The following are ideas for icebreakers which are very simple to use with primary grade children, especially if you have some basic technology at your disposal. They can be used when the teachers arrive or as part of an opening morning program. One of the advantages is that they can be more exciting and stimulating than a traditional trivia quiz. It means that the whole class doesn’t get involved all at once but students in small groups take it in turns – this is great for peer learning later on…
A typical trivia-style question could be:
“Where do we find water?
(a) in rivers; (b) in lakes; or (c) from a tap?”
You have various options here. Firstly, you can conduct these trivia questions as a class quiz. If you think that the students may find the trivia questions too hard, too easy or if they are not paying attention, then you could conduct the trivia quiz in two rounds.
In round one you ask trivia questions pertinent to just one group of students and then for round two ask trivia questions which pertain to another set of students who were not involved in round one.
It’s also really good with trivia quizzes to put up pictures or photographs relevant to each question as an aid – so for example if it is “where do we find water?” You can show a picture of fish swimming in rivers and lakes and someone using a hosepipe!
Alternatively, you can conduct an icebreaker where instead of doing trivia questions, everyone in the class is involved in a trivia game.
For this, you need to set up some trivia “question cards”. Each question can go on one of these trivia cards and then be placed face down on the table or floor – depending upon how large the class is! When they are all ready, ask your students to sit in their usual circle time area.
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They will only see ONE question card at a time (this works best if you conduct it by asking them to stand up when they see their own trivia card). In this way, everyone gets involved but it means that those children with special needs who may find trivia questions too difficult can still participate because they have just one card to look at instead of having more trivia cards than non-disabled children. Alternatively you can ask students to sit out of circle time if trivia questions are beyond their ability.
If it is a trivia game, then when they see their trivia card, the children have to answer the trivia question. For younger children who may need help with answering a trivia question – perhaps provide some hints beforehand such as posting a few sample trivia questions on the board. Tips for icebreakers like this include:
- Make sure that there is always an option in each trivia game which addresses special needs or other considerations (e.g. “In what shape are oranges?”). This means that everyone gets involved and those who can’t read or don’t speak English very well get a chance too!
- It’s usually best not to hold up trivia cards for more than a couple of seconds. This helps the students to concentrate on their trivia question instead of on other trivia cards being held up at the same time!
- If using trivia cards, try to use trivia cards which have pictures or photographs if possible as this helps all children who may not speak English very well.
- For obvious reasons you need to remove trivia questions which are too difficult or will cause conflict (e.g. “Who is your best friend?”).
- You can also include some visual trivia games where everyone can see what you are looking at during the trivia question period – such as photographs, word searches, crosswords puzzles and simple codes etc…