Grabbing your students’ attention at the beginning of class is a crucial step in engaging students and helping them connect to the materials being presented. If we fail to grab their attention before we jump into class materials, many of our students will struggle to find a connection. When this occurs, students don’t pay attention.
If you want to grab your students’ attention I suggest trying an icebreaker before you jump into your class materials. Icebreakers are a powerful tool to help get students warmed up for learning. They help students personally connect to the topic or material being presented and they create excitement.
If we can get our students excited about a topic right from the beginning of class, they will take ownership of the learning materials and be excited to learn. Icebreakers help establish a safe learning environment for students and when students feel safe they are more willing to take risks and become more open to getting involved with the learning process.
Typically, when we think of icebreakers, we think of only using them in the morning or at the beginning of class, however, icebreakers work just as effectively throughout the day when we transition from one topic to the next. Icebreakers can be anything that will help students relate to the topic that’s being presented. It can be as simple as an interesting story, video, activity, game, self-assessment, or even a thought-provoking picture. The most important element of an icebreaker is that it must relate to the topic and it must help students connect to the material. Remember, the purpose is to get your students excited and place them in an active learning mode.