Ice Ice Baby

As promised, I have one of my ice breaker activities ready to share with you, but I also wanted to tell you about another one of my favorite beginning of the year activities.  I’m sorry to say that I don’t have any pictures of it, because to be honest, before I started blogging I was awful about not taking pictures.  This year will be a whole new ball game, so I hope to have lots of pictures.

To do one of the activities, I buy a blank puzzle for each of my groups (I have students sitting in groups of 4).  I like to try to find about a 16 piece puzzle, so it offers some challenge but can be completed in a few minutes.  I also buy puzzles that can be colored on with a crayon or marker.  Before school starts, I secretly remove one piece from each puzzle and keep those pieces back.  Then whenever we do the activity, I give each group their puzzle pieces and ask students to put their puzzle together as quickly as possible.  It is so funny when they are almost finished with their puzzle and realize that they are missing  a piece.  I’ll watch them look under their seats and on the floor or the piece, and then they start asking other groups if they have an extra piece.  I let them look for a couple of minutes, and then I bring them back together as a whole group.  I use this activity to illustrate the importance of participation in group work.  I discuss how we are all important pieces of the puzzle, and a group cannot be complete without the presence of each group member.  I usually make a chart of what a present group member looks like (listens, offers suggestions, stays on task, helps others, etc.)  After our discussion, I let students work as a group to color their puzzle.

In a different activity,  I print out the question cards on card stock and cut them out before school, and that is all the preparation necessary.  To do the activity, students should answer all of the questions, but they should not write their name on it.    When students have finished filling out their information, collect and shuffle the cards and redistribute them to the class.  Students should then try to determine whose card they have by asking their classmates questions from the card.  They are not allowed to ask “is this your card” or anything similar.  After everyone has discovered whose card they have, allow students to introduce each other to the class. 

Who Am I?

I’ve also posted this as a free item on my TpT Store, so if you feel like it, I’d love some feedback, so here is another link to the item.



  1. says

    I love this idea for introducing kids how to work in a group! My desks are also on groups of 4 and last year had a couple of kids that couldn't handle group work. Can't wait to try this. Where did you buy blank puzzle pieces?

    I Heart Teaching Elementary

  2. says

    I have looked and looked for the website that I bought them from and can't find it. I'll keep looking! I have seen them at craft stores though.

  3. says

    Such cute ideas!!! Ahhhhh, now if I can find puzzles before the 8th!!! Thanks for sharing the ideas, will be using both:) Good luck with getting into your classroom and I wishing air conditioning for you:) I have such a heat headache this morning and I know it was from my sweaty room…..

    4th Grade Frolics

  4. Amy Kay says

    Love the puzzle idea! A few years ago, I did a puzzle activity (bought Precious Moments ones at Dollar General), but the missing piece idea is genius! I too have my kids in tables year round, and good group norms are pivotal! Thanks!

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