The first day in art class typically means presenting the students with the syllabus and assessing each student’s abilities. To capture the attention of high school students, you need to find creative means of making the transition from vacation to school less abrupt and less boring. Games are fun icebreakers and a means for you to learn about your students and for the students to get to know each other.

Collective Drawing

Tape a large piece of paper to an empty wall in the classroom and give each student crayons or colored pencils. Explain that this is a collective drawing activity and each of the students will have to contribute. Choose the theme for the drawing, which can be an impossible animal or an imaginary place. Ask a student to draw a circle, which will be the body of the animal. Send another student to draw the feet of the animal. Students take turns and draw body parts or details on the animal. Tell students that they can also add a background and other elements to the drawing. Alternatively, allow all students to draw at the same time and you can observe the dynamics of the group and how the students relate to each other. This task also allows you to determine the strengths of each student.

Five-Minute Drawing

Learn about your students by giving them a five-minute task in which they have to sketch an object or animal that defines them. Ask each student to come in front of the class and explain his drawing and why he chose the object or animal. It may help if you bring an overhead projector and enlarge each sketch, so that everyone in the class sees the drawing. Allow the class to ask questions to each student. This task allows you to assess the drawing abilities of each student and helps the students learn about each other.

Doodling

Give students a piece of paper and tell them you are going to read a set of instructions and they have to doodle following the instructions. The instructions may include “Draw a circle,” “Trace a line” and “Place four dots.” Repeat these if needed, but don't give additional clues as to what the students need to do. Don't allow students to look at their neighbors' works until you finished reading all instructions. Display the works and talk about the similarities, differences and their meaning.

Round Robin Drawing

Arrange the seats in a circle and give each student a piece of paper. Each student draws for three minutes, after which he passes the paper to the student sitting next to him. Continue and pass the paper so that each student gets to draw on each sheet of paper. Gather all drawings and analyze each drawing in front of the class. Talk about composition, colors and creativity.