What are some ice breakers for teachers in grades K-2?

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Answered by: Carmen, An Expert in the How Teachers Can Break the Ice Category
Being a classroom teacher is an important responsibility, and one of the most valued qualities of an educator is to create a loving, caring environment for all children. It's vital for teachers to create a sense of community and togetherness for true learning to occur in the general and hidden curriculum. Ice breakers are a great way to teach children about social responsibility, public speaking, and community. Here are a few ice breakers that incorporate movement, speaking, and teamwork. Although the grade levels are indicated, each of these ice breakers for teachers can be adapted to the specific grade level with a little creativity.

Kindergarten Ice Breaker- Animal Antics

Encourage children to think about their favorite animals. Once every child has chosen an animal, ask them to think about what that animal acts like. Give the children time to plan out some movements that they will then demonstrate to the class. It would be beneficial for the teacher to act out an animal first. This will increase the likelihood that more children will participate in the activity and model acceptable behaviors. Take turns going around the room and having each child act like his/her animal would act. Once the action is completed, the teacher should ask some students to guess the animal. As soon as the correct answer is given, the child should say, "My name is_______, and my favorite animal is a(n)_____________." If the children cannot guess the animal, ask the performing child some questions like, "Where does your animal live? What does your animal eat?" If possible, allow the acting child to choose the next participant.

First Grade Ice Breaker- Walk the Plank

This activity is better done after the children know each other's names, usually about the 7-10 days of school. Teacher can create a plank from wooden blocks, tape on the floor, or some other method. The students will sit in a circle and be the shark-filled ocean. They will clap their hands together to simulate shark infested waters. One student at a time will be the pirate. The teacher will ask the student another student's name. If the pirate answers correctly, he/she walks the plank without the sharks biting. If the pirate answers incorrectly, the sharks will come to life. This is a fun game that encourages active listening, student participation, and important social development activities with names and enjoyable, harmless competition.

Second Grade Ice Breaker- Tunnel Runners

This ice breaker is designed to get children moving and to recognize other children's names, likes, or other personality traits. This game is very enjoyable, so it is likely that they will want to play it again in the future. To begin the ice breaker, all students stand behind their desks and chairs. The teacher will then walk around the room and say, "This student's name is ___________." If the teacher says the right name, the students drop to their knees and crawl under their desks and pop out on the other side (also known as running the tunnel). If the teacher says the wrong name, students stay standing behind their chairs. If a tunnel runner makes an incorrect choice, he/she has to verbally make the correction and then continue to play the game.

Ice breakers are a great way to reinforce social and academic skills. They can be used throughout the year to enhance or improve teamwork, kindness, and working together. As a teacher, your approach to improving social cohesion is essential to maximize learning, so use these ice breakers for teachers to improve your classroom managment and student engagement.

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