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Brilliant Icebreakers for Online Classes

Icebreakers for online classes or meetings to strengthen class proceedings and interaction. Connect with your students through quick icebreaker activities and stimulate better learning.

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How many of us teachers have fretted over the pertinent questions; In what ways can I get my class to feel comfortable before the start of a lesson?

Can I make more students participate in my classroom discussions?

It is always a challenge to start the class in an exciting way and now, with online courses as the norm, will the traditional ice breakers work there too? The importance of icebreakers in the classroom is such that with a change in the educational environment, the ice breakers have to be re-designed as well to achieve their objective.

What are icebreakers?

Wait, if you aren’t sure what exactly are icebreakers for Online Classes. Let us understand what it is and why it is essential for you to introduce icebreaker activities for students.
Icebreakers are short activities conducted at the beginning of courses, meetings, or classroom sessions that engage students with teachers/instructors. They can be questions, prompts, or other forms of engagement related to the course.

According to Michigan State University Extension, in any meeting, it is essential to create a safe space for participants. When individuals feel accepted and protected, both physically and emotionally, they are more likely to participate in the learning and discussions.

And icebreaker activities help you do that! Moreover, you can employ them easily; for students in elementary classes as well as for adults.

Icebreakers vs Energisers

There is confusion between icebreakers and energisers, and many feel they are the same. But they aren’t. They both differ in their purpose.
An icebreaker is usually a short activity, around 15 minutes, which preps up the class for a new course or topic or even gets the participants ready for an online meeting.
Energisers are quick spurts of activities to re-energise a meeting or a class. They come in handy when the participants become disinterested and you need to get them to focus again.

Importance of Icebreakers in the Classroom

icebreakers for online classes

Educators swear by icebreakers. Icebreakers for online teaching, classroom icebreakers for adults and Icebreakers for online classes are some of the most searched icebreaker topics on the internet. Why are they so popular?

 

  1. They create a relaxed atmosphere in the class, making the students readily share their ideas, doubts, etc.
  2. Icebreakers encourage participation, and students feel that they are active players in the learning process. Icebreakers make the students take ownership of learning.
  3. Students develop a good rapport and can work better in groups. Peer interaction rises, leading to better collaborative learning.
    The fun factor of icebreakers is hard to ignore. Students enjoy icebreakers and look forward to them. Learning improves when it starts with a thrilling icebreaker.
  4. Infact, with the online classes becoming the new norm it is a prerequisite for every teacher to introduce icebreakers for online classes. 

Icebreaker Ideas for Online Teaching

icebreakers for online classes

The importance of icebreakers in the classroom is unquestionable. You might not have realised it, but you may already be pursuing specific icebreakers activities for students in your class. Many activities that a teacher plans are icebreakers. To make them successful, you mustn’t keep repeating the activities and know which is the right icebreaker for a particular session.

Edulyte, with years of experience online tutoring different age groups and communities, has its favourite icebreakers, which we are sharing with you.

Complete my story

  • Give the participants a starting line related to the topic of the day.
  • Ask each participant to add a sentence to it, turn wise. Encourage them to make their sentences intriguing or funny.
  • It is a great way to make the participants comfortable with each other and have a few laughs.

Two truths and a lie

  • Each participant has to give three statements, out of which two should be true, and one should be a lie regarding the course.
  • The others have to guess which is a lie among the three statements.
  • It can be played as a competitive game, where each participant gets a point for guessing the lie.

Answer my question

  • Students can be given a question card each. Then, they have to ask the question on the card to the next person.
  • In an online class, the students’ names can be arranged. alphabet-wise so that they can ask a question to the next student as per the alphabet sequence.
Ice breaker activities and games go a long way in making learning inclusive and long-term. Be it asynchronous or offline teaching; short ice breakers set up a healthy learning environment. The right icebreakers for online teaching are necessary to kickstart effective learning.

Zoom Icebreakers for High School Students

Zoom is synonymous with online learning. So it’s imperative to use an icebreaker to create a dynamic online classroom environment. Zoom icebreakers for students motivate them to be engaged throughout the class duration.

Some of the activities that you can take up with them include:

Virtual show and tell

  • Students should be allowed to share clips of videos. The videos can be subject related or something they feel strongly about, like a song, a social issue, etc.
  • After sharing the video, they speak about it. Such an activity encourages everyone to speak and participate.

Guess who/what?

  • Students will place two questions related to a person or topic. Then, the rest of the class has to guess who or what is being referred to through the questions.
  • The students can place these questions on a slide and present them in an online course.

Blunders I made!

  • A riot, this activity breaks the ice easily in a class, and you can customise it related to a specific topic or keep it general.
  • Like: The blunders I made when I started my online classes; here, the students can share the mistakes they made while getting used to online learning.

Read Warm ups and Icebreakers to learn about more icebreakers for online teaching.

Classroom Icebreakers for Adults

The strategies that work with children might not work with adults. The icebreakers that we employ for school children might be considered childish during adult interactions. There are icebreakers designed for conferences, seminars, or parties. Their use can reduce tension and encourage participation in a group.

I am an expert!

  • An icebreaker that spells fun! The participants have to quickly think of all the talents that they have.
  • The more quirky the talent, the better! And they all have to say it in one sentence. So it can go like this:

I am an expert in doodling, fixing door handles, sleeping through an earthquake and playing chess!

My Movie Pitch

  • Who doesn’t enjoy movies?! So split people into as many groups as possible. Then, let them create a movie pitch and present it.
  • In the end, everyone votes on which movie deserves to be produced!

‘Stuff I don't like’ charades

  • Each participant has to express through actions what that person does not like. Sounds difficult? Well, that is the fun part!
  • Many laughs will happen when a participant tries explaining how they don’t like body odour or roller coasters!

