Capture d’écran 2016-08-11 à 15.23.10You’re almost ready: LESs, Learning Stations, lots of reading material, grammar, vocabulary, speaking and listening activities and lots of coop. But where do you begin?

A good way to kick off the year is by introducing icebreakers to your students. Icebreakers help in creating a comfortable class environment where students can get to know each other, and foster trust and acceptance. We want students to feel safe participating in English class, and feel that they can and will become English-language speakers. Icebreakers are invaluable in helping to build this positive classroom environment. Here are a number of websites featuring icebreakers that require less speaking or manageable functional language for the beginning of the year.

Before you begin…

  • Make sure that all functional language is available so students speak English when they need to speak.
  • Talk about what the icebreakers accomplished after they are done. (learn students names, speak English, have fun…)
  • Join in and have fun!

Here are the different activities:

Teambuilding Icebreakers

1. Collaborative Drawing
2. Shoe Pile Mingle (Functional language: prepare a simple set of get-to know-you questions ready for students to use.)

Classbuilding Icebreakers

3. I Have, Who Has? Game
4. Group Juggling
5. Group Order (The Birthday line-up is the simplest. Functional language: Months, When is your birthday?)

Get-to-Know-You Icebreakers

6. Categories or Similarities Game (Functional language: I like… Do you like…?  Who likes…?)
7. Greetings (Functional language: Greetings, prepare introduction questions.)


Want more ideas? Visit the Intensive ESL Community at and click on Icebreakers or Cooperative Learning Structures.  If you don’t have an account, you can register at