“Things Related To Me” Ice-Breaker

Classroom Ice-Breaker – “Things Related To Me”

I'm A Freakin' Teacher Dammit!!! - theTEFLblog

If you have been teaching for a while, then you have probably heard about this one, or something like it (although maybe not with the same name.)

In fact, since I’ve been teaching, I haven’t really come across many “new” ice-breaker activities.  They are all just regurgitated with new names and presented as original material by people on their websites…  Kind of like this… except I make no claim to originating this activity.

So why re-post it?

Well, essentially for the reason that blogs and websites come and go, and not everyone sees the same blogs and websites as everyone else.  But more than that, I post this because I have used this particular activity in nearly every new class that I’ve had, and not only does it work (for me), but it can be altered to suit both your needs as the instructor/coach/teacher and the needs of the students/learners.

So get to the point already!

(This lesson is for “in-class” lessons, and probably wouldn’t work too well in an on-line class without some sort of screen-sharing capabilities.)

  • Write or Draw approx. 5-10 things on the black-board/white-board
    • These “things” (if not drawn) can be a combination of words, names, single numbers, dates, years, etc.
  • Inform the students/learners that each thing is, somehow, directly related to you.
  • The students/learners then have to guess how theyare related to you.
    • The method of how you can decide who gets to guess is completely up to you.  You can:
      • Go in turn, around the class
      • Have the students/learners raise their hands
      • Spin a spinner, roll a dice, etc.

Things to consider:

  • Make sure that the students/learners use proper question forms (rather than just making a statement with rising intonation at the end.)
  • You may decide how to give hints.
  • You may want to do just one thing at a time and the person who guesses correctly has to put something on the board.  Then the other students/learners all get a chance to play along.  This is a great way for people to get to know each other.
    • Utilizing a method such as this is a great way to gather information to be used for a “Find Someone Who…” exercise to use in the next class.

However you wish to alter this exercise is, of course, completely up to you.  The only time that I have had any difficulty with this activity is when the students were just really really shy…  (Then I just had to act goofy and give lots of hints.)

I hope that this is helpful for you.

Have An Excellent Day!


Filler Activity – “Memory Dictation”

"Memory Dictation" - Filler Activity (theTEFLblog)

Memory Dictation

(Introduction & Review of Vocabulary, Listening, Memory, Spelling)

This activity can be used as a “Warm-Up” or a “Filler”.

The teacher explains to the students that he/she will be saying aloud, 10-12 words (the number is irrelevant) and that they must first just listen carefully. After all of the words have been spoken, the students must write down all of the words that they can remember.

These words can be taken from: previously learned material, upcoming material (as an introduction), or commonly mis-spelled or confused words (as entertainment).

As with any activity, the “rules” and scope of the exercise should be made to be appropriate for the teacher, students, and situation. But here a rough guideline that can be adhered to, in order to ensure that the activity runs smoothly.

  1. Students should listen first without writing anything
  2. Students remain quiet while listening and writing (no talking with each other, or asking questions either the teacher of each other)
  3. They should only need or be given a few minutes to write down the words (otherwise they will be prone to looking at each others’ papers
  4. The teacher then asks students to say the words that they remember and to spell them.
    • This step can be done in a number of ways:
      1. they can shout out what they remember
      2. they can be called on individually
      3. they can be asked to come up to board to write them down (if facilities make this possible)
  5. Some sort of reward system could be given (however this is a system that is sometimes contested with certain people, groups, schools, etc.

Other ways that this can be altered:

Any class-room activity can be altered in numerous different ways. For example:

  • The activity can be done in teams
  • The activity can act as the pre-cursor or sequel to a “scrambled” word exercise
  • These words can then be used to create sentences, stories, etc.

The possibilities are only as limited as the teacher and/or students make them.

If you have any suggestions you would like to share, I’m sure that they will be appreciated.

Have An Excellent Day!