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The ice-breakers posted on LRNASST sound great! Here is another, one that
should be conducted the first day of class, right at the beginning of the
class. One of the best ways I have found to "enerize" your classroom is to
leave it! Tell students that you are going to leave the classroom for five
minutes, and that when you return, you want each student to be able to
introduce five classmates to you on a first-name basis. How are they going to
do this? That is up to them. Just do it! Then, leave the clas for the allotted
time. When you come back, 5 - 10 minutes later, you will find an energy level
that is sadly lacking in most of our developmental classrooms. Point this out
to your class, and then ask for a volunteer to introduce 5 students. You will
almost always get one, two, or three people to volunteer. If you don't, pick
out a student who looks as though he/she won't mind "being volunteered." As the
students are introduced, repeat their names and welcome them to the class. This
activity is a terrific way to jump-start your class and let students know that
they will be active learners, that the normal "passive mind-set" that so many
of our students bring to class won't work in your class. With no instruction
from you on how the students are to learn the names of five others, you have
put them on the spot - they have to do it, and they have to figure out how to
do it. Some will write the names down, others will commit the names to memory,
others will not just give the names of 5 classmates, they will include other
information about the people they are introducing. After the introductions, you
can then tell students what you are expecting of them for the semester, and,
believe me, you will have their attention!