First Day of School Icebreakers for Family and Consumer Sciences Classes

first-day-ice-breakers-for-family-consumer-sciencesOne of my favorite activities to get to know students is with a signature grid “Bingo” icebreaker. They are fun for a few reasons… First, students get up and out of their seats on the first day, which usually has a lot of sitting and listening to the syllabus. How many of us lose our voice on our first day back?!

I distribute the grids and give students time to try and fill the grid with signatures without duplication. I require that students introduce themselves, not just swap grids and scribble. In the following week, I follow up by drawing a grid, saying the student’s name, and asking them a question about someone who signed their sheet.

Here are links to a few of my favorite signature grids

Teen Insights Our department’s required health-credit class covers some pretty personal topics. This icebreaker is nice for any group of students who will be working closely together with statements ranging from “I have a driver’s license” to “I have never seen The Notebook.”

Food and Nutrition With statements ranging from “I know someone who follows a vegan/vegetarian diet” to “I have a garden or compost bin,” this is a great icebreaker for any intro foods class. You can also use the questions as a pre-quiz of sorts.

Culinary Essentials This icebreaker gives students an opportunity to brag a bit by claiming that “I make the best chili in the world.” It also introduces students to food issues such as “I have seen the documentary Food, Inc.” and “I have butchered and processed my own meat.”

Signature grids can also be made to be a pre-assessment for your content. It is a great way to get issues out, like dietary needs or preferences. It also helps you determine whether most of your students have seen a documentary you plan on showing, or what kind of cooking (in my content area) experiences students have had.

Welcome to my Family and Consumer Sciences Classroom 2015

Welcome back to school, everyone! Our first day was today, Tuesday, with an early dismissal. That leaves me with a few minutes to share some of my classroom updates and organization strategies.

I’ve shared in the past that my kitchens are quite retro. I LOVE my metal cabinets, but they are original to the school. They were “updated” in the late 70’s to burnt orange, although my heat register stayed “60’s blue.”

All this to say, I am embracing my groovy colors with a 70’s owl theme. I happened on the border at Walmart for just $.99.


My information center has two three-tiered Sterlite drawer sets. One holds supplies and the other is labeled for students to turn in work. I do my best to never touch papers. I put them in a place for students to walk around and pick them up and designate a specific place for students to put them back. I am not a naturally organized person, so this procedure helps a lot.

The cute basket is actually a cell phone holding cell.


On the board I made owls to hold missing/no name papers. I took the owl images from a Google search, cropped off the feet in a Google drawing, and added the words. They were printed on sheets of card stock along with the labels for the turn in drawers.


I stapled a paper cup to the bulletin board to hold my colored pens. If a student is absent I write their name on the calendar in their class’s color. I have one above for MTSS block as well.

I made room for my favorite Seneca quote. I drew a cloud in a Google drawing which automatically makes a text box that I typed in. The trunk is freehand. The owl sticker matches my border perfectly, but is from the scrap booking section of Micheal’s.


I put magnet tape on the back of my remotes and eraser. The markers have a magnetic button taped to them with electrical tape. Keeping them on the ledge seems obvious, but I still misplace them, so magnets help.


I don’t bother passing out a syllabus because students don’t use them beyond the first day. Instead I make address labels with my contact information. On Friday I will check that the students have the sticker on a folder with their hall passes inside.


Our students do not carry planners, so I assign passes at the beginning of the term. Students may leave up to four times in a term or they may turn the passes in for extra credit. I obviously always allow a student to leave, but if it it becomes a problem and the passes are used I sometimes have them come in after school. Or, so I say. No one has ever used all of their passes. 🙂


I like to think that everyone’s classroom has a mess pile they just forget to photograph. This is just one of my little corners; there are at least a few more. The mixers are not back in the kitchens and neither are the microwaves. Here is mine… hopefully it starts a trend!

Take care of yourself this year!

Hand Sanitizer Hall Pass

How do you like my new hall pass?


The students think it is pretty funny. It’s not the best one in the school, but I don’t care to compete with a giant plastic fish or a toilet seat.

As you can see, I added a label to a bottle of hand sanitizer. You could just write on the bottle with permanent marker. Here’s how I made mine with free online tools:

  • I found a copyright-free image of daisies using Creative Commons Image Search
  • I opened the image in my favorite free online photo editor, PicMonkey
  • I applied a black and white filter
  • I adjusted the contrast to be very dark
  • I added white text over the image
  • I printed the image on the back of a yellow flyer
  • I taped the image onto the bottle with packaging tape


Printing on the back of a poster is not the limit to my stinginess thriftiness. I cut a rubber band from broccoli in half (because it is too thick to use otherwise) and wrapped it around the pump to limit the amount dispensed with each pump.

Does anyone else use funny hall passes?