As a busy adviser your time is especially valuable, so we’ve rounded up tips and resources just for you that only take 10 minutes or less
Icebreakers can be awkward, and students get bored with going around the circle and sharing, especially in the first few weeks of school. So, try a different kind of circle: a paper chain. Each student writes his or her name and a fact about himself on one link. Connect them and hang the chain in the classroom or meeting space. This can be a great way to invite new members if your school lets you hang the chains in the hallway. For large groups like NHS or student council, it can make a big impression! Be sure to add links for new students who join throughout the school year.
This one really gets the energy up! For a fun way to schedule activities on the calendar, make it a competition. Write planned activities on small strips of paper and put them inside balloons. Hand out the balloons to the students and have them sit on the balloons until they pop! The first to pop is the first activity of the year, and so on. This works in pairs, too. Have two students stand back-to-back and put the balloon between them. The students have to work together to pop the balloon.
Pair together students who don’t know each other and have them draw pictures of each other. (If there are an odd number of students, join in! Let a student draw you, too.) Give the students 2-3 minutes to get into the drawing and ask them to be as detailed as possible. Once the time is up, ask them to switch to their opposite hand or close their eyes and finish the drawing! It will be a funny way to break the ice and everyone gets a portrait to take home-or consider hanging the portraits up in the school to draw new members. This activity can work with larger groups, too. In a group of three or four, after the first 2-3 minutes is up, just have students pass the drawing to the left and have a new pair of eyes finish it.
On a Mission
Allow students to revisit the mission statement and values of the chapter or council at the beginning of each year. Encourage discussion about the students’ goals for the chapter or council, and if it’s decided that changes need to be made, establish a standard way to make that happen, like “majority rules,” or electing a governing board within the group that has the final say. (For an extended version of this activity, see page 29!)