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Cards and Crossword--Two Day Icebreaker

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This is my ice-breaker from Summer Session 2000.
The first day, I used a deck of cards for my students
to introduce themselves. On each student's turn, he or
she had to take a card from a deck of playing cards. (I left
the joker cards in). The instructions: use the value of the
card to determine how many things to say about yourself.
If you pick the "ace," say one thing; two, say two things;
a Jack is 11, Queen is 12, King is 13. If the student got the
Joker card, he or she could ask me questions instead.

I took notes on everything that everybody said, and then made
up a crossword puzzle of student names. (To make it harder, you
could use other information about the student, such as place of
work or native country). They completed this the next time that they
had class. This was a nice way to remind people of who their class
members are and gave them material to start conversations ("Are
you really from Transylvania?"). The activity goes more quickly if
students have name tags out. I think it's better if they have to
ask each other for information.

Caveats: Be sure to spell students' names correctly! (My
sign-in attendance sheet was helpful here). Make sure that
the clues you write about the students are accurate! Choose a
boring clue if you're not so sure if something is true.

Good luck!
Karin Abell
Adult ESL Instructor
Durham Technical Community College
North Carolina

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