My students know the "No Phone" policy in the classroom, so they were a bit confused when I asked them to take their cellphones out. I asked each student to please find a photograph, video or song on their phones which best represented them. For those who couldn't find anything like that, I asked them to locate something that was special to them. Then, in about 20seconds each student shared their photograph, video or song with the rest of the class.
Phones were passed around, there were "Ooohs & Aaahs" about beautiful locales and before long, we realized that our class actually had more in common than we thought.
It was a great ice-breaker to the first class of new students and it is something I will definitely be doing again. We often forget that for many people, the one thing people enjoy talking about the most, is themselves...and when one has an audience, let's face it - they love it!
Teacher's who are willing to spend the first 15-20 minutes at the beginning of a lesson just to get students into "lesson-mode" should try this out!