Icebreakers & Community Builders

This page includes many links to help generate ideas and inspiration for activities to use in a distance learning, hybrid, or face-to-face FYE course.

Helpful and Fun Websites

  • Conceptboard
    • A collaborative online whiteboard where you and your class can create sticky notes, vote on notes, brainstorm, etc…
  • Brightful
    • “Have fun, build trust, boost teamwork.”
    • “Just because you’ve moved your meetings online, it doesn’t mean that you have to lose the human connection. Play our games to spark excitement and laughter in your virtual gathering.”
  • FlipGrid
    • A website that allows teachers to create “grids” to facilitate video discussions. Each grid is like a message board where teachers can pose questions, called “topics,” and their students can post video responses that appear in a tiled grid display.
    • Check our their website/blog to learn more about recent updates and how to use it!
  • Kahoot
    • A game-based learning platform that makes it easy to create, share and play learning games or trivia quizzes in minutes. Unleash the fun in classrooms, offices and living rooms!
  • Mural
    • A digital workspace for visual collaboration…think virtual sticky notes!
  • Padlet
    • Create an online post-it board that you can share with any student or teacher you want. Just give students the unique Padlet link. Padlet allows you to insert ideas anonymously or with your name. 
  • Poll Everywhere
    • Add live audience response activities to presentations and watch engagement in class
  • Slido
    • An easy-to-use Q&A and polling platform for live or remote meetings, events, or classes
  • Wheel of Names

A Few More Ideas

Examples shared by the University of Wisconsin include:

  • Personal Introductions – students are asked to talk about their professional interests, goals for the course, personal interests, etc. One option is to have students develop video introductions in Canvas.
  • Eight nouns – students use eight nouns that best describe themselves.
  • Five pictures – students create a collage of five pictures that best describe themselves.
  • Two truths and a lie – students must post two truths about themselves and one lie and classmates have to guess which item is untrue.

Examples shared on the blog, Leveraging e-Learning, include:

  • One word – students share one word that best describes them and post it in a discussion forum.
  • Things – students share an image that reflects why they’re taking the course or that represents them.

Examples shared by the Academy of Art University include:

  • Common ground (for Zoom) –  groups (4-6 learners) have 5 minutes to write a list of everything they all have in common.
  • Burning questions – students write 1-3 “burning questions” they have about the course.
  • Forced analogies – the instructor posts two seemingly unrelated nouns and students have to post as many similarities or connections between them as possible.

Helpful website from a colleague in Higher Ed