Students have been stuck at home a long time. This isolation has impacted their social and emotional learning (SEL) because of the lack of daily interactions with their classmates and friends. Back-to-school still means distance learning for some, so Megan Magee, one of E-Therapy’s account managers and experienced teletherapists shares icebreaker activities to help therapists and teachers get to know their new students and reconnect with their former students.
“Make sure you choose age appropriate activities that show your students that you’re interested in learning more about them,” advises Megan. “It can make a big impact on a student when you recall something as simple as a pet’s name or their favorite color.”
Want to see a demonstration of Megan’s favorite icebreaker activities? Watch this video:
Icebreakers tried and tested by teletherapists
Don’t be afraid to use the first session or two to allow the student to get used to therapy platform features like drawing tools and remote access while you learn a bit more about them. Try using one of these fun, yet engaging PDFs along with tools from your platform to break the ice. These are from the educator sharing site Teachers Pay Teachers so there may be a fee.
Elementary- All About Me
High School- Secondary Information Sheet
For younger students, try incorporating a fun website activity to grab their attention and interest in the first session. This “Who Am I Activity” from Starfall is a great way to build rapport while also allowing the student to experiment with remote access tools in your platform.
Groups of students
Virtual board games can be a great icebreaker activity, especially if working with a group of students. What better way to break the ice than a little bit of friendly competition? Students don’t even need to know that you’re gathering a bit of baseline information while they’re having fun. These back to school board games work great along with a virtual spinner to practice turn-taking, too.
Do you have a student who is extremely shy or resistant to jumping into the new year? Try selecting a story that they can listen to or that you can read together from a site like Epic! Books. There are many first day of school stories available or allow the student to pick a story from among many popular titles or perhaps about one of their favorite animal or activity.
Don’t forget to use your best character voices and don’t be afraid to get out of your seat to act out the super exciting parts of the book. A story may be the perfect icebreaker activity or session warm-up to have your student participating in no time.
Show and Tell
Who doesn’t fondly recall Show and Tell? How about a virtual show and tell scavenger hunt to kick off a new school year? Give your student(s) 2-3 minutes to locate 3 or 4 items around their home that mean a lot to them or that describe them well.
Older students can show off their tech savvy skills by snapping a few photos on an electronic device to share. Have the student(s) return after the designated time and Show and Tell about the items they found around their house.
Share summer adventures
Students often love to share their summer stories. Try using a site like MyStorybook for younger students or Renderforest for older students to allow your students to share information about themselves or to share their summer stories.
More activities from E-Therapy’s therapists
Looking for activities you can share during the first 9 weeks of school? Check out our previous blog posts in the Teletherapy Activities category.
Prefer to watch videos? E-Therapy has a growing collection of videos on YouTube that looks closer at activities you can do with your students. Subscribe and hit the bell for notifications.