Icebreaker Activities to Identify Learning Styles

Children on their first day of school.
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During the first few days of school or a new club or activity, teachers process as many new ideas as their students. Starting class with an icebreaker activity will help classmate and teachers learn more about each other. By noting how students react to different types of activities, teachers can also begin to determine students' learning styles, and be better able to plan activities and lessons that will reach all students.

1 Depict a Significant Event

A child drawing a picture at school.
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For this activity, gives students an index card or piece of paper and ask them to draw a picture of a significant event that took place during the summer or at the end of the last school year. Once everyone finishes drawing, pair students and have them introduce each other by explaining the drawings. Visual learners draw meaning from images rather than words, and will enjoy using pictures to describe themselves rather than writing a story.

2 Shoe Identification Game

A close up of a student's shoes.
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Ask students to remove one of their shoes and place it in a designated spot. Instruct students to select one shoe from the pile. Tell students to match the shoe to its owner and to learn that person's name and three things he did not already know. End the activity by having students introduce each other to the class. Kinesthetic learners learn by by movement and will excel in this activity.

3 Fact or Fib

A student taking notes.
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Give a 60-second biography to your class, asking students to take notes on what they consider to be important information. After you finish, tell students that you will read five statements, four of them true and one not. Students decide which information is "fact" and which is a "fib." Auditory learners remember facts that are presented in a song or poem. This activity lets auditory learners focus on content without writing.

4 Student Dictionary

Close up of a dictionary page.
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Place students in pairs and give them five questions to ask each other. Students will record each other's answers in the style of a dictionary entry, and the student interviewed is the "word" defined. Each answer becomes another part of the definition. This activity will appeal to both visual and auditory learners because they will be called to listen to the their partners' answers and record what they say.

Kimberly Heffernan has taught in public schools for 25 years. Her professional works include numerous curriculum documents and project proposals. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from UT Austin and a Master of Education from Sam Houston State University and credentials to be a school counselor.