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Icebreakers & Community Building Activities

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Crossing the Line, Revisited

This activity is a modified version of commonly-used “Crossing the Line” or “Beyond the Line” activity; the exercise is about respectful discussion through difference and cultivating flexibility of mind: being willing to listen to the arguments of others and potentially be persuaded to consider that other perspective, even if you do not change your own.

The HUP Activity

The HUP activity can help loosen up and bond a group of students prior to presentations.

Cultural Rhetorics

Decolonizing the Calendar

In this community-building activity, students interrogate the ways in which the dominant culture--read as cis-het, primarily white, primarily male, and typically abled—prioritize certain holidays while ignoring others celebrated by underrepresented people.


Six Degrees of Separation

This activity helps students get to know each other and foster collaborations by allowing students to use digital brainstorming platforms to facilitate their discussions and small-group interactions.


Speaking | Cultural Rhetoric | Zoom-ready

Cultural Artifact Introduction Mini-presentations

As a way of getting to know each other and building community, each student will contribute one “cultural artifact introduction slide” to a class slide deck before the first class. This activity offers an opportunity to share some event or object that connects to an aspect of students’ identities, histories, languages, and communities. 


Two (Mini) Stories about Your Name

This ice-breaker activity offers students an opportunity to get to know each other by telling two (mini) stories about their names in two 1-minute presentations, each taking a different perspective. Students will practice presenting ideas to new audiences in a concise manner and develop rhetorical awareness as they embody different storytelling perspectives.


What We Learned in PWR 1

This dynamic ice-breaker activity asks students to jump into the speaking activities in PWR 2 by sharing the foundations of PWR 1 with their classmates.


Introduce Yourself

This icebreaker activity can be used either in PWR 1 or PWR 2 to help students get to know their classmates and also start to understand how shifting audiences influence communication.


Take a Stand

This non-graded presentation activity helps students prep for their proposal presentations by asking them to take a stand on a topic, also providing a rhetoric refresher for students.

These activities are licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Please remember to attribute all activities to their original authors (even if with an “adapted from”) on any handouts, webtexts, slides, or assignments sheets you generate from them.

If you have any activities of your own that you’d like to share, please send them here.