I just want to pass along this great point about icebreakers from the book Voices of Experience: How Teachers Manage Student-Centered ESL Classes by Janet Giannotti:
It should also be noted that some teachers do not use an icebreaker in the first class. Some icebreakers may seem like games, and we don’t want our students to think they enrolled in our class to play games. Instead many teachers use the first class for diagnostic testing and save an icebreaker for the second day.
Interestingly, I also got similar advice from a well-known author who kindly gave me some feedback on 50 Activities for the First Day of School. She wrote that she would never do Two Truths and a Lie on the first day, and maybe not even the first week. She suggested some students like to get down to work on the first day. It also occurs to me that perhaps, not everyone enjoys sharing personal information as soon as they walk into a classroom (I’ve got a post up about how to model icebreakers so students know the expectations).
How about you? When do you do your icebreakers? What do you do on the first day of school? Have you ever postponed icebreakers? What other back to school advice would you give?