1. Art Teacher Audrey Chitsey Brewer has her Art 1 students fill out a brain profile map to help her get to know them. Her Advanced Art students draw one without a template. Her template for Art 1 is available for free on TPT under Art Icebreaker. Her Pinterest board for Advanced Art Icebreaker can be found here. “I make one of each every year so they can get to know me, too. I tell them to feel free to include anything on their mind, good or bad.”

2. Art Teacher Karin Little developed a get-to-know-you Bingo game. “I make up a bingo card with things like “binge-watched Stranger Things” or“Skateboarding at the park” and “beach trip.” They have to find someone in the room for each square until they have 5 in a row. Whoever gets bingo gets a prize (candy) and there are always multiple winners. And when they read off their card the person who they used for that square has to say something about their summer activity. It’s all very relatable and builds common ground quickly.”

3. Group Doodle is a great collaborative game. Give the students a simple sketch, like a smiley face, and your students will attempt to draw the image collaboratively with a marker they all hold and direct using strings. See the Group Doodle explained and shown here.

4. Retired art teacher Stephanie Clegg used what she terms “Doodle Boxes” to test students’ creativity skills. A square sheet of paper is divided into 9 sections. Each section contains an abstract line or “doodle.” The student’s job is to then use their creativity to create the parts into an entire composition.

5. Lots of art teachers report giving a tour of the room as a first-day activity. One creative twist could be to make it a scavenger hunt.

6. Reverse pictionary. This idea comes from Ink Factory:

Assign everyone a unique question. For example, “What’s your spirit animal?” or “What’s your favorite snack?”

Next, each person will take a turn describing–but not giving away–their answer to the artist. So, if your favorite snack is a pickle you might tell the artist it’s green and sausage-shaped with warts.

The artist draws while the group guesses. If no one guesses correctly within 3 minutes, you reveal your answer and move on to the next person.

7. Rachel Helms and Kimberly Ans both tried the “Draw a Duck” challenge they both discovered in Facebook art education groups. Helms shares that the “only direction I gave was it [the artwork] had to include a rub duck in some fashion, literal or figuratively.” Ans on the other hand gave her group some rules. “I always want a plan so they had to present me with an idea. my grade 12s had to incorporate a duck into a famous piece of art or movie poster. My grade 11’s just had to make sure to incorporate a duck in some way. I didn’t even care if it was a rubber duck or a realistic one. They had a blast and I’ve never laughed so much in the first week of a class. Overall it took most of them three classes.”

8. Have fun playing with Adobe’s creativity type quiz.

9. Get making right away! Try these egg carton faces.

10. Andy King had his Art I students making and creating with this fun first-day collage project. His slideshow for inspiration can be found HERE.

11. The next idea came all the way from Italy and art teacher Elisa Santambrogio‘s blog (you can have Chrome show her blog in English). Her students created cell phone selfie drawings. Santambrogio writes, “They drew a huge cell phone on the drawing sheet, then they turned on their phone and took a SELFIE.” Their goal was to frame it with intentional cropping to add an authentic look. She spent time with the students guiding them through how to use watercolor pencils to create volume in their faces with chiaroscuro. She adds, “The easiest and most fun phase was creating the apps in the screensaver based on one’s interests and passions, and customizing the cover.”

12. Here is a fun getting-to-know-you assignment art teacher Isolde Beebe used for her AP art class. Each student made a mind map about themselves for the duel purposes to help her teach visual brainstorming skills and to get to know her students better! Image and detail below.

BONUS: Have your students create a Zine like art teacher and illustrator Julia Mills who created this Zine for her first-day get-to-know-you activity. Check out My Art Lesson’s version of Julia Mills’ Zine HERE.