Education

25 icebreakers for more interactive classes

20.09.2021 • 6 minutes

Wooclap icebreaker questions

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.

25 Wooclap icebreakers

Import questions

3 guiding questions to choose the right icebreaker activity

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:

  1. What do I want to achieve with my icebreaker activity? Is it to help students to get to know each other, to know their teacher, to establish a collaborative atmosphere…? Bear in mind that these objectives can vary depending on the calendar, whether the class takes place at the start of term or before exams for example.
  2. Does my icebreaker fit within the overall class? When possible, an icebreaker must be relevant to the course and pedagogical project. With carefully-crafted yet simple icebreakers, get playful with the course’s themes, ask students to share their difficulties with the class or start short games around learning objectives.
  3. Is my icebreaker respectful of everyone’s sensitivities? Naturally, icebreaker questions allow for more relaxed interactions between participants. Nevertheless, bear in mind that each student has their own values, beliefs and experiences. Teachers should avoid asking students to share personal information and keep their icebreakers light and safe.

Start the semester on the right foot

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.” 

Wooclap icebreaker questions for the first class of the semester.

Two Wooclap questions you can ask in the first class of the semester

At the start of each class, combine fun with learning objectives

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.

Wooclap icebreaker questions for the beginning of each class.

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.

What about virtual icebreakers?

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.

25 Wooclap icebreaker questions to insert in your events

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!

Writer
Sylvain Bitton
Sylvain Bitton

Content Marketing Manager @Wooclap. Using words and images like spells to enchant education, that is the mission that drives me every day. For all you learning wizards!

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