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Icebreakers help to build community in the classroom- they are important when helping students socialize and connect with their peers. In addition, icebreakers promote and encourage cooperative learning/group work. They are great for pairing students and encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone. Most importantly, they can stimulate meaningful classroom dialogue.
- help students to get to know each other.
- help to a create sense of comfort.
- encourage cooperation
- encourage students to communicate with the entire group- not just their "buddies".
- help to build social skills
- are great for creaing an environment conducive to promoting higher order thinking driven by student voice
Students are not always eager to socialize and move around in a new setting. It is important that you (the teacher/leader of the group ) serve as an enthusiastic faciliator during each icebreaker activity. You should be willing to hop in and move the dialogue around when necessary. Make sure that when you call on students to share out, you choose carefully. Try to avoid "putting someone on the spot". Here is a rule of thumb: If it is a general non-personal response, you might want to gently nudge a student to share out. When it is a more personal response, requiring a student to answer based on feelings or personal experiences, it is best to wait for them to feel confident/comfortable to share. The goal is to make not of the more shy students and begin pairing them in the future with the more outgoing students. Eventually (hopefully), they will begin to open up more.