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Icebreakers that Rock

Icebreakers that Rock
We’re coming up fast on the beginning of another school year. That means a new batch of students to get to know, students who need to be made comfortable in your classroom, and who need to get to know each other. It’s essential to start building relationships with your students right from the start. And how to accomplish this? Icebreakers. I planned to create a nice big post with dozens of icebreaker ideas you could choose from. They require students to take massive social risks with people they barely know. So I have scrapped my plan to curate good icebreakers from the Internet. In my own classrooms, with middle school, high school, and college students, I have played all three of these games with great success. Each of these will likely sound familiar to you, although the names may not be exactly what you’ve known them as. Blobs and Lines Here are some sample prompts you can use for this game: Concentric Circles Do you play any sports? This or That Sample questions for This or That: Related:  Classroom HacksE4 Topics

20 Three-Minute Brain Breaks Wednesday's guest post about why kids need to move from pediatric occupational therapist Loren Shlaes was so popular that I decided to follow it up with a list of Brain Breaks you can use with your students. These are great to use anytime your students are feeling restless and are struggling to pay attention. Most of these will only take a few minutes, and then you can get back to the lesson with your students ready to focus on the lesson at hand.5-4-3-2-1. In this simple game, students stand up and the teacher (or leader) has them do five different movements in descending order. For example the teacher would say: "Do fivejumping jacks, spin around four times, hop on one foot threetimes, walk all the way around the classroom two times, give your neighbor one high-five (pausing in between each task for students to do it).Trading Places Have students stand behind their pushed-in chairs. Please note that I did not come up with all of these out of my own head.

The Best Resources For Teaching/Learning About How To Write Compare/Contrast Essays I recently realized that I have specific “Best” lists for many different types of essays (see All My “Best” Lists On Teaching & Learning How To Write – In One Place!), but I’ve never created one for Compare/Contrast. So, here goes: Here are instructions for a compare/contrast unit project from one of my class blog. Writing to Compare and Contrast from Citelighter on Vimeo. When you are writing to compare, how should you organize your writing? I use a lesson comparing/contrasting photos to introduce the concept to Beginning English Language Learners. “Blog challenge: compare and contrast photo” Blog challenge: compare and contrast photo – this is from EduLang. Finding Similar Images To Use For Compare/Contrast Prompts Describing photos (comparing, contrasting and speculating) is from EFL Smart. Here are some NY Times posts for ELLs where I’ve discussed writing compare/contrast essays:

First Class Ice Breakers Using Mobile Devices I previously wrote about the importance of beginning a class focusing on the learners in the room as opposed to the content to be covered in Beginning the School Year: It’s About Connections Not Content. Most classes, starting with about middle school, begin the school year with reviewing the content to be covered, expectations regarding grades, and other academic information provided by the teacher or instructor. The human or social element is often disregarded.What is interesting is that most learners enter the classroom wondering who is in the course. They want to know about the teacher and the people in the class not what material is to be covered. What this says to me as an educator is that it all begins with a social connection – between the educator and the learners, and between the learners themselves. All of my classes, regardless of student age or demographics – elementary gifted students or graduate students, begin with ice-breakers and team-building activities. Cell Sharing

Warm-up Ideas Warm-ups help your learners put aside their daily distractions and focus on English. If they haven't used English all day, they may take a little while to shift into it. Warm-ups also encourage whole-group participation which can build a sense of community within the group. Brainstorm (any level, individual or group) Give a topic and ask learners to think of anything related to it.

Energizing Brain Breaks: Toe Tapping Energizing Brain Break Toe Tapping 1. Stand Up.2. Face your partner.3. Both you and your partner put out your right leg and tap your right feet together 1 time and say "1" out loud.4. Tap your left feet together 3 times and say "3" out loud.5. WHAT ARE ENERGIZING BRAIN BREAKS?

Unit Project On Reformers | Mr. Ferlazzo's U.S. History Classes Blog Think of the people you learned about in this unit who were "reformers." They worked for justice, and tried to make life better. Pick one of them who you would like to learn more about. Then think of someone today who you think is a reformer. Please write a "compare/contrast" essay about the two of them. First, read this example of a compare/contrast essay. First, use this Venn Diagram to identify how they are the same and how they are different. Second, use this Compare/Contrast Map to plan your essay. Third, paste it in the comments section here.

Icebreakers Archive | Classroom Icebreaker Activities | Ice Breakers | Back to School | First Day of School Check out these articles on everything from preparing for the first day to dealing with homework woes, coping as a new teacher and ensuring smooth sailing for substitute teachers. Be sure to explore our 12 volumes of icebreakers and first day of school activities that help students and teachers get to know each other. Icebreakers Archive | Classroom Icebreaker Activities Best of the IcebreakersVolume 1: Tell Me About You ActivitiesVolume 2: 14 Activities for the First Days of SchoolVolume 3: Engaging Activities for the First Days of SchoolVolume 4: Activities for the First Day of SchoolVolume 5: All-About-You Activities for the First Days of SchoolVolume 6: Get to Know Your Classmates ActivitiesVolume 7: Getting to Know One AnotherVolume 8: Who's in the Classroom?Volume 9: My Classmates and MeVolume 10: Back-to-School ActivitiesVolume 11: More Fresh Ideas for Opening DayVolume 12: Excellent Activities for Getting Students Warmed Up Fun Activities Get the School Year Off to a Good Start!

