Help students get to know each other with these action-packed activities.

MYSTERY CLASSMATES

What you need: Paper, pencils,index cards,tape
What to do: Set up a quiet corner in which students can draw or paint self-portraits. Display them on a wall or bulletin board– but don't include students' names. Instead,write them on index cards. Tape the cards randomly to students' backs. At the signal students may move about, allowing others to see their cards. After a student silently reads the name on a classmate's back, he or she gives the classmate one clue about the self-portrait,e.g., "curly hair." If the classmate guesses the artist, the card is then attached to the right self-portrait. If incorrect, the classmate continues to collect clues until every card is paired with a picture.

TOSS AND TELL

What you need: White construction paper, masking tape, beanbag
What to do: Pass out half-sheets of construction paper. Ask students to write four brief phrases about themselves without revealing their identity (e.g., "I have a pet gerbil" or "My favorite food is spaghetti"). Have students write their names on the back of the paper, and tape the sheets name-side down to the floor to create a large grid. Invite one student at a time to toss a beanbag onto the grid,read the phrases that the beanbag lands on, and try to guess the identity of the described classmate. If correct, the page is removed and the identified classmate takes a turn.

FIVE FAVORITES

What you need: Light- colored sheets of construction paper, tape, pencils
What to do
: Write " Favorite Color", "Favorite Food", " Favorite Book", "Favorite Game," or "Favorite Subject" across the top of each piece of construction paper. Tape the pages around the room, spacing them evenly and making sure they are within students' reach. Pair up students and give a pencil to each pair. Explain that, on a signal, the partners will take turns picking a category, finding out their partner's favorite for that category, and then walking quickly to the page to write their partner's response and name on it. Students must then pass the pencil to their partner before the partner can take a turn. When all the favorites are added to the page,review the information with students to see who shares common interests.

LIFE-SIZE VENNS

What you need: Tape,large sheets of construction paper
What to do: Tape three large overlapping circles on the floor to create a giant Venn diagram. Label each circle with an attribute that applies to students in your class, such as "brown hair", "an E in first name," and "June Birthday." Have students determine where on the diagram they fit.For example, a student with brown hair named Jane would stand in the overlapping section of the two corresponding circles. Discuss the results. Replace the labels with new attributes and repeat the activity.

CHAIN REACTION

What you need: Plastic links in three colors ( you might borrow these from a kindergarten class or use large rubber-coated paper clips)
What to do: Place the links in a paper bag. Ask students to pass the bag, remove a link, and form teams according to their link colors. Once the color teams are ready,have a student on each team stand across the room from his or her team. Explain that students will take turns crossing the room, trying to learn something they have in common with the teammate on the other side (such as a favorite television show or school subject), and then connecting their links. Once two teammates say what they have in common, other pairs on the team cannot use that same example. As each student adds a link to the chain, he or she keeps the chain and takes the position at the front of the line. The first team to complete its chain wins the relay.