At a small, private school there are many interruptions that “take away from our classroom time”, especially at the end of the year. The way I see it is we have two choices, be a grump and complain about it, or embrace the opportunity to learn more about your students in a different setting. I chose the second the past two days as I assisted with the freshman and sophomore retreats. Our awesome campus minster, Kim Huff, has been doing retreats for 18 years and I was excited to get back to my Camp Adventure roots and play. I spent 5 summers overseas as a day camp counselor on U.S. military bases, and love a good camp song, game, and team building activity.
Here are a few of the ice-breakers and team building games that we completed over the last couple of days. These would be great for end of the year fun days, leadership retreats, class bonding, or spicing up class.
Giant Progressive Twister (in the TL!)
|Giant Progressive Twister
- Find multiple Twister boards, or spray paint colored circles on multiple large tarps.
- If you are creating your own and do not have a spinner, type up and cut apart instructions such as right hand red, left foot yellow. (This could be done in the target language!)
- At our retreat the 50 students were divided into 6 teams with three 4×6 Twister boards.
- One member of each team starts the game.
- As each instruction is called one more team member is added.
- To make things more interesting we had the rule of only 2 body parts on each color.
- If someone falls or touches the ground with another body part, they are out.
- As the game winds down, everyone pauses, gets up, one board is take away, and the game continues from there.
- The team with the last standing member(s) wins.
This was a simple introduction our speaker John Huff did to get to know his audience a little better. This would be great for a first day of school activity where novice students have very little language skills yet, or as a quick way to get to know your audience when presenting at a conference. The three words could be changed based on your setting and purpose.
- Explain that everyone is going to introduce themselves using just 3 words
- First name
- Favorite Activity/Hobby
- Ex – Allison, Cedar Falls, Dance or Joe, Raymond, Farming
- Everyone quickly goes around and states these three words.
- This allows the leader, as well as everyone else to get to know each other a little better, without taking forever, or having people lose interest.
- In a language class this could be expanded to include the phrases for these items (Ex. Me llamo Allison. Soy de Cedar Falls. Me gusta bailar.)
People to People
|People to People
- No prep! Just have the commands typed up or memorized.
- This is a camp game I have played with 5 year old up to college students. It works great as an ice breaker or a brain brake in the middle of class. It is a twist on TPR, but with a partner and could be made very goofy if you wanted to.
- Everyone stands with a partner
- The leader states what body parts the pairs much touch (in the target language!) such as “hand to hand” “hip to hip” or “nose to foot.”
- If they say “people to people!” then everyone must scramble to find a new partner.
- If a pair messes up or does not want to complete one such as “nose to foot” then they are out and sit down. (You could also play without anyone getting out).
- Play until only one pair is left or just for fun for 5-10 minutes.
Crossing the Line
- Type up a list of statements (could be in the target language) for students to agree or disagree with. (This is similar to my What do you like more? Game)
- They should start light such as “cross the line if you like ice cream” and build deeper such as “cross the line if a family member has been in jail” or “cross the line if you have ever felt unsafe coming to school.“
- Make a physical or imaginary line for students to walk up to.
- Explain that this activity will be done in silence in a safe space where no one will be judged for their responses.
- The objective is for students to learn more about each other and have more empathy for the burdens others carry.
- Students should line up against a wall and when a statement is made students, they silently walk up to the line, turn around to face class, and walk back.
Have fun breaking the ice! If you are looking for more Ice Breakers check out the following blog posts