July 28, 2016

Back-to-School Ice Breaker

BTS Ice Breaker, grades 4 -8

I have a confession to make: I hate ice breakers, and I have always hated ice breakers.  When I see those dreaded words at the top of a meeting agenda, it sends an icy chill down my spine -- apropos to its name I guess! Always desperate to escape this forced bit of "fun", I start to plan a way out. Perhaps I really need to use the restroom, or there's an important call that simply can't wait a second longer!

To my mind, these are the biggest ice-breaker offenders:
  • - They are forced and unnatural

  • - If you get stuck in an uncomfortable conversation with someone, you're trapped until time is called ... and doesn't that always feel like forever?!

  • - The questions are tired and old. They frequently yield information I don't find interesting and don't find interesting to share about myself. 

  • - There's too high an expectation that they're going to be a big hit, so when it falls flat, it feels a little like the birthday scene from Office Space:

So I set out to make a better mouse-trap, as they say, to minimize the things I hate about the typical ice-breakers. What I've made is a little like speed dating, with a lot of moving around, and quicker interactions that feel a little less stressful. 

Plus, kids actually get to talk to everyone in the class and it comes with a set of 40 questions, so no one has to listen to the same answers over and over! Another thing that's great about it is that students will hear a lot of different questions they can keep in their "back pocket" for if/when they need to break an awkward silence at lunch or in the halls!  

As a public service to all those who have felt my pain, I'm sharing it for free in my store. :) 


But ... where are the BTS STEM Challenges? 

You make an excellent point. STEM challenges are a fantastic, organic way for kids to get to know each other, so why on Earth wouldn't I mention them in a BTS blog post?! Especially since that's almost solely what I write about??? And since I've made a set of challenges especially for the season??? 

It's killing me, actually, that I can't tell you more about it here, because I wrote about my Back-to-School STEM challenges as a guest post for a colleague's blog that goes live August 4th. This means I really can't post about them here too. 

Two things to tide you over: I will link the product below, and as soon as the guest post is live, you can check back here for a link to that post! You can also get a sneak peek on my YouTube channel!

Full of awesomeness! Click here!

I'm linking up this month with some of my favorite bloggers! Check out their great ideas!

photo credit: Social via photopin (license)
photo credit: Friends via photopin (license)
Clipart: Hidesy's Clipart 
Fonts: Khyrs Bosland


  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful freebie!

  2. These questions are terrific; they'll be great for conversation starters. Thanks, Kerry!