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Shabazz City High School : Name Games & Ice Breakers

Two Truths and a Lie

In this ice breaker, individuals are either divided into pairs or small groups. Each student is asked to identify two truths (two things about themselves that are true) and one lie (one thing that is not true) and when they tell their partner or group members, they have to guess which one of the three statements is the fib. This ice breaker gives students an opportunity to be creative and flexible in selecting their information to share. It also heightens their awareness of verbal and nonverbal cues in their language as they try not to convey (through their body language and vocal inflection) which one of their statements is the lie. On the other hand, it encourages active listening because the group members must decipher which one is not true--they have a goal to accomplish.

Rock - Paper - Scissors - Chant

rock, papper, scissors

Rock - Paper - Scissors - Chant begins with the entire group being divided into pairs. Each person says their name, they play Rock - Paper - Scissors, and the winner of that game takes on the winner of another game.  The person who lost their game, chants the name of the person who won it. For example, Courtney and Josh play each other, while Noah and Lane play each other. Courtney wins her game and Noah wins his game. Courtney takes on Noah while Josh chants Courtney's name and Lane chants Noah's name. If Noah wins, he will take on another winner while Courtney, Josh, and Noah chant his name. The game continues until only one winner remains. The chanting continues throughout.  As the number of winners decreases, the number of chanters increases, so it can get quite loud, but it is a fun way to get to know everyone's names.  The repetition serves as a tool to reinforce. The more games you play, the more names you will know. It is helpful to clarify the method/rules of rock - paper - scissors for anyone who has never played or has played a different variation. This game is fun because it appeals to competitive spirits, but also builds camaraderie as the losers become the chanters and move up the rungs of the competition.

Hammer or a Nail?

The purpose of Hammer or a Nail? is to have students introduce themselves to the whole group and then state whether they are more like a hammer or more like a nail and explain why. The hammer or nail can easily be replaced with Sun or Moon? Mountains or Ocean? Bike or Canoe? or any other two items.  The question phrasing could also be altered to say "Which do you prefer..." or "If you had to spend the next ten years...". This particular ice breaker is useful to use when you want a quick one.  It doesn't require separating into partners/groups or providing a detailed explanation of how it works. It is also good for students who are reluctant to share too many personal details about their life. They do not have to generate the content of the ice breaker themselves, they are provided with the options and simply have to choose.

Action Syllables

jazz hands

In Action Syllables, the group stands in a large circle with at least a wing span between them and the person next to them. Caution: Make sure objects and other people are out of the way! Each person will introduce him or herself by saying their name and then breaking their name down into separate syllables and completing an action to go along with each syllable. For example, I would say, "Hi, my name is Amanda. A (kick right leg) Man (spin around in a circle) Da (snap left hand).  Then, the rest of the group repeats the syllables and actions back in unison. This name game is effective because it connects physical movement with the sounds of the name. The repetition of the individual's actions with the rest of the group builds group cohesion because everyone moves together.  This may not be a good game to play with people who have limited physical mobility because they may feel uncomfortable when they cannot perform the same actions as everyone else.

Big Wind Blows

For the Big Wind Blows, everyone (minus one) stands in a circle on top of a paper plate. The minus one stands in the middle. The person in the middle will introduce him/herself and say, "When the big wind blows everyone who (characteristic about themselves) moves". Then, if the characteristic applies to anyone standing on a paper plate, they (and the original person standing in the middle) have to move to find a new spot--at least three plates away. This game mirrors musical chairs in the sense that the last person without a paper plate will be the person in the middle. They begin a new round with "When the big wind blows..." and they choose a new characteristic to shout. The characteristic about themselves may be "loves rocky road ice cream," "is allergic to cats," "wears contacts," "has two brothers," etc. It is a way for the person in the center to have the spotlight, say his/her name, and find commonalities with the rest of the group. It is best when the characteristic is something that might not be obvious or apparent just by looking at the individual. It is great to use as an energizer when people have been sitting because it is kinesthetic. As the game goes on, people will end up in the middle who have already gone, so you may need to moderate and encourage people on the plates to enter the middle if they haven't had a turn.