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7 First Day of Class Ice Breakers!

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You made it to the first day of class! Your classroom is organized, your desks are in order, you’re so excited to start off this year right. What better way to start than with an activity that will get your new students as excited as you while giving you the opportunity to get to know them. Here are 7 unique and easy ice breaker activities you can use on your first day of class!

1. About Me Jenga Game

Wanna get your students out of their seats and engaged on the first day of class? About Me Jenga is the game for you! To prepare, write getting to know you questions on each of the Jenga blocks. Stack your blocks in threes, changing the direction they are facing for each set, to make the tower. Have your students take turns removing a block and answering the question on it. The goal is to keep the tower from falling!

Materials needed:

  • Jenga game or 1.5cm x 2.5cm x 7.5cm wooden blocks (as many as you need)
  • Marker
  • Questions

2. What’s in a name?

This game is super simple and requires no materials! Have students say their name along with a word to that starts with the same letter as their name. This word can be anything from animals to foods to book titles. Example: Alex Aardvark, Bella Bee, Carter Catcher in the Rye. The next student has to say their own name with an associated word and then repeat the names of all the students before them. The last person has to repeat everyone’s name and word.

3. Getting to Know You Musical Chairs

Give students the opportunity to get to know each other with musical chairs – with a twist! Instead of having one less chair, have the exact amount of chairs you need for the whole class. Under each chair, there will be a notecard with a get to know you question on it. When the music starts students walk around until the music stops. They grab a seat and then read and answer the question on the bottom of their seat to the student on their left or right. It’s helpful of the teacher plays along as well so they get the chance to hear from students also!

4. Who’s who?

At the beginning of class, have students answer some questions about themselves on a notecard without including their name. (Make sure nobody writes anything they wouldn’t want shared to the class.) Shuffle up the notecards and read them one at a time. After each card is read the class has to guess who the mystery person is.

5. My Life in 30 Seconds

Get your students up and in front of the class with this ice breaker! Give students some time to prepare a 30 second skit, song, or dramatic reading about themselves. You can have requirements for what needs to be included or let students have free range. Each student then presents their story to the entire class while being timed.

6. PechaKucha Introductions

PechaKucha introductions are fast way to get to know your students and introduce them to technology in your classroom. Students have to create a 20 slide PowerPoint about themselves with each slide set to 20 second transitions. They then present this PowerPoint to the class. The catch is there can be no words on the PowerPoint, only pictures!

7. Campaign Speech

Let students write “campaign” speeches about themselves. Now, this doesn’t (and probably shouldn’t) include anything political, but instead make it about the class. Have students introduce themselves and say what they can bring to the class and what they’re excited about. There won’t be any election at the end, but you’ll have a better understanding of what your students care about and what they want to get out of the class.

Welcome to Juniper & Basil!

“I believe in the future of agriculture with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturalists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.” – E.M. Tiffany, author of the FFA Creed


What does this word – this simple, but oh so complex word – make you feel? Maybe it makes you reminisce about your childhood, growing up on a farm alongside nature and hearing age-old tales from you grandparents describing the days of tobacco and cotton. Maybe you imagine a setting from a children’s book with Old McDonald and his cohort of cheerful animals living disconnected from your world until you meet them in a grocery store. Or maybe, this word makes you fearful, concerned, or even angry. It’s understandable to feel this way. Between images painted by mainstream media and flashy headlines being shared by our Facebook friends, it’s difficult to unravel the truth. We are living in a society that is learning to fear the very industry that feeds it.

I decided to start this blog as a way to share what I have learned with others and to celebrate not only the agriculture industry but to focus on education as a tool to ensure the public is making informed decisions about agriculture in daily life. My purpose is not to sway beliefs or shame anyone’s preconceived notions, but simply to encourage discussion and exploration in such a way that benefits everyone. I aim to provide reliable resources for teachers, students, and anyone who wants to learn more about agriculture.

The name of this blog, Juniper & Basil, comes from my two kids who happen to be a dog and a cat. They are two caricatured enemies who have beat all odds and are the best of friends. Watching their relationship develop and thrive has taught me about personal connections in my own life. More often we need to put aside our cat and dog like fighting and find contentment within compromises. Their names are also just too cute not to use as the title.

What I hope to accomplish:

  • Providing agricultural tips and tricks – from backyard gardening to full on homesteading
  • Educating about various agricultural topics
  • Offering resources for agriculture education classes
  • Sharing recipes, DIYs, life lessons, and other fun stuff!

Thank you all for joining me on this wild ride. I can’t wait to see where it takes us!