With school starting up, I thought I’d share the most interesting icebreaker I found last year. Copy, cut, and pass out these half-sheets [pdf].
Each person in a group picks a dot and writes her name next to it.
Now the group’s job is to label the axes. Physical attributes don’t require all that much thought and don’t reveal all that much, so don’t allow them.
That’s it. It requires a surprising amount of creativity and conversation. Happy first day of school, teachers.
Previously. This Who I Am sheet, which I adapted from my first student-teaching placement, has been popular.
[I got this particular idea from a workshop I led with Jo Boaler, Kathy Sun, Jennifer Ruef. It may be a Complex Instruction staple for all I know. I'm not claiming ownership, just passing along the fun.]
2013 Aug 9. Rachel Rosales used the Math Forum’s Noticing / Wondering framework on her first day.
I learned this from Carlos Cabana, at the Creating Balance conference at Mission HS in SF. I’ve used it with much success for a couple years now.
Be aware, however, that it can surface issues you might not be prepared to deal with. I teach at a private school, and there is huge income inequality between my kids’ families. This year, a group labeled one axis “number of bathrooms in my house” with the two quantities being 4 and “more than 4″. In my surprise, I don’t think I handled it well to support the kids in the class who might have just 1 or 2 bathrooms in their house and suddenly had their lack of wealth put in their face in math class.
I’ve used your “Who I Am” sheet for several years – after reviewing them, I file them away, then surprise students on the last day of school by returning them. They giggle at how much they’ve changed in 9 short months, often barely remembering filling out the page in the first place. The “self-portraits” are always a favorite to revisit.
Desire to read
# of hours spent swimming
# of summer vacations
Love of Ice Cream
# of pets
Distance from school
2013 August 13. First day activities around the web from: