The first day of school can be very stressful for teachers and students. Most teachers try to reduce the level of anxiety that students feel by providing ice breaker activities. These activities help to introduce students to each other and the teacher; and establish some cohesiveness among classmates. For seventh-graders, provide activities that get the students interacting, thinking, moving and communicating with each other.

Name-O

Learning student names is important for the students and the teacher.
Learning student names is important for the students and the teacher.

Ask each student to state his first name as you go around the room. Then ask for a volunteer to repeat each name, in order. If a student misses, a new volunteer is selected and must start over with the name of the first student. The game continues until one student successfully names all students without making an error. This game can be modified so that the last name is used.

Charades

Get a group of strangers to work together.
Get a group of strangers to work together.

Write five unrelated words on an index card. Select five students that aren't sitting close to each other -- a fairly reliable method of choosing students who don't associate with each other. Expose the index card so that only the group of five may view it. Give the students 30 seconds to plan and 30 seconds to get the class to say each of the words as the groups conveys. It's fun, funny and gets the students talking.

Name Pass

Catch the ball, call a name and pass the ball.
Catch the ball, call a name and pass the ball.

Select 10 students to stand in a circle at the front of the room. Hand a Nerf ball to a student and ask him to pass the ball to another student after stating the student's name. Continue that process until each student's name has been called and he has caught the ball. Start again with the same first student and repeat the same pattern of tosses. On the third time around, after three tosses of the ball, hand another ball to the first student. Two balls will be going around the group at the same time.

Scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt gets them moving, communicating and learning.
A scavenger hunt gets them moving, communicating and learning.

Divide students into groups of four or five and tell them they'll be working together on a scavenger hunt. Provide verbal instructions about the boundaries, time limit and legal/illegal actions that can be taken. Caution them about the need for low voices, since they will be walking around the building. Then pass out the scavenger hunt sheets that include the verbal instructions and the list of items to be collected. The first group to return with all items will be announced as the winner.