Everyone's a little nervous on the first day of school — even the teacher! But getting to know your students doesn't have to be awkward. Learn all about a new class with these fun and unexpected getting-to-know-you questions for students of all ages.
Sometimes all you need is a compelling discussion to break the ice. Try out these engaging icebreaker questions that will make students feel right at ease in their new classroom.
Learning your students’ favorite colors and vacation spots is fun, but you can kick it up a notch this year! These icebreakers address students’ favorites in creative ways.
If you could have any extinct animal as a pet, which would you choose?
What’s your favorite snack at the movies?
What’s the best sport to watch but not play?
Which movie makes you laugh every time you watch it?
What celebrity would you want to be your best friend?
You’re a theme park character! Which one would you be and why?
Which name would you choose if you had to rename yourself?
What is the perfect weather for you?
Elementary students, high school students and adults all enjoy a good “would you rather” question. Use these icebreakers to put new students to the test!
Would you rather live in a world without television or without computers?
Which would you prefer: a tiger-sized hamster or a hamster-sized tiger?
Would you rather have no siblings or ten siblings?
Which would you choose between being a movie star or a rock star?
Would you rather spend a whole day with friends or a whole day with pets?
Would you rather be able to teleport or read minds?
Would you rather share a room in a mansion or have your own room in a tiny house?
A great icebreaker catches someone off guard to reveal an interesting response. These random questions range from corny to thought-provoking.
What’s the weirdest thing in your backpack/purse right now?
How old is the oldest person you’ve ever met?
What’s the worst gift you’ve ever gotten?
What commercial bugs you the most?
What’s your least favorite smell?
If you could be any bug, what would you be?
What’s the most expensive mistake you’ve ever made?
What’s the corniest joke you know?
Knowing details about a student’s family can help teachers learn more about their lives. Use these getting-to-know-you questions for students about their families as written or verbal prompts, depending on their comfort level.
Some students talk a lot about their families, while others may prefer to stay quiet. Address both types with these questions about students’ families.
What is your favorite family holiday?
If you could spend all day with a family member, who would it be?
Who in your family drives you the craziest?
How many languages does your family speak?
What’s your favorite family dish or recipe?
What’s your best family memory?
Who’s the funniest person in your family?
What values do your students bring into the classroom? See what their families prioritize with some questions focused on family values.
I know that my family will always ...
What does your family do for fun when you are on vacation?
What TV or movie family is your family most like?
If your family owned a restaurant, what job would everyone have?
What is your favorite family tradition?
Does your family have a motto or slogan?
What animal best symbolizes your family?
Whether students like video games, playing baseball or making pottery (or all three!), it’s nice for their teachers to know their hobbies. Ask these questions to learn more about students’ favorite subjects, least favorite subjects and out-of-the-classroom interests.
Knowing what subjects your students prefer can tell you a lot about what they’re interested in. Try out these questions on school subjects to fill in the blanks in their educational history.
If the space program was looking for volunteers to explore an alien planet, would you sign up?
Would you prefer a night of all math homework or all English homework?
What is your favorite kind of character to read about?
If you had to choose between a science class and an art class, which would choose?
What time period would you definitely not want to live in?
If you could have a magic homework machine that you could only program for one subject, which subject would you choose?
What weird topic would you most like to research?
Chances are, students are more interested in what happens outside the classroom than inside it. Take a peek into their extracurricular lives with these questions on outside interests.
What is the perfect job for you?
What hobby would you like to do for the rest of your life?
If your life was a video game, what character would you be?
What talent would you like to learn someday?
If you could choose an instrument to play, which one would you choose?
If you could play any sport professionally, which would it be?
Do you like tent camping or do you prefer hotel vacations?
In your perfect schedule, what would you spend your time doing?
Every student walks into your classroom with a history, good or bad. Take a moment to see where they’re coming from before you begin the school year.
What makes a teacher a really good teacher?
What makes a teacher a bad teacher?
What’s your biggest goal this year?
What advice would you give someone about the grade you just finished?
What part of school makes you feel frustrated?
What small change would make school a million times better?
What’s a school rule that everyone knows but isn’t written anywhere?
Not everyone learns the same way! Find out which students dislike group work, learn best with music and value leadership before your first lesson.
Is it easier for you to learn by reading, by listening or by doing?
Do you prefer group work or working alone?
Would you like to listen to music while you work, or would you rather work in silence?
If you had to choose between president, vice-president, secretary, or treasurer of a club, which would you choose and why?
Which school supply is most important to have at all times?
Would you rather have open-note longer tests or shorter quizzes with no notes?
Give an example of a time when you had to learn or relearn something.
If you'd like to use more than one of these questions to get to know your students, consider printing out a selection and bringing it to the classroom. It works as a great reference guide or handout for students to answer in writing.
While it may seem like icebreakers only matter for a few minutes, they can have a huge effect on the rest of the school year. Leading a discussion with the right icebreaker can make students feel comfortable and accepted in your classroom, which leads to a year full of healthy communication. If you've got a younger group of students, try out some questions of the day for kids to get conversations flowing. For more ideas on starting conversation in the classroom, check out these foolproof conversation starters for teens.