit your students throughout the school year and beyond.
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