Build Relationships Throughout the Year With These Awesome Icebreakers! Free Template!

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”- Mattie Stepanek

Relationships are the most important factor in your effectiveness as a teacher and your student’s success! Knowing students and them confiding in us and working with us and their peers helps us figure out their interests, strengths, insecurities, struggles, and passions. It doesn’t matter how behind your students are, strong bonds lead to student success. Building relationships is continuous but you don’t have to dedicate hours of your curriculum. The following teambuilding and get to know you activities often take less than 5 minutes and have helped my students build strong bonds with each other and me! See illustrated examples in the slideshow.

Fostering Peer-to-Peer Relationships in the First 5 Minutes

We must also continuously foster peer-to-peer relationships. I teach multiple grades in elementary and I have noticed how mean students can be to each other, especially since they are used to trash talking each other in video games they play daily. I do a lot of team building within the first 5 minutes of class. Students follow a procedure where they walk into my classroom and sit down on lined duct tape and prepare for the warm up.

  • When I notice a class especially mean to each other I explain to them, “Most of you are going to be in classes together over the next 5, 6, 7 or more years so you might as well learn how to get along and help each other. Life is hard enough without friends to get you by.” Then I will divide them in pairs or small groups of 3 and ask them to invent a handshake/dance in pairs before they are dismissed to their seats.
  • Sometimes I divide the class in 2 lines across from each other and walk them through high fiving each other as they say, “GG, good game, great work” or other nice comment. We do this after a discussion about being a great team player.

Bingo Back to School template

(Image credit: Shelley Terrell)

Bingo End of year reflection

(Image credit: Shelley Terrell)

More Get to Know You Activities

  • Copy my Get to Know You Bingo handout to print and edit here. This is the one I plan on using during the first week of school.
  • This is the digital Get to Know You Bingo for 1 to 1 settings. It is more colorful. Feel free to edit the colors and clipart.
  • Find tons of get-to-know you activities and icebreakers I’ve created here.
  • These are get-to-know you activities specifically for young learners and children.
  • These are get-to-know you activities for teens and adults.

Challenge: Do a teambuilding or get to know you activity at least once a week to continue cultivating relationships! Some of these take 5 minutes or less.

cross posted at teacherrebootcamp.com

Shelly Terrell is a Technology and Computer teacher, education consultant, and author of books including Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions in Your Classroom. Read more at teacherrebootcamp.com.