Ice breakers are great for doing just that. They can be tremendous “getting to know you” activities and will enable you to build rapport quickly. We know building rapport is important. Building rapport is quite difficult when relief teaching because you have so little time.
Ice Breakers might be just the thing you are after.
Class teachers always start the year with some form of group dynamic exercise.
These can be in the form of an ice breaker activity. If you were holding a Tupperware party that would probably be great.
But good ice breakers can easily be turned into learning activities.
So how would you manage ice breakers when you are relief teaching?
Let’s say you are relief teaching in a class above year 4 and you would like to explore leadership as a concept.
I actually think leadership (as a concept) is under represented in our curriculum, but that’s a soap-box moment for me and for discussion at another time.
OK. Back to how to work ice breakers into your relief teaching gig.
One of the ice breakers I have used many times before I retired was one which explored leadership. I used this activity with my senior students. It is called “Find the Leader”.
I used this ice breaker to find my school captains and leaders for the next year.
There is no preparation needed for this ice breaker.
Sit the class in a circle.
You are secretly going to select a LEADER in the group. In this ice breaker, the role of the LEADER is to LEAD the group. Every action that the LEADER makes, must be followed by the group.
You also select the IDENTIFIER whose role is to identify the LEADER.
Take the leader out of the room and select the LEADER without the IDENTIFIER knowing.
When the IDENTIFIER returns, they stand in the middle of the circle and attempt to identify the LEADER.
As the ice breaker proceeds, you may need to make variations.
Sometimes I have given the IDENTIFIER 6 attempts before the LEADER stands. Use your judgement here to keep the ice breaker proceed effectively.
From this point you can take this ice breaker to the next level.
The focus is on LEADERSHIP for this activity so discussion starters could include
This could be a written activity, or a THINK-PAIR-SHARE strategy.
How good would this ice breaker be as a teaching activity?
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