Having fun in yearbook class nets serious results

Written by Laney Paulson

Engaging in ice breakers during the first few weeks of a publication class is normal. What is rare is continuing to play these games throughout the school year.

Staff morale games help to build relationships. On many publications, there are students from different cliques on campus who typically wouldn’t interact with each other. Ice breakers are a way to learn facts about staffers that one wouldn’t normally learn in a class.

My staff played ice breakers year round. The growth as a staff that we experienced was tremendous. In previous years, our staff was cliquey, and students typically only interacted with their friends. By implementing more team-building activities, friendships were made between many differing personalities.

If your staff is like mine was, students are involved in a multitude of advanced classes and extracurricular activities. Participating in ice breakers took away from the daily seriousness of school, and gave students the opportunity to be silly.

Though ice breakers may seem juvenile, they really are something to look forward to. Plus, everyone likes playing games. The ice breakers that we play do many different things. Some are competitions, some involve finding other members of class who share similarities with you, and others teach you about yourself.

Icebreakers fun

Icebreakers can create fun in the classroom and lead to great staff morale. (Photo by John Ficenec)

While some games take a long time, the team-building accomplished in invaluable. Time is not wasted.

Certain types of ice breakers were particularly popular in my class. Games that take place outside and ones that evaluate personalities are always favorites.

The Dalai Lama personality test is my personal favorite. In this game, you are told to rank different animals in order according to your preference, write words which remind you of the given object, and people who remind you of given colors.

This informs the test takers of what they value most, the personalities of people in their lives, and the significance of their friends to them. My staff enjoyed this test and those similar to it because it informs you about aspects of your life that you more than likely hadn’t considered previously.

After the first few class periods where we played these games, students really started looking forward to playing them. Whether it was because they took away class time, or they taught you things, ice breakers turned into one of our favorite parts of class.

In addition, when tasks aren’t completed, or extra stress needs to be put on a specific deadline, taking away the privilege of playing an ice breaker motivated students to complete their tasks, so that in upcoming classes, we could continue playing them.

Everyone likes games. Ice breakers and other staff morale games are readily available online and in books. Implementing these games helped our staff grow better as a unit, and was fun while doing so.

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Laney Paulson

Laney Paulson held several staff positions on the Musket newspaper at Orange Glen High School in Escondido, California, including editor-in-chief. She was also a staff member for the Torch yearbook, creating spreads and taking photos. After high school, Paulson attended the University of California at Santa Cruz.