Workshop Openers


You are a LAN Manager marooned in a school. What five items would you have brought with you if you knew there was a chance that you might be stranded. Briefly discuss and defend your choices with the whole group. 


Birthday Line

Explain to the group that this is a nonverbal exercise. The group is to form a single straight line, according to birthdays. For example, persons with January birthdays will be at the beginning of the line, earliest January dates first followed in order by later dates. The line progresses by months and days with December birthdays at the end. Persons with the same birthday share the same place in line. You must communicate nonverbally (no lip-reading or spelling in the dirt allowed). When the line is completed, each person will shout out his/her birthday, beginnining in January.

This is a good example of "speaking a different language" with those others you teach or work with. They may not fully understand what you are trying to do or what needs to be done so you may have to come up with several different ways to explain.


Ball Toss

This is a semi-review and wake-up exercise when covering material that requires heavy concentration. Have everyone stand up and form a resemblance of a circle. It does not have to be perfect, but they should all be facing in, looking at each other. Toss a nerf ball or bean bag to a person and have tell what they thought was the most important learning concept was. They then toss the ball to someone and that person explains what they though was the most important concept. Continue the exercise until everyone has caught the ball at least once and explained an important concept of the material just covered.

Finish the Sentence

Go around the room and have each person complete one of these sentences (or something similar):
The best job I ever had was...
The worst project I ever worked on was...
The riskiest thing I ever did was...

"Besides email and general web surfing, teachers and students in my district use the network for... "

This is a good technique for moving on to a new topic or subject. For example, when starting a class and you want everyone to introduce themselves, you can have them complete "I am in this class because..."

You can also move on to a new subject by asking a leading question. For example if you are instructing time management, "The one time I felt most stressed because I did not have enough time was ..."


Magic Wand

You have just found a magic wand that allows you to change two issues related to technology within your district. You can change anything you want. How would you change yourself, your job, your boss, coworkers, an important project, etc.? Discuss why it is important to make the change.

Another variation is to discuss what you would change if you became the boss for a month. This activity helps you learn about others' desires and frustrations.

Find the Fiction

In teams, each participants write three statements: two true, one false. Participants take turns introducing themselves and sharing their statements. Listeners have fun trying to figure out the false statement.

Find Someone Who...

Have a "bingo" card of characteristics and you have to find people who match. First one who get's a "bingo" gets the prize.

Mix Pair Share

The class "mixes" until the instructor calls "pair." Participants pair up to discuss predetermined topic for set amount of time. ie: 30 seconds. "Pair" is called again until several pairings have happened.

Gallery Walk

View others work and write positive comments on a post-it. Put the post-it on the computer/work.