20.09.2021 • 6 minutes
Icebreaker activities are not headline news. During the Covid crisis in particular, they have made their way into our online classroom. It can indeed get chilly in those first few minutes, especially at the start of a new school year! In the words of Wilbert McKeachie, “[...] meeting a group of strangers who will affect your well-being is at the same time exciting and anxiety-producing for both students and teacher.”
For teachers, icebreaker activities thus represent an opportunity to warm the class up, answer students’ concerns and most importantly foster connections.
In this article, discover our tips on finding the icebreakers that fit your teaching habits and import a list of 25 Wooclap icebreakers to use in your presentations.
Not all icebreaker activities will fit you like a glove. As a teacher, it is important to choose the questions most suited to your class, teaching objectives and student profiles.
Before you dive into outlining your class, here are 3 questions to guide your choice of activity:
The first minutes of the first class of a new year or semester are critical. Two studies of students in Australia and the UK (McInnis, James, & Hartley, 2000; Trotter & Roberts, 2006) point to the fact that “the first class in first year is our opportunity to create a positive learning atmosphere for the rest of the semester – and perhaps the rest of a student’s experience at university.”
At this stage, the goal for the first activities of the class should be to “establish expectations and an implicit learning contract on the part of both students and lecturer.”
Two Wooclap questions you can ask in the first class of the semester
During regular term classes, the start of each one is an opportunity to keep a finger on the group’s pulse and measure the general level of understanding of concepts covered in previous sessions.
Two more examples of Wooclap questions for that use
A secondary benefit of coming back to previously learnt ideas: it leverages the technique of spaced (or distributed) practice! According to this principle from cognitive psychology, the same amount of repeated studying of the same information spaced out over time leads to a great retention of that information in the long run.
The Covid crisis has stressed how difficult it is to grab the students’ attention in a remote learning situation. Yet thanks to tools such as Wooclap and a plethora of smart tricks devised by teachers, you don’t have to teach to black squares on your screen!
Explore this list of online icebreakers from Symonds Research for inspiration. Our favorite one? “Two truths and a lie”. Each student makes three statements, of which two are true and one is false. The brainstorming by category Wooclap question allows students to vote for the statement they believe is a lie. Alternatively, participants can vote by turning their camera off for a second.
With Wooclap, your icebreaker activities find a natural place within your presentations. All students can then answer on their smartphone or computer, whether in-class or online. As a teacher, you save time by collecting answers in a matter of seconds!
A monthly summary of our product updates and our latest published content, directly in your inbox.