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I am already thinking about the start of the semester. The first day of class is what sets the tone for the semester, and that’s something I have believed since childhood. I teach large sections in gen-ed history, and most of my students for the fall will be freshmen. I plan to use a quick, get-acquainted activity this semester so students can meet their classmates on their first day.
Professor Sandy Keeter
My online classes have an Introductory Conversation Post, where students tell us three interesting facts about themselves. My oncampus classes do the same thing but the students have to introduce the person next them after learning 3 interesting facts.
Professor Donna Sue Shellman:
This is the same type of introductory discussion forum post I use in all my courses, online and seated. It helps me and my fellow students learn about each other, even if we are in a seated class. I have students introduce themselves to at most three other students in the seated course. I then allow them to speak for a few moments amongst each other. It helps them make connections in class. They often see the same people in other areas on campus or in other courses.
They are more likely to meet up again in my class if they have already introduced themselves. Students should form a network of fellow learners. This will be a valuable source for inspiration and motivation as they progress through the semester and throughout their academic careers. It is very comforting to have a fellow student who understands you journey. It takes a village…
Professor Terry Weideman
I have a few icebreakers that I use. The first is where students introduce themselves, tell me how long they have been here, what they are studying and, since I teach nutrition, ask them to name their favorite comfort foods.
I also use the other one and students love it. I give students a bag of fun-sized M&M’s (the ones you get on Halloween or Easter) and tell students not to open it until I say so. I then pick a random M&M color and have students open their bags as I call them. The students then have to introduce themselves and tell me what they would like to learn about nutrition for each M&M of the chosen color. Attention: Students who eat too many M&Ms before their turn are not allowed to continue eating them.
Professor Essie Childers:
Here’s a fun activity I do:
Each student gets a balloon in any color. Discuss the characteristics of a balloon with your students.
Discuss the traits that would help a college student to stay on track.
Students can blow up their balloons. If you have a large class, form 2 groups.
Students will be asked to toss their balloon into the air and pretend that they are students.
This icebreaker aims to prevent any balloon from falling to the ground. A falling balloon is an indication that you have failed to complete your class, failed to seek help from the professor or failed to seek tutoring. Allow students to share their ideas during the discussion. I typically give students around one minute and thirty seconds, or less.
Discuss your observations. When the student lost focus, some balloons fell to ground. This is a great opportunity to discuss multi-tasking. Also, be sure to emphasize the importance of interdependence–students can encourage one another to succeed. Students can rely on the support of staff and faculty to succeed.
Let the students stomp on their balloons and then return to their seats.
Professor Sherry Singer
Students love the phrase “I like it when and I hate when”. Give your students an index card. Ask them to write three things they would like their instructors to do on one side, and three things that they hate on the other. These can be read anonymously, and then you can talk about the organization of your class.
To engage students, I debunk Ancient Aliens as well as other history programs. Talking about students’ perceptions changes their perspective.
Professor Joan Shriver
To find out who is the brightest, we play a Kahoot Flag or one of the shorter public elementary school games. One semester, a young man from Kenya missed his flag and joked with the class about it.
Each square contained a checker board game. It had something like “likes cats”, “plays baseball”, “likes the Cowboys “…” and others. They then have to go around the room looking for someone to sign each square. Although it is chaotic, they find new friends and get up from their chairs.
2 truths and 1 lies. Even though we don’t know each others, we play this game to learn as much as we can about each other.
I have an Introduce Yours

By Delilah