Silent Line Up

Objective: Get to know a little more about each other; work as a team

# of participants: Unlimited

Space: A long space or hallway

Estimated time: Under 10 minutes or based on the faculty member’s discretion and student engagement in the activity

Facilitation:

Ask the students to line up silently by the first letter of their first name as fast as possible. If two or more people have the same first letter then they should get in order alphabetically by the second letter or subsequent letters. If they have the same first name then they should line up by the first letter of their last name. When the class thinks they have the correct order, have them say their names out loud starting with A and ending with Z.

Other ways to line up silently: date of birth (not including year), height, color of eyes, color of hair, etc.

Human Map

Objective: Get to know more about each other

# of participants: Unlimited

Space: Ideally a large open space but people can also navigate between chairs and desks

Estimated time: 5 minutes

Facilitation:

Tell the students that the class is going to form a human map of where they are from. Explain that you are standing where Brandeis (Waltham) would be on a map and everywhere in front of you is the direction south of Brandeis. Everywhere behind you is the direction north of Brandeis. Everyone who is standing to your right should come from somewhere west of Brandeis and everyone to your left should be from a location east of Brandeis. Ask the students to place themselves on the map where they are from. Tell them to try to be as specific as possible. If there are 5 people from New York have them try to organize themselves by their location within the city. When everyone is where they want to be have them share their locations. Some students might consider themselves from different place, i.e. where they were born and then where they grew up. You could give the group the option to play the activity twice and change their location.

Commonalities

Objective: Get to know things you have in common with your classmates

# of participants: Unlimited

Space: Students can sit at tables or turn and face each other

Estimated time: under 10 minutes or based on the faculty member’s discretion and student engagement in the activity

Facilitation:

Divide the class into random groups of 3-5 students. Have each group write down all of the things that they have in common. Tell the group that they get more points for the most unusual or surprising things they have in common. When the groups are done brainstorming commonalities have them share the commonalities with the entire class. You can also have them share just the most surprising commonalities.

Categories

Objective: Get to know things you have in common with your classmates; meet a lot of different people

# of participants: Minimum 15 to unlimited

Space: An open space where students can move around

Estimated time: Minimum 10 minutes to explain and play or based on the faculty member’s discretion and student engagement in the activity

Facilitation script:

“We are going to get in groups by categories that we share in common with each other. For example, the first category is ‘number of siblings’. I have two siblings, plus me, makes 3 (raise your hand with 3 fingers showing). If you have no siblings you will be a one (raise your hand with 1 finger showing). We don’t want only children to be zeros! Please feel free to include anyone you call a sibling which may include half siblings, step siblings, adoptive siblings, etc. When I say GO, find your groups. You will need to call out loud and show fingers to find your group. When you find the members of your group introduce yourselves. Ready, GO!

When everyone is in their groups ask each group to enthusiastically share what category they are. Other categories you can use are favorite season, favorite food, favorite movie genre, major, minor, etc. Remember to encourage the students to call out loud so they can find their groups each round.

Play a few rounds and then ask the group if there are any categories that they would like to propose so they can get to know more about their classmates.

We Connect Cards

Objective: Get to know more about each other; meet as many people as possible

# of participants: Unlimited

Space: Ideally a large open space but people can also navigate between chairs and desks

Estimated time: Less than 10 minutes, or based on the faculty member’s discretion  and student engagement in the activity

Props: Experiential Learning has decks of cards that you can borrow. Each deck has different levels of questions. Some are quick answers and some ask for longer more thoughtful answers

Facilitation:

Give each student a card. Each card has a question on it. Invite someone to volunteer to model the activity. Introduce yourself to the volunteer. “Hi, I am Professor…, nice to meet you.” Have them introduce themselves to you. Ask them the question on your card. Have them answer the question. Then they will ask you their question and you will answer it. Switch cards. Then each of you will find someone else to introduce yourselves to. You will switch cards after every interaction. Challenge the students to meet as many people as possible in the time you allot for the activity.

List of Activities

Title Objective Number of Participants Approximate Duration Space Needed   
Get to know each other’s names and more about each other’s history/culture
Get to know more about each other; meet as many people as possible
Get know things you have in common with your classmates; meet a lot of different people
Get to know things you have in common with your classmates
Get to know more about each other
Get to know a little more about each other; work as a team
To talk with a number of classmates on a specific subject or question. It is a good way to talk about project ideas that students are thinking about.
Practice listening skills; allow the more quiet students to have a voice
Brainstorm ideas; create groups around shared interests
Surface students’ concerns; facilitate understanding that individual concerns are shared
Making your course content relevant for your students
Brainstorming and creativity around a subject; close looking
Trust building; leadership skills
Prioritizing tasks; working together
Looking after others; group problem solving

What’s in a Name?

Objective: Get to know each other’s names and more about each other’s history/culture

# of participants: 20 or fewer per session. If there are over 20 students have 5-10 students share at the beginning of class, at the break, or at the end of class on different days.

Space: Ideally the group would stand in a circle but students could share from their seats or come up to the front of the room.

Estimated time: 1 minute per person

Description: every student will share their full name, what it means and how and why they were named in that way.

Facilitation script:

“We are going to share our names, what they mean and where we got them from. Feel free to share any nicknames or names from other cultures like Hebrew or Chinese names. I will start using myself as an example. My name is Daniel Lerner Langenthal. I was named Daniel after my grandmother Devora. D for Devora, D for Daniel. It is an eastern European Jewish tradition to be named after deceased relatives. Daniel means the judgment of god in Hebrew. Lerner is my dad’s biological name. His parents died during the great depression. Langenthal is my dad’s adoptive name. It means long valley in German. That took under 1 minute. Please share and keep it to under one minute.” You will model yourself after this example.

Debrief:

Did anyone learn anything new about another culture? Ask for examples.

Did anyone learn anything interesting about other members of the class that they know that they hadn’t heard before? Ask for examples.