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Ice Breakers: Circle Games

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At the beginning of every semester, a drama teacher has a difficult challenge. How does one get twenty three complete strangers to quickly become friends and colleagues?

Circle Ice Breakers help students and teachers learn names, project voices, and express themselves. Each one of these activities provides an entertaining experience. The games may be simple enough for elementary students, but teens will have just as much fun, if not more!

There are many variations of these activities, but the first and foremost step is to form a circle so that all of the participants can clearly see one another.

Name Game:

This is an ideal first day activity. Each person announces her name while stepping forward and striking a pose that reflects her personality.

For example, Emily might hop out, angle her arms like an Egyptian hieroglyphic and joyously shout, “Emily!” Then, everyone else jumps forward and copies Emily’s voice and movement. Afterwards, the circle returns to normal, and then it’s on to the next person. It’s a great way for everyone to introduce themselves.

World's Greatest Sandwich:

In this fun memory game, the players sit in a circle. One person begins by saying his/her name and then states what ingredient goes on the sandwich.

Example: "My name is Kevin, and the World's Greatest Sandwich has pickles." The next person in the circle announces their name and says Kevin's ingredient as well as her own. "Hi, my name is Sarah, and the World's Greatest Sandwich has pickles and popcorn." If the instructor chooses, everyone can chant along as the sandwich grows. The last time I played this game, we ended up with a Pickle-popcorn-meatball-chocolate-syrup-grass-eyeball-lettuce-pixiedust sandwich. This activity helps the students build memorization skills. And at the finally, have the kids pantomime taking a bite.

Whoozit:

For this game, one person is chosen to be the “Seeker.” After that person leaves the room, another person is chosen to be the “Whoozit.” This player makes constant rhythmic motions that change every twenty seconds or so. For example, first the Whoozit might clap his hands, then snap fingers, then pat his head.

The other circle members discretely follow along. The Seeker then enters, hoping to figure out which student is the Whoozit.

Standing in the middle of the circle, she gets three guesses while the Whoozit tries his best to constantly switch actions without being noticed.

Rhyme Time:

In this fast paced game, the instructor stands in the center of the circle. She names a setting and a situation. Then, she points to one of the players at random.

Using improvisation skills, the player begins telling a story with a single sentence. For example, he might say, “I just found out I have a long lost twin.” The instructor then points to a new speaker who must continue the story and the rhyme. Example: “I guess Mom tossed a coin and my Bro didn’t win.”

The rhymes are couplets, so the next chosen player creates a new line of the story with a new sound. The improvised tale goes on until a student fails to produce a rhyme. Then he sits in the middle of the circle. This goes on until the circle shrinks down to one or two champions.

Instructors should make certain to increase the speed as the game progresses. Players may want to prohibit tricky words like orange, purple and month.

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