Wednesday, 15 August 2012

ISSOS Icebreakers

In the very 1st session of my Pre-IB course for ISSOS I met my 16 students for the first time and so there was a fair amount of 'getting to know you' to do.

I should probably point out at this point that ISSOS ensure that there is a maximum of 10% of students from any one country and so the 16 students I have taught over the past 3 and a bit weeks all have English as their 2nd, 3rd or in one case, 4th language. This in itself was a whole new experience for me having only really had 1 or 2 EAL students in a class of 30.

I had to seriously slow down the level at which I speak, and even then I found I forgot and had to remind myself; this was mainly due to the high levels of my students spoken English - they were phenomenal!

So, to start the session I gave each student a sticky label to write their name on. Then, after briefly asking each student to state their name so we all knew how to pronounce them correctly, I got the class to split themselves into 2 rows of 8 along the back of the class. I did this by getting the 1st 8 students on the left of the class to move their chairs so they faced me and then got the remaining 8 students on the right of the class to move their chairs in front of the students that were lined up on the back wall.
I then (on my Prezi that I had created for the session) flashed up a topic that I wanted each pair (the students were now sat in 8 pairs facing each other) to talk about. These were simple topics ranging from where they were from to what they were studying at ISSOS and the 2012 London Olympics. I gave the pairs 2 minutes before the online timer rang We then held a brief feedback session where students were asked to volunteer anything interesting they had heard/spoken about, then I reset the timer and the students were told to move one place to their right (ensuring that no students were sat opposite the person they had just spoken with. This 'Speed Dating' style icebreaker seemed to work really well and I was astounded as to how great my students were at speaking to each other (people they had only just met) with such ease and excitement.

Next, after speaking about the IB and getting students to write any questions they had about the IB on post-it notes, I gave the class a 'pub quiz' to do in teams of 4. In order to do the teams I just split the class into the groups of 4 that they were currently sat in. As the room was laid out in a U-shape seating position I used the 4 students sat on the very left, 4 students sat on the very right, and then split the 8 students sat along the back of the 'U' in 2 to make the other 2 groups. I then got the teams to come up with a team name (of which all of the groups made with each of their initials forming some sort of acronym!) and then started the quiz. This was a simple way to get the students to start working with each other and meeting new people, it also tested their general knowledge/music/geography/logos etc.

At the end of the session I used my 'Tweets Plenary' to get them to think about what they had enjoyed about the session. There were lots of positive feedback about the icebreakers and the 'meeting new people' element to the session. Weirdly, as I'm copying the link to this post in it was exactly a year a go today!! :)

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