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10 Get to Know Your Students Activities

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

10 get to know you games for the first day PIN

The first thing that I love to do the first day in class is get to know my students. I am a big believer that students behave better for teachers that show they care for them. When students feel heard and safe they will behave and learn from you. I have many classroom management tips that work, depending on the student and depending on the class. However, my go to classroom management style is getting to know and caring for all of my students.

Get to know the students' interests, backgrounds, and personalities. Students will light up when you ask them “What do you like?”. They can talk about their interests all day, every day. Figure out who is playing for the school sports teams, what clubs they are into, what music they prefer, all the stuff that makes them who they are. Here are some great ideas for the first few weeks of school to help get to know your students.

Gallery Questions "Museum" Walkabout

You will post questions around the room just like a museum. You will need 5-10 large Post-it Super Sticky Easel Pad posters. I love using these and their on SALE now!!

You will write a question on each poster at the top. The rest of the page can be a multiple choice answer or a survey line (Disagree-Agree variation) or number line rating. The questions should be student opinion based. I like to use questions that will help with my teaching for each class. I find that this is a great way to visually see what types of lessons my students prefer, what type of work they like to do, and other useful information. I also like to change up the color of stickers for each different class period so it is visually easy to see the different class responses.

Here are my posters "Gallary Walk" get to know you from this school year.

Examples of questions and answers to get to know you activities:

  • What type of instruction do you prefer? a) one-to-one note taking b) whole

What type of instruction get to know you activity

group notes c) discovery- you find the answer d)small group-doing different tasks at once

  • What type of work do you prefer to practice your skills? a)paper and pencil b) online website platform of some kind c) gamified (kahoot, etc.) d) group practice

  • How many hours a week do you hope to work on Math homework outside of the classroom? Number Line answer from 0-10 hours

  • How many extra-curricular activities are you participating in this school year? Examples are school sports, clubs, boy scouts, girl scouts, Club sports, volunteer work, etc. Number Line answer from 0-20 activities

  • When you work on skills in class how do you prefer the class atmosphere to be? a) quiet with no talking/noise. b) quiet with only whispering. c) quiet with headphones allowed d) noises don't bother me.

  • How do you prefer to be rewarded? a)phone call home b) free choice time c)food for sure d) verbal or written praise from the teacher

I will place the posters with the questions around the room. Each poster had only one question. I will pass out as many stickers to each student as they need to answer each question. I will pass out different stickers for each class period so I know which class has which answers. The Students will walk around and place their stickers on each poster for their answers. At the end of the activity I will look around and the posters and ask any clarifying questions about each poster that I might need. As well as ask the students if they have anything to add to their thoughts about the poster questions.

Find a Photo that Best Represents You

Students can look for a picture online

or through their phones. The goal is for students to find a picture that best explains and expresses who they are. This is a favorite get to know you of the activities. Many students struggle with this idea and need guiding questions to help them get started. Here are some questions to ask them:

  • What has been your greatest accomplishment?

  • How would your friends describe you?

  • What is your favorite hobby?

  • How would you describe your relationship with your friends and family?

  • What is a character trait you would like to try and change about yourself?

  • What is something you want to learn?

  • What song would be your life soundtrack?

These questions should spark some ideas into the students and help them decide on their picture. The best way to have students share this is create a google slideshow and then each student will edit their own slide.

Here a FREE Slides of Empty Frame, download and convert to google slides to share with the students.

Online Investigator

This one is a great one if you are wanting to get kids aware of social media and the safety of the internet. You will have students search for their classmates on the internet and social media accounts to see what they can find out about them. They will write down their findings and present it to the class. It is always fun to see what kinds of assumptions the kids make based off of pictures they see of their classmates online. It is also really eye opening for the kids to see how posting their life on social media can be unsafe.

People Bingo

Each student would get a bingo board. You can decide if you want the bingo to be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or all boxes. The students will walk around to talk to their peers. Each student will find one student for each box that applies to them. For example: student 1 will walk over to student 2. Student 2 says “I have 2 dogs” so they can sign the box that says “Who has dog(s)”. Student 2 can not sign any more of student 1’s sheet. Student 1 must find a new student to complete the next box. The kids usually grumbel when asked to do this, however, once they get into the activity they will be conversing and smiling getting to know their classmates. DOWNLOAD the EDITABLE "Find a Friend" bingo board if you want to make it easy on yourself. I also have a free one in my shop if you don't want the editable copy.

