Warm up exercises and icebreakers

These exercises are designed to provide opportunities for group members to get to know each other. They also provide the confidence for large numbers of people to break into smaller groups. Some of these activities can also be expanded upon and made more specific in relation to unit of study content.

What's your sign An introductory exercise where students shout out their star signs and group themselves accordingly. Participants introduce themselves and discuss the role they think their star sign plays in their life (e.g. do you have common traits? How much do our signs influence us?). Report back (Scannell & Newstrom, 1983: 25).
Getting acquainted On a piece of paper student write their names and five words or phrases that tell others about themselves. Students circulate chatting (Newstrom & Scannell, 1983: 39).
Identification Students introduce themselves using personal items from their bags.
Book jacket Students introduce themselves via a book cover bio of themselves. Can be done in pairs, small groups or whole class.
Birthday line-up Without talking the whole group line themselves up in their birthday order (Snow, 1997: 57).
Icebreaker opening conversation A question is posed at the start of class for small groups or the whole group to discuss. Question/task can be generic or content specific, could also involve critical thinking (Williams, 1993: 204).
Bingo A matching activity requiring individuals to find others who meet a certain criteria (generic or content specific). When the sheet is filled the player yells 'bingo' (Bingham & Daniels, 1998: 19; Newstrom & Scannell, 1983: 47; Snow, 1997: 27).
Getting to know you Students share information about likes and dislikes of group work.
Sharing online experiences Each student reflects upon then shares a short message re their experiences with ICT or on line. Respond to the contributions of others, gel into a group of people with similar or different experiences. Also provides practice at writing short and succinct messages (Salmon, 2005). 
Post card Students send an online post card about a topic, e.g. an interest, where they live, favourite food or sport, a good internet site or book, or a course topic. They look over the post cards and pick one to respond to. Great if students are working by distance (Salmon, 2005).
Know your group quiz Each student posts a one page bio of themselves (a proforma could be provided including name, birthday, interests, expectations of the unit of study etc.). Once all are up set a quiz about the students and offer a prize for most accurate or quickest response (Salmon, 2005).
Website evaluation Allocate a number of website URLs to students (organise so that four to five students are on the same site). Ask students to evaluate the website (maybe provide a proforma). Students post their evaluation then join into a conversation with others who have looked at the same site. Chat and post an overall evaluation. Great for evaluating resources (Salmon, 2005). 
Spend up big! Allocate each student a sum of money to go shopping and spend (on or off line) (can make this unit of study specific e.g. educational resources, consumer products, health services/care). Post spendings and discuss people's choices (Salmon, 2005).