Hello Doc Challenge

What are your go-to first week ice-breakers for online and hybrid classes?  I recently shared this with a CSTA local chapter group and thought CS for All Teachers might be interested....

There's a "Hello, Hello, Hello..." challenge that I picked up at a training that's similar to that and works equally well online as in person.    This activity is great for debriefing and can be a good way to introduce algorithms, loops, "there's more than one right way to code something", debugging, sequence/selection/iteration, abstraction, etc...

For online ice-breakers I've done these on Zoom to practice procedures/tech in a more laid-back way:

1. "2 Truths and a Lie"--good change to get everyone testing their mics, voting in a poll or commenting the chat to practice Zoom communication options, can do intermittently to break up intro lecturing...

2. "Never Have I Ever"--no prize at the end, but have anyone who "has" done the action put up a "Thumbs up" symbol or thumbs up on camera. Again, good non-audio communication practice. You can do this with CS related statements like "Never Have I Ever...written a program in Python." OR "Never have I ever used rubber ducky debugging." as formative assessment for topics or general concepts. You could also point out that this is a binary choice of "did you/didn't you" as a transition to binary numbers and coding 101.

3. "Whip Around"--the idea of a Whip Around is that everyone says just a single phrase/sentence in response to a question. It could be silly like "What's your favorite icecream flavor?" Or serious, "On a scale of 1-5, how comfortable are you with coding loops?" The trick to this on Zoom is having a set order (and putting that order in the chat) and practice. The first time you try this, it could take 20 minutes for 20 students to all participate. But it'll get quicker and be a great formative tool, if they practice (just like they might in an in-person classroom).


Off of Zoom: 

1. Jamboard: I've just been introduced to this, but I think it has a lot of potential for cooperative learning strategies remotely. It could be great for ice-breaker games and sharing of ideas/prior knowledge.

2. Goose Chase: This would take more time to set up, but it's SO MUCH FUN! You can send the students on photo/video scavenger hunts. You can put them on remote teams and be super creative with the items they seek. They could be CS related like "find the oldest piece of "technology" in your house. OR they could be sillier introductory type things like, "Take a picture with your favorite pet."


I'd be happy to keep brainstorming and pick up new ideas with anyone else who wants to share too!