360 FREE Warmers, Ice-Breakers and Fillers For The ESL Classroom Planning a lesson is no easy task, especially if you're about to introduce a difficult topic. Sometimes, you need a little bit of something extra to really make your lesson flow. For this reason, ESL teachers usually use warmers and fillers. Warmers are used in lessons to ease the students into the topic you're going to present. The beauty of using warmers and fillers is that very little planning goes into using them. These warmer and filler worksheets can be used in several ways. Another great feature of these warmer/filler worksheets is that most can be used for all levels. Don’t worry about registering or subscribing, since all worksheets on are free to download, and there's no limit to how many you can download! If you have some worksheets of your own that you've found useful in your lessons, why not share them with other ESL teachers to use in their lessons as well? Make your number one online resource for worksheets by bookmarking us today.

5 Tips for keeping kids active throughout the day | Teacher's Notebook Blog It doesn’t take many weeks into the school year before you start noticing a change in your students. Gone is the excitement generated at the beginning of the school year when learning is fresh. Now, students are struggling to stay on task. To boost engagement, give your learners ways to stay active throughout the day. According to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, being more physically active offers many benefits to classroom children. Take brain breaks Every 30 minutes or so, aim for movement in your classroom. Ditch the chair The traditional classroom chair may be doing more harm than good for your students. Incorporate music and storytelling Add music to your classroom, and give kids permission to take “dance breaks” when certain songs play. Storytelling is another way to get kids moving. Active review games Are you reviewing concepts or math facts with your kids regularly? Consider “Pop Goes the Answer.” Send them outside About the author:

5 Fascinating Sites for Seeing and Exploring the Universe Space. The final frontier. If you love gazing at the stars, and beautiful pictures of galaxies, the Internet has a lot to offer. We’ll start close to earth and work our way out, okay? Stuff In Space: Explore Everything Orbiting Earth Humans aren’t quite exploring the galaxy, or otherwise making tech from Star Trek come true, but that doesn’t mean we’re not doing anything useful in space. It’s easy to imagine this adds up to a lot of stuff, but Stuff In Space really demonstrates just how many things we’ve put up there. HelioViewer: Stare Directly at the Sun The sun is an incomprehensibly large ball of gas constantly undergoing thermonuclear fusion, and without it life would be completely impossible. Again, this is similar to Google Maps in a way: you can zoom in and out or pan to see whatever you want. Milky Way Zoom in and pan, then contemplate the immensity of every individual speck of light. GalaxyZoo: Help Astronomers Classify Galaxies Space: Read the Latest Astronomy News

Why Kids Need to Move, Touch and Experience to Learn When students use their bodies in the learning process, it can have a big effect, even if it seems silly or unconnected to the learning goal at hand. Researchers have found that when students use their bodies while doing mathematical storytelling (like with word problems, for example), it changes the way they think about math. “We understand language in a richer, fuller way if we can connect it to the actions we perform,” said Sian Beilock, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago. Consider this word problem: Two hippos and two alligators are at the zoo. In an experiment on third graders, students were divided into two groups. The answer: “Kids who acted out the story did better on this problem,” Beilock said. “What was important was matching the words with specific action; that led to enhanced learning,” Beilock said. This area of study, called “embodied learning,” is not new to many educators. Increasingly scientists are proving Montessori right.

Super quick motivating activities: building the story An engaging speaking activity for intermediate level learners Instructions: Get learners to select an interesting image from their course book, preferably one that has a few people doing something.Arrange the class into groups to talk about it.Tell them as a group to choose one person in the picture and to think in detail about them; they can decide any number of things: the person’s name; their age; their job; what they are saying or thinking; how they are feeling; where they are going; what they have in their bag; who they are visiting, and so on.Get each learner in the group to help build up as big a story as possible using only the picture as a source of inspiration. Images are a great source of inspiration. Language focus: While the image can be from anywhere in the course materials, it might be a good idea to get learners to focus on using a target structure you have recently covered in class. Who was he? Make it motivating: Alternatives:

Waking the Brain with Morning Stretches You might remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about my take away from the Kagan training that I attended and how I was planning to Refocus Our Classroom. One of the big ideas that I touched on was waking up the brain through big muscle movement. So this month for the Bright Ideas link up I am sharing how it is going. The short version is that it is amazing! The long version isn't all that long, so I will share it with you. Each morning, after our class meeting, we do a series of stretches. To perform this stretch you simply start by reaching your right hand across the midline of your body as far left as you can while simultaneously stepping your right foot back. Then you repeat with the left side and say, "Cookies!" The first time we did this I chose milk and cookies, but now each time we name two items to say. I have found that by doing this each morning it helps all of us to wake up and be in a better mood to start our learning!

ESL Thoughts and Ideas: John Lewis Christmas Adverts Level: Pre-intermediate with lots of vocabulary support. Vocabulary assistance required for the newspaper articles. For me the Christmas adverts are a part of the beginning of Christmas. What is your idea of Christmas?