A Fun Way for Students to Get to Know Students

Silent interviews to build student community
Are you sometimes surprised a couple of months in to school, to discover that a student doesn't know another student's name?  I forget that when we begin switching classes (we usually have students travel by homeroom the first week and then switch them into their classes).

Here's a fun activity that my students have enjoyed!

I tell my students on the first day that we're in our regular classes, that they're going to interview each other.  That's usually met with groans.  And then I throw out the clincher.

           The interviews will be silent.

"What?!  How can we do that?"

Very simply.  Every student gets a piece of paper and a pencil.  I have them pair up with someone they don't know well, or at all.  Taking turns, they have to write out their questions and their partner responds on the first student's paper.  Then the second student gets to ask a question and the first person responds.

It's a great way to learn about other students (and to learn how to ask good questions!)  There's always an ulterior motive in this teacher's heart! :)

Students can share out later, or move on to another student.  This year, I had students create a Venn Diagram and compare and contrast themselves to their partner.  Good way to teach a reading strategy!  You can create a "Same/Different" sheet and have students add one of their comments to that sheet.


Students sit so they can see everyone in the class, and when you read something from this sheet, everyone in the class raises their hand if they share that characteristic.  It is amazing to see how many things we had in common, even with students we didn't know!

I hope you try this in your classroom!  You'll be amused by the giggles and the deep thoughts as students try to come up with good questions, and by their beginning awareness of how much they have in common!

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