Saturday, July 18, 2015

Breaking the Ice

Sharing ideas. That's one element I enjoy about reading blogs. Even though I didn't write my own post yesterday, I read some really good ones (keeping up with my blog-a-day challenge). But I couldn't decide on one to write about. My biggest fan/critic has been adamant that I need to use my blog to showcase my own ideas, thoughts, and experiences. While I understand that, I am also a life-long learner and I don't mind sharing from that point of view as well. I get the point, though, and This Blog Is Why I plan to discuss one of my favorite activities... ICEBREAKERS!!
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Educators in the summer are in plan mode and may be searching for the perfect team-building activity. I want to share a couple of my favorite icebreakers that you can use in a classroom, faculty meeting, or a conference session. The first one is really easy and only requires you to have pictures of four different shapes: a circle, a square, a triangle, and a squiggle. Before starting, you will set them up around the room. Next, ask your audience to answer the question: "What Shape Is Your Personality?" and instruct them to go stand beside or under that shape. They must choose only one. There may be some groans. Yes, you have to get up out of your seat and move! But once the discussion starts, those groans will turn to laughs and "aha" moments. Finally, you will read the descriptions for each shape and invite your audience to move if they decide they made a wrong choice. The last time I did this activity with my faculty/staff, I found myself in a room full of squiggles and I was one of only two squares. What a lively bunch! Poor me, or poor them. You decide. 
The links below can help you create descriptions to use with this icebreaker:

The next icebreaker takes a little longer and requires the use of a computer. I love using it with my college level students because I think it helps them learn how they prefer to work. It has also made group projects easier as they begin to understand each other and what makes someone else tick. The conversations that arise from this activity are well worth the time and effort. Now, this is a cheap/free version of the popular Meyers-Briggs assessment, which I highly recommend educators invest in at some point in their career. I completed this in college and again in my Principal Induction Program. My results scream: "Hey, this is just who I am!" and they were exactly the same both times. In case you're wondering, I am an 'ISTJ'--quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Yep, sounds like me. I even gave this quiz to my biggest fan/critic. Better than couples therapy. ;-)

The link below is for the "Jung Typology Test":

When you find that this little quiz improves your school's culture, builds a positive classroom environment, or saves your relationship, you can thank me later. Just drop me a line!

This is one of my favorite icebreakers to share during my in-person sessions. As participants enter the room, they select a piece of candy that best describes their personality (or just pick your favorite). Next, I have them divide into groups and share why they decided to attend the session or something they hope to learn. Each person shares and then I read the descriptors. At this time, people can switch groups if the personality type doesn't truly fit them. Fun, easy, and you get the room talking.

                                            Photo Credit: Alyson Carpenter @alysoncarp1

You can also connect with me on Twitter @MsClassNSession or LinkedIn:
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