Being in the middle can be hard sometimes. You don’t get quite as much guidance as you did in the beginning since you’re not new. And you may not get as much recognition as you do at the end. Such is the progression from elementary to middle and high school.
And yet, the transition from elementary to middle school can be more overwhelming than you might imagine. It’s a different building, there are new teachers and administrators, and your student is no longer the “big kid” in school.
As parents, you can help your student through this transition by making sure your child knows his or her teacher’s name, class number and schedule. Help make sure they know their way around the building and they are well-equipped with the supplies they need.
10 Easy Middle School Ice Breakers, Perfect for Back to School
Teachers and Parent Groups like PTA, PTO and PTSA can also help by fostering a community of camaraderie in the first days of school. One popular way to do this is through ice breakers. Some of our favorites are listed here. Please share your ideas with us in the comments!
1. Common Ground
Put groups of 4-5 students together for a short breakout session. Have them discover what traits, interests or characteristics they all have in common. You could even gamify them to see how many people in the group have a number of things in common.
2. Would You Rather
Have your group move around the room based on your lighthearted questions, such as “would you rather eat a chocolate-covered cockroach or cat food?” or “would you rather ride to school with a rattlesnake or a colony of fire ants released in the car?”
3. Student Bingo
Create Bingo cards that can be seen by the whole class, and add fun facts in each square. Each student’s name can be written once per card that represents something they’ve done. Some examples include “went to a beach on summer vacation” or “owns more than three pets”.
4. Musical Questions
Give each student a stack of pre-populated question cards. Have everyone stand up, and get some music started. The students walk around the room, and when the music stops, they have to stop and talk to the students closest to them, each asking one of the questions from the cards.
5. Two Truths and a Lie
This is a classic icebreaker that would be perfect for helping middle schoolers get to know one another. Each student tells two truths and one lie about themselves, and the others have to guess which is the lie.
6. Build the School
Break students into pairs and give them random supplies, such as glue sticks, legos, clay and popsicle sticks. Ask them to build the ultimate middle school using all of their supplies. Then, ask them to talk about why they built the school the way they did.
7. We Are Amazing
Create a giant poster for the classroom with the words “We Are Amazing” in the middle. Ask each student to write three ways they are awesome on the board and hang it in the classroom for the duration of the year.
8. Heads Up!
Get inspiration from Ellen’s famous game-turned-app, but use sticky notes instead. One student will place the note on their forehead without looking at it. The other student has to get them to guess what the word is, without saying the word or using rhyming words.
9. Name Game
Have students form a circle and state a descriptive word that starts with their first name, followed by their first name. For example, “Menacing Michael”. The next student must try to remember the names that have gone before them while also reciting their own.
10. Roshambo Tournament
It’s time to get out your rocks, paper and scissors and play tournament style. Start with pairs, and the winners of that round play the other winners, etc. until you are left with one final Roshambo victor.
Starting middle school can be tougher than you think. The more we can do to set our students up for success, the better. We wish you all the best school year possible, and don’t forget to mix in a little fun!