I was incredibly shy growing up. So much so that I was once asked if I were mute! Those “getting to know you” activities at the beginning of the year were torturous for me. My experience as a student is never far from my mind when I’m planning activities for my own students. While I want to encourage confidence and self-advocacy, I know that for some, this is a slow and painful process. I saw this activity at a conference and have adapted it for my classroom. The grid contains 20 squares - each of which contains a description that should be applicable to at least one student in the room.
I explain to students that today they will meet and greet everyone in the class. Posting the grid on the SmartBoard, I explain how the activity works. Each student will get up and walk the room with their paper and pencil. They will find someone near them, introduce themselves, and ask a question from the grid. If the statement applies, then the other student writes their name in that box. But, wait! That meet and greet isn’t over! Student one now has to ask a question that is relevant to the box that was signed. For instance, let’s say student two signs her name in the box that says, “I love to sing.” Well then student one has to ask a question about singing, such as “What kind of music do you like?” The trick is to remember the little tidbit about each student until the activity is over.
Setting my visual timer for 20 minutes, I tell them to get started!
When most of my students have finished the activity, I have students return to their desks. With the document still projecting, I pick a few that are more interesting and ask who was able to fill that box. When I call on a student, he shares not only the name of the person who signed that box, but also the answer to the question he asked. I typically give a small treat of some kind to the person who was able to fill his board and remember the most tidbits about others in the room. You could have students keep this page to help them remember each of their classmates or you could collect them and use to partner students.