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26 Ideas For Ways To Break The Ice With High School Students

Starting high school can be terrifying for some children – new classes, new teachers, and a whole lot of other students.

Icebreakers are used in all sorts of settings to ease people in, and they’re an asset when it comes to settling high school children into a new class.

Ways To Break The Ice With High Schoolers

In this guide, we’ve included 26 ideas of ways to break the ice with high schoolers.

1. Current Pop Culture References

By this age, teens will have solid favorites, so start a conversation about a trending movie, TV show, song, or celebrity to spark interest.

High schoolers are often up-to-date with current pop culture, and this can be an easy way to initiate a conversation and find common ground.

2. Interactive Activities

Many teenagers will roll their eyes at the thought of an interactive activity, but they always end up enjoying it.

Organize group games or activities like “Two Truths and a Lie”, where each person says three statements about themselves – two of which are true and one is false.

The students then have to try and guess which statement is the lie.

This is a fun way for students to learn unique things about one another.

3. Open-Ended Questions

Ask open-ended questions that encourage your class to share their experiences or opinions, such as “What was the best part of your summer?” or “What’s something you’re passionate about?”

This can allow teens to see who has similar viewpoints to them so they can form friendships.

4. Share Personal Stories

Sharing a personal anecdote or experience can make you seem more relatable.

This can be a nerve-wracking activity, but it can help students empathize and bond with one another.

Make sure the story is appropriate and resonates with their age group.

5. Discuss Extracurricular Activities

High schoolers often participate in various activities outside of regular school hours, so ask them to share information with the group about their hobbies, sports they play, or clubs they are part of.

This is a great way to establish common ground with other students.

6. Technology And Social Media

Most teenagers spend a LOT of time on their phones and consoles, so ask about their favorite apps, video games, or social media platforms.

This not only helps you understand their digital world but can also lead to deeper conversations about online safety and digital etiquette.

7. Books And Reading

While not all high schoolers are avid readers, discussing popular young adult novels or authors might spark interest in those who are.

Even if they aren’t into reading, this can lead to a conversation about other forms of media they consume.

8. Future Aspirations

It may feel like early days for many teens, but talk about their plans for after high school.

Whether it’s college, a gap year, or entering the workforce, it can be a good way to understand their perspectives and ambitions from the off.

9. Host a Q&A Session

Instead of focusing all the questions on your students, allow them to ask questions about you.

It not only breaks the ice but also gives you insights into what they’re curious about.

This tactic also helps to build a bond between you and your class.

10. Group Work

Group work helps to break the ice as students have to communicate with one another.

Encourage teamwork through small projects or discussions.

By working together, students naturally get to know one another and start forming bonds.

11. Visual Prompts

Use photos, images, or videos to stimulate conversation with your class.

For instance, show a funny meme or an interesting photograph and ask them to share their thoughts or reactions.

You can also ask them for ideas on their favorites – as long as they are appropriate to share with the class.

12. Trivia Quizzes

Create or find quizzes related to their interests. For example, a quiz about popular music artists or famous movie quotes can be engaging.

13. Icebreaker Cards

Prepare cards with fun and thought-provoking questions. Pass them around and have each student pull one to answer.

ways to break the ice with high schoolers

14. Music & Playlists

Ask them about their favorite songs and artists.

Perhaps even consider creating a class playlist where everyone contributes a song.

15. Introduce A Debate Topic

Bring up a light, non-controversial debate topic and let them discuss it.

This gives you an insight into their thinking process and can be a fun way for them to interact.

16. Show & Tell

This activity is an oldie but a goodie.

Ask them to bring something meaningful or interesting from home and talk about it.

17. Virtual Interactions

If you’re working with students online, use digital tools and platforms to engage them.

For example, Kahoot! for quizzes or collaborative platforms like Padlet.

18. Cultural Conversations

Encourage them to talk about their cultural backgrounds, traditions, or festivals they celebrate. This can be an enlightening experience for everyone involved.

19. Local Events & Happenings

Discussing local news or events, such as a school football game or a local festival, can be a great way to start a conversation.

This is another way to understand what the students enjoy.

20. Field Trips

Sometimes, getting the kids out of the classroom can open them up.

Even a short trip outside the classroom, like to the school garden or library, can serve as an ice-breaking experience.

21. Discuss Personal Achievements

Allow them to share recent achievements, big or small.

It could be anything from a sporting achievement to a personal project they’ve completed.

This helps teens to build their confidence.

22. Feedback Session

Teens who are frustrated about certain classes will often act out.

Provide a safe space for them to share feedback about classes, teaching methods, or any topic they feel needs addressing.

As a group, you can discuss tactics for addressing any issues.

23. Goal Sharing

Ask them about their goals for the year – academic, personal, or otherwise.

Sharing goals can lead to mutual support and understanding among peers.

They can also share ideas on how they can help one another achieve their goals.

24. Common Interests Bingo

Add hobbies to a sheet of paper and encourage your students to move around the class and speak to their peers to find out who has the same interests as them.

Again, this helps to spark conversation and build early friendships.

Plus, it’s good to get the kids up and out of their seats.

25. Mystery Bag

Fill a bag with various random items. Pass it around and let each student pull out an item and talk about it.

It can be an opportunity for them to fabricate a story or connect it to a personal experience.

It’s a fun way to get the creative juices flowing and learn about each other.

26. Dream Dinner Party

Ask them to think about whom they’d invite to their dream dinner party. It can be a mix of historical figures, celebrities, fictional characters, or even people from their own lives.

This provides insights into their interests and heroes and helps them feel they’re being treated like a grown-up by talking about a dinner party.

In Summary

Starting high school and beginning new classes with new teachers and peers is never easy, but icebreaker activities can make all the difference.

As teachers, we want to build confidence from the off and allow students to settle into their new surroundings as quickly as possible, and certain activities can really help with this.

We’ve included 26 ways to break the ice with high schoolers above – do you have any other tips?

Simon Lewis

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