Dice Breakers and Debriefs

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Explore how to engage students in self-judgement and reflection using dice debriefing activities and dicebreakers. Get some templates, too!

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Activity: Dicebreaker

Directions: Dicebreaker Activity

  1. Take a moment to get up and walk around.

  2. Pair up with someone and roll the dice.

  3. Read the prompt for your number (use the chart shown right)

  4. Share your response with your partner.

  5. Listen to your partner.

  6. Find a new partner. Repeat until time expires.

  7. Return to your seat when activity is complete.

Topics

  1. What's the Research Behind Dicebreakers?

  2. How Do DiceBreakers Work?

  3. Examples in the Wild

  4. Wait, More Research!

Research

An NCBI study reveals that icebreaker activities:

  • Encourage participants to bond and form a new team

  • Get people from different backgrounds to meet

  • Invite others to become involved with learning about new subject matter

  • Help the group leader become acquainted with the participants and interpersonal interactions within the group

  • Yield observed information on the group’s dynamics, which can assist group leaders in tailoring lessons to group needs

How Dicebreakers Work

You may already know that icebreakers are great tools. You can find TCEA’s ebook, Digital Icebreakers That Shatter, for free online. And, of course, a TechNotes collection of blog entries explores various icebreaker activities.

The process for setting up a dicebreaker is simple:

  1. Since the printed dot count ranges from one to six, assign each number of dots an activity or question for a total of six.

  2. Pass out or share a die with each group of students. If using stations, you can place a die at each station, then have students roll that die upon arriving.

  3. When students roll a number, they share their coordinating response with others at the station or in the group.

Want a list of digital dice? Be sure to read Peggy Reimers’ Try Your Luck with Five Free Virtual Dice blog entry. Dice can be used for many activities and games in the classroom. Discover five virtual dice options you can use with your students today.

Examples in the Wild

Example #1: Inside-Outside Circle twist on the @TCEA Dicebreaker warm-up activity. Transitions back from holiday break and getting everyone talking is a win. Special thanks to teacher Elizabeth Vanderveen Heinrich - Source: https://tinyurl.com/tceadbe1

Example #2: 4th graders learning more about each other and kicking off fitness class with “dicebreakers." Special thanks to OJR Elementary Health and PE.
Source: https://tinyurl.com/tceadbe2

Support Self-Judgment and Reflection

You can use dice debriefing activities as entry or exit tickets, for example, to engage students in Self-judgment and Reflection. Known as self-judgment, research has shown its importance as it enjoys an effect size of 0.75 (as of John Hattie’s latest research).

Self-judgment and reflection have the potential to “considerably accelerate” student achievement. It is proven effective when students self-assess knowledge before learning and then reflect and self-evaluate for understanding post-learning.

View or get your own copy of this graphic via Google Slides

Dice Debrief Questions

Here are a few debrief questions you can use in a dice debrief:

  • What did you learn today?

  • Why does what you learned matter?

  • List three big ideas you got out of today’s lesson.

  • What process did you go through today? Did it work? Why or why not?

  • What resources (e.g. books, websites) did you use today?

  • Did what you write or make meet your goals?

  • How do you feel about your work today? Why?

  • What would you change or do differently?

Additionally, such activities work well as entry tickets when you ask questions like:

  • What do you think we’ll be learning about today?

  • What do you already know about this topic?

  • What areas would you like to learn more about?

  • What predictions (or guesses) can you make about what you will be learning today?

  • How do you feel about this subject?

  • What are some areas you might need help in?

You can also adapt ideas from this blog entry on bell ringers. How could you adapt exit tickets for this fun variation?

You may have found these templates useful, but there are many more online. A Roll and Respond list of questions caught my eye. It included questions such as:

  • What are you looking forward to?

  • What are you looking forward to doing?

  • If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?

  • If you could have something to help, what would it be?

  • How would you describe this idea to an alien from outer space?

  • How is this the same or different?

Let's Give It A Go: Make Your Own

Activity: Let's Give It a Try

Create a dicebreaker activity using one of the templates available.

More Resources

Dice Debrief

Instructions

  1. Pair Up

  2. Roll The Dice using one of these free services:

    1. Roll Die

    2. Roll a Die

    3. Classroom Dice

  3. Share what your dice debrief is in your group

  4. Discuss with each other

  5. Share Takeaway via Dice Debrief Jamboard (choose an empty panel or duplicate one for your group)