21 Icebreaker questions for online meetings

 

Online meetings can be awkward; we all have felt that. Face to face meetings usually start with chit chats and informal exchange of pleasantries. Such interactions do not generally happen with online zoom sessions. Therefore, we have gathered icebreaker questions that can make you get to know each other. You wouldn’t dread the online meetings once you use these icebreaker questions.

Do keep in mind not to ask questions which are too personal and ensure you respect each other’s sensibilities.

  1. Which skill have you lately picked up?
  2. Is there a cuisine you are particularly fond of?
  3. Which book/author has inspired you the most?
  4. What is the first thing you wish to do on your next vacation?
  5. Has there been a moment that has turned your life around? What was it?
  6. How did you get your first job?
  7. What did you do with your first salary?
  8. What is the one thing you wish someone should have taught you long back?
  9. Have you been able to maintain a good work-life balance? How?
  10. Is there something that brings out the kid in you? What is it?
  11. What can impress you about a person?
  12. What has been your weirdest experience in life?
  13. What do you think is the most unfair thing in this world?
  14. What is a bad habit you wish you could get rid of?
  15. What is your guilty pleasure?
  16. Which hobby would you like to pursue?
  17. If given a chance, what kind of app would you develop?
  18. What is a mystery that you would like to solve?
  19. How do you unwind after a hard day at work?
  20. What is your favourite scene from a movie?
  21. What kind of music do you prefer?

Popular Icebreakers for Online Teaching

 

We all are settling into the online classes and accepting it as the “new normal” in education.To facilitate learning in the virtual scenario, it is essential to connect with the students, build relationships and improve the teaching-learning process.
Some icebreakers you can use to do this are:

  • Costume day

Let the children dress up the way they wish to, in their favourite superhero costume, as a cartoon character, etc. Due to such an activity, students will get excited and be in a great mood throughout the class.

  • Would you rather?

Ask students interesting questions: would you rather be an astronaut or a race driver? Would you rather have 100 friends or $10000? You may use Kahoot to present these questions. Students feel important and develop confidence when asked their opinion.

  • Use online tools

You can always fall back on online tools to create an engaging quiz, Bingo game, riddles, breakout rooms, etc. Try Kahoot, Google Forms, Padlet, Bingo, Canva, and Google Slides, and see how much the students get involved in the class after doing an icebreaker activity.

  • Share a pic

Ask the students to display a significant picture and talk about the reason for its importance. Children get to know each other better in such a manner, bringing the environment of offline classes to the online world of learning.

  • Our likes and dislikes

Divide the class into groups of 2-3 students. Allow them breakout rooms and 5 minutes of discussion time to figure out what likes or dislikes they have in common. At the end of 5 minutes, each group can share this information with the class. As a group activity, it allows the children to work together and enables them to express their thoughts and feelings.

Pro Tip: You can tweak the icebreakers mentioned above to create classroom icebreakers for adults.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an icebreaker in teaching?

Ice breakers are the kryptonite for boring classes. And that is why teachers swear by their usefulness in getting the class up and running.
Icebreakers are short activities conducted at the beginning of courses, meetings, or classroom sessions that engage students with teachers/instructors. They can be questions, prompts, or other forms of engagement related to the course.

What are some good icebreakers for online classes?

Every teacher/instructor has their set of favourite icebreakers. Some of the tried and tested icebreakers that we at Edulyte swear by are:

  • Scavenger Hunt
  • 2 truths and a lie
  • One word icebreaker
  • Have you ever?
  • Charades
  • Make your Bucket List
  • Bad Joke Contest
  • Answer my question

What is a fun ice breaker question?

Oh, there are many fun ice breaker questions! The main aim of having ice breakers is to make learning fun and allow the participants to get comfortable around each other.

What do icebreakers mean?

An icebreaker is usually a short activity that preps up the class for a new course or topic or even gets the participants ready for an online meeting.

How can icebreakers boost work productivity?

Ice breakers are like warm-up exercises. They set the mood for the meeting or interaction. Bonds between the participants get formed due to the icebreakers. As a result, the co-workers in a workplace or participants in a session can communicate better. Icebreakers dissipate tension and improve efficiency and productivity.

What are some of the icebreakers that I can use during an online meeting?

Many questions can easily remove the awkwardness felt in online meetings. Some of them are:

  • Has there been a moment that has turned your life around? What was it?
  • How did you get your first job?
  • What did you do with your first salary?
  • What is the one thing you wished someone should have taught you long back?
  • Have you been able to maintain a good work-life balance? How?
  • Is there something that brings out the kid in you? What is it?

What are some good online tools that I can use to create icebreakers in my online class?

You can always fall back on online tools to create an engaging quiz, Bingo game, riddles, breakout rooms, etc. Try Kahoot, Google Forms, Padlet, Bingo, Canva, and Google Slides, and see how much the students get involved in the class after doing an icebreaker activity.

What is a good icebreaker?

An icebreaker will be more impactful if there is constant interaction in the group. So conduct activities that make the participants move around, talk to each other and work in pairs or groups.

How long should an ice breaker last?

An icebreaker should not be too long to eat up the meeting/class time. An icebreaker should be between 5-20 minutes.

I wish to be an online tutor and learn techniques to improve my online teaching skills. Can Edulyte help me?

Of course, we have been mentoring teaching enthusiasts and assisting them in becoming successful online tutors.
If you meet our eligibility criteria, check out our Enrollment Process for tutors.

There are 4 steps in this process:

  1. Sign Up
  2. Initial Screening
  3. Teachers’ onboarding and training
  4. First Online class

The entire process takes up to 2 weeks. 

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