I use a Bingo game icebreaker with very random questions and the students need to interact and find out who fits into the box. With a treat incentive, students interact wildly and it is very chaotic for about 10-15 minutes. The first winner is one who forms an “X”, then a box, and then a full card. Some examples include: “is a bottle blonde”; “has traveled outside of North America”; “owns a reptile”; “knows who the Goonies are”; “supports Gryffindor”… just random things very unrelated to the course. I do this because I see the students on Monday’s which means that their first week is already done by the time they get to my class. So, they have already done the usual class introductions. This is a fun way of getting to know people beyond individual introductions.
When they get broken up into “teams” after week one, I get into smaller group introductory exercises that are more narrowly-focused and involve, for example, where they see themselves in 5 years. These responses are then used when we talk about goals. Another one involves the groups talking about the best place they have visited on vacation, and these responses are used in the decision-making exercise to narrow it down to only one place they can go to after working through the decision-making model. Basically they create their own examples for the group work throughout the course.