Ice Breaker Activities

It is important that you know your students. If you want students to communicate during lessons then getting to know their peers is also important. The first day of class is the best time, as students have yet to develop any judgment or bias about their peers. Allow students to walk around the room and meet their classmates. This will get them familiar with students they may have never met before. Students need to feel safe in your room to learn best, this includes feeling safe to fail in front of their peers.

Beach Ball Toss

You will need a large beach ball for this game. You will take a permanent marker and write questions on the ball. They can be any type of question. You can also modify this game as a review game for later. (PROtip- fingernail polish remover takes off permanent marker so you can totally reuse the ball for another time.) My rules are that the person's right thumb determines the question they will answer, if it is not touching a question they answer the question closest to their right thumb. The students will throw the ball around the room and answer questions when they catch the ball. The main issue I have with this game is you will have kids who really get into this game and catch the ball more frequently than other students. I have had to make an additional rule that once you have answered a question you have to sit down and let someone else catch the ball and answer. The questions can be as simple as “What is your favorite food?”, to “What is your biggest regret?”. You get to decide what questions you want your students to answer and write them on the ball. Here is a site with some great get to know you questions to help you get started. 101 Inclusive Get-To-Know-You Questions by Panorama.

Hula Hoop Who

This game follows similar rules to musical Chairs. You will lay Hula Hoops around the room on the floor. Students can move around the room, but must have at least one foot in a hula hoop at all times. You, the teacher, will play music to let the students know when it is ok to move. When the music stops the students must also stop. After the music stops the students are to introduce themselves to their hula hoop partner and tell one fact about themselves. You can play this game for as long as it needs to be completed. You could level it with themed facts. First round is your favorite food, but the second round is your wishlist favorite place. The kids get to move around and engage in conversation with each other.

Jenga Team/Groups

Jenga is a game that most everyone knows how to play.

If you are able to get a few jenga games at a

thrift store and you could write some “get to know you” questions on the blocks. Have the kids play jenga and as they take a brick from the game they will read the questions written on it and answer the question. If you get a few sets of jenga you could have the class broken up into smaller groups to play. Again, here is a site with some great get to know you questions to help you get started writing those jenga block questions. 101 Inclusive Get-To-Know-You Questions by Panorama.

Just 5 Things

When asking the kids to talk about themselves sometimes the students get overwhelmed. When I notice this or when there is only a short amount of time left in class I will ask them “Just give Me 5 Things”. It could be any themed question. Just give me 5 things that you love to eat. Just give me 5 movies that you hated watching. You can come up with these questions on the fly. There is no prep needed at all. The students can write their answers on a post-it note and stick it to the door when they leave class. It is easy, quick, and can be very informative to students and their interests. This is a quick go to in my class when we have only a few minutes left but I want them to stay focused before they start packing up to leave my room.

Toilet Paper Fun Fact

This activity is always a funny one. I stand at the door with a roll of toilet paper and hand it to the students as they walk into the room and tell them “take as much as you think you need.” The students will then count the amount of squares they took. Each square is the amount of facts the kids need to tell about themselves. The kids are so confused and awkward when they take the toilet paper, it is funny to watch them react.

Have You Ever

This is similar to the drinking game you played in college, but appropriate questions for the classroom version. I have the students stand and then ask the “have you ever…” questions. If the students have done it they sit down. Alternatively, you could have students start sitting then stand if they have done the thing. Make it more fun by having students create and submit the “have you ever…” questions to you. You of course would need to read them, so they are kept appropriate.

Flip Grid Tell Me 5 Things That Make You Unique

During the Pandemic and after I have loved doing this. Flip Grid is great if you have not tried it before. Students are so tech savvy and can usually figure out the app quickly if they haven't used it before. I like this choice of getting to know the students because it also helps me remember their names and connect their names with their faces. It almost feels like a 5 minute one-on-one with them. Here is the link to get started, Flip Grid Get Started.

Getting to know your students can be fun! Make it a fun experience and think outside the normal activities. Try and remember that all their other teachers are doing similar activities in their class, so it would benefit to mix up the students' day to keep them engaged. Additionally, students will respond and make their day fun. Students will look forward to your class the next day, even if it is content filled.

More Ideas for the First day of class!! Get to know your students activities

I believe that students who feel safe and heard the first day of class will behave better for their teachers throughout the school year...

Comment below to let me know what types of activities you do in your class.

What do you love doing in your class to get students engaged?

Check out my FREE PRODUCTS to help you get your classroom started.

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