As the summer break comes to an end, many TalentEd students will be returning to programmes with the tutors they met last year, continuing the good work they started , some however, will be starting new programmes and meeting their tutors for the first time. 

This can be a challenging time for both tutor and student while they settle in and get to know each other, building that relationship of trust and understanding is the key to a well-run programme, and so we thought it would be good to give some tips on icebreaker exercises that you can do with your students to get your sessions off to a great start.

As  former teachers, School Relations Managers, Jess and Abi, give their tips on icebreakers that help students to feel more confident and comfortable on a new programme.

Two Truths and a Lie

Students write two true facts about themselves and a believable lie on separate slips of paper. The students then give them to their tutor or teacher, who mixes them up and reads them out in turn. The students then have to guess two things: 1. Who the fact belongs to. 2. Whether it is a truth or a lie. Whilst the group are guessing, the students have to play it cool in order to make it as hard as possible for the others to guess correctly.

Fabulous Flags

Each student is given pens/crayons and a piece of A4 paper. They are then tasked with creating a flag that represents their personality. For example, a student who enjoys BMX cycling, grime music, and is half French might draw symbols or images that represent these things. A tutor or teacher may want to set a time limit on the activity. Each student is then invited to talk through their design. As an additional option, the flags can be stuck together to represent a shared group identity

20 Questions/Who Am I?

A good way to get students mingling more freely, this activity will require the use of Post-It notes.  Each student writes the name of a famous person on a Post-It note and then sticks the note onto another student’s back.  The second student does not know the identity of their famous person, so they must find out by asking other people in the class questions.  These questions can either be free or restricted to yes/no answers.  The activity ends when all of the students have found out the identity of their famous person.  It’s a good idea to keep the students moving by limiting how many questions they can ask each person in the class.  This will encourage them to speak to different people, which is, after all, the purpose of the exercise. 

Word Association

This is another game that’s useful for getting students to think on their feet.  Again, everyone stands in a circle and the first student says a word, any word.  The next student must say a word that is connected with the first.  This continues around the class.  For example, if the first student says “sun,” the second may say “sky,” as the sun is in the sky.   To this, the third might say “blue,” as the sky is blue.  To make it more difficult a time element can be introduced to force the students to think quickly.

We are excited to hear about all of the new relationships flourishing within new schools this term, and hope that our tutors are as excited as we are to get working with new high-ability young people.

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