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Back to School Ice Breakers and Art Games for High School

written by: thatbluegirl • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 9/16/2014

Here are some fun back to school ice breakers and art projects to get the school year started! They are also good for review, to introduce new concepts, or for a break in classwork.

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    Ice Breakers

    These are geared for High School students but can easily be modified for younger students as well.

    Back to School Ice Breakers & Art Games Two Truths and a Lie

    Call on students one at a time to share three statements about themselves with the rest of the class. Students must guess which statement is false or made up. This back to school ice breaker can also be altered into an art game where students must share information about the current class lesson. "Share two truths and a lie about Vincent Van Gogh's life." This helps refresh students' memories, catch up those who are behind, and reinforce ideas and knowledge from previous lessons.

    Toilet Paper Talk

    As students enter the classroom, instruct them to take as many squares of toilet paper as they need from a roll. Some students will ask what it is for and how much they should take, but don't give out any further directions. When you are ready for the game, let students know that the number of squares they have determines how many facts they must share about themselves.

    This ice breaker can also work as a lesson review or for discussion about a new project coming up. "Next class we will begin learning about Impressionism. Tell me based on your squares, the amount of things you already know about Impressionism." Once you've played the toilet paper game you can change it up with popsicle sticks, cotton balls, paper clips, or other bulk items you have on hand to keep students guessing.

    Ball Toss Brainstorming

    Announce a topic to the class. You can make it broad for example "tell us about yourself" or more specific "what do you know about digital photography". Then toss a ball around. When a student catches the ball, they must share something and then toss the ball to someone else. Continue the game until all students have had a chance to share with the group. Instead of a ball, a blackboard eraser, roll of masking tape, or stuffed animal all work.

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    Art Games

    Artie/Photo/Bingo/Clayo

    What student wouldn't love a break from classwork to play Bingo? This game can be easily modified to accommodate any art course. In the case of Photography, students are given a photocopied sheet with pictures that represent photographic terms they have learned (i.e. vignette, landscape, rule of thirds). Students cut out and paste the photos they want to use onto their "PHOTO" board. The teacher selects and calls out concept names and the first student who gets 5 concepts in a row, calls PHOTO. This is also a fun way to review art history.

    Storytelling

    Prior to class, prepare a selection of artistic reproductions. These can be postcards, printed copies, laminated posters, whatever is on hand. If they don't sit this way already, break students into smaller groups. Allow each group to discuss and select one work of art from a collection. After every group has made a selection, tell students they are to write a story (as a group) revolving around their selection. Students can be part of the story, or it can be about how the work was made, or whatever students come up with. Each group should have a "recorder" to take down the story and a "speaker" who will share it with the rest of the class.

    Competitive Drawing

    Pictionary and Win, Lose, or Draw are both popular drawing games that involve drawing and guessing. Break the students into two teams (if it is uneven, elect one person to be score & timekeeper) for a classroom version. Prior to class, prepare cards with a variety of items/themes students can draw. Drawing topics can vary depending on skill level. Some examples are: ice cream, olive, castle, knight, alligator or ballet, teacher, Grand Canyon, tennis court. There are two ways to play:

    • One person from each team comes up to draw the same object. The first team to guess correctly, gets the point. (this is where a scorekeeper comes in handy)
    • Each team takes turns drawing. If their team guesses what their "artist" is drawing before the time is up, they get a point. If the team correctly guesses, they also get to play again.

    Draw time is just one minute. Artist cannot talk or draw numbers or letters. Winner is the team with the most points.

    These games will surely help your students get back into the art groove and can be great study aids as well. Have fun!