Icebreakers for New Classes

American Indians

Subject: Vocabulary + Spelling


This amusing game is designed specially for helping you and your new students get to know and memorize their names on the first day of class.

Skills: Speaking

Level: Elementary

Recommended Age: 10-12 y.o.

Number of Participants: 4-12 players

Time: 15-25 minutes

Place: Any

Equipment: Not required

Materials: Not required

Preliminary Preparation: Not required

Immediate Preparation (5-7 minutes).

1. If possible, arrange the game participants so that they are sitting or standing in a circle or a semi-circle.

2. Explain to the players that thay are going to give each other American Indian names, which usually consist of an adjective and a noun. In doing so, they must respect the following rules:

   a) Both of these words must begin with the same letter as the name of the introducing player;

   b) Neither adjective nor noun must be repeated during the whole game;

   c) For giving an insulting name, the player gets one point of deduction!

How to Play. To start the competition, you should invite Player A to come and stand in front of their new classmates. A typical game might begin something like this:
You: What's your name?
Player A: My name is Borya.
You: How do you spell that, please?
Player A: B - O - R - Y - A.
You (addressing to the other players, but giving a word to each in turns): 

What American Indian names can you give to Borya? 
Player B: Big Bear!
Player B gets one point;
Player C: Blue Bird!
Player C gets two points;

Player D: Beautiful Butterfly!
Player D gets three points;
and so on around the circle.
If a player cannot come up with an American Indian name, they miss their turn, but do not leave the game. After all the game participants have suggested their ideas, Player A is replaced by Player B and you start the second round. This time, it is Player C, whose turn to give the first American Indian name to Player B and so on. The game continues around the circle as long as all the children have got their American Indian names. At the end of the activity, the number of points, accumulated by each participant during the whole competition, is counted up. The player, who gets the most points in total, becomes the winner of the game.

Variation. In order to make the game even more competitive, you may wish to ask each player which 'their American Indian name' they like the best. The author of this name gets a bonus point.