Get to Know Your New Students During COVID With Activities by Grade Level

Written by Dreamscape

As new students enter your classroom, it may be hard to get to know them virtually. Listed is a different ice breaker activity for each grade level, from grade 1 to grade 8. 

Grade 1

Activity Idea: Self-portrait

Ask your students to grab a piece of paper, their favourite coloured markers or pencils, and challenge them to create a self-portrait along with their favourite activities. This is both a creative activity for students a way to quickly learn something new about each student. Their creation can reveal their interests and sense of self, as well as shed light on their attention spans and their ability to complete an independent task. 

Grade 2

Activity Idea: Name Movement Association

As each student states their name for the class, they accompany their name with a simultaneous movement. All other students will then repeat the name with the corresponding action and then will move on to the next student. This exercise can help both you and your students with remembering names. It can also provide a bit of insight into the student’s personality by the action that they choose. 

Grade 3

Activity Idea: Dicebreakers

If you have a die, you can play Dicebreakers! For each side of the die, create a question. With your class, you will go student by student, rolling the die and having them answer the corresponding question. This way, each student can answer a different, fun question while getting to know their classmates. The questions can be anything from “if you had a superpower, what would it be and why?” to “What is one thing you are good at?”. Get creative! 

Grade 4

Activity Idea: Pass The Story 

Pass The Story is a game where kids can let their creative flags fly. To play the game, one person starts by saying, “Once upon a time…”. Each student can only contribute four words at a time; they can be any four words so long as they build onto the story. For example, the next student could then say, “there was a cow…”. The game continues until all students have participated, and the story concludes. This game is cool as it allows all students to make a contribution and feel included, while also giving you, the teachers, an idea of the personalities of your students by their answers. 

Grade 5

Activity Idea: Hope and Fears

First, students write down either on a piece of paper or type their highest hopes for the school year. Then, they write down their greatest fears for the upcoming school year. Students then go on and send these to you, the teacher. You will then combine all of the same answers and similar answers in each category and will present the anonymous findings to the class. Then, you can go through all answers, addressing the shared fears, and discuss the general hopes. This exercise is a great reflection tool to get to know students’ expectations for the upcoming school year and allows you, the teacher, to figure out a plan to address anything if needed proactively. It also allows students to feel more connected to their classmates if they can see that everyone has similar concerns to them. 

Grade 6

Activity Idea: One Random Object

Students have to select one unusual object from their surrounding room. They then have to describe what it is without giving away the name of the item. Other students can then raise their hands and guess what the object is. Both guesses and the objects themselves can surprise you while revealing students’ problem-solving abilities with a humorous dialogue. After the student shows the item, the student can then go on to explain why they have this particular object and if there is any story to go along with it. 

Grade 7

Activity Idea: Desert Island

Divide your class into small groups of 3-5 students. Provide the entire class with a prompt such as “you are stranded on a desert island with your group, but before getting stuck, each group member was able to grab one item.”. Each group will split off into discussion groups and figure out the articles they want to bring. These must be items students have with them as they will have to go and grab them from their house to bring back to the class call. After all, items are collected, teams will return to the group call and present their objects as a group. Try to encourage students to be as creative as possible, as that is when the personality of each student shows. 

Grade 8

Activity Idea: About Me Pinterest Board

Students will create personalized Pinterest Boards, consisting of 10 pins that sum up their personality or interests. These boards can then be shared with both you, the teacher, as a means to get to your students, as well as other students, where they can find common interests with each other. This activity is an independent and creative way to get to know your students. Still, it requires students to create a Pinterest account, so this may be an activity to let your students know about in advance and allow them to work on it over some time. Whether or not you come together and discuss the board is up to you!


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