"Research and classroom experience do show that students do better in classrooms where they feel included and welcome."

Burns, an award-winning teacher and classroom materials writer, offers nearly 100 energizing exercises designed to help new students get to know each other and their teacher and prepare them for the practical situations they will encounter in their coursework. These activities vary widely—from cartoon-based memory games that would suit young children to more cerebral tasks like answering questions based on thought-provoking text. The book portions include “Set Your Expectations,” “Working Together,” “Getting to Know You Activities,” and “Get to Know Your Teacher.” Fun-filled work for younger people is presented in equal measure with tasks for more mature groups, such as the “Culture Shock Handout” which poses significant questions to identify how different people perceive so-called “norms” like shaking hands, kissing a friend on the cheek, or asking someone what his or her religion is. This handout is also designed to be appropriate for individuals or as a team building project. With so many exercises to choose from, teachers could keep this manual on hand not just for the first day but any day.

Burns has organized his book for the dedicated instructor or group leader. He offers a webpage reference for the handouts and worksheets that some of his activities will require. Special exercises that go beyond the usual “game” format include answering questions based around the course syllabus or class rules, which is an excellent way to put participants on the right track to understanding correct conduct and the right approach to materials that will be taught. Burns has walked the walk, having taught students at every level in countries around the world and having won lesson plan contests with his innovative approaches. Almost any teacher/facilitator in any educational environment will welcome the wide range of games, ice-breakers and team building opportunities offered in this book.

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