"Hello, My Name Is..."

The Basics:

Players sit in chairs in a circle with one player standing in the middle.  The circle should have the exact number of chairs for everyone participating, except for the person in the middle.  The middle player says "Hello, my name is..." and then states his or her real name, and then shares a true statement about himself or herself.  At that point, all the players who have that fact in common with the person in the middle must stand up and move to a different seat from where they started.  This will hopefully give the middle person the opportunity to find a seat, leaving a different person stranded in the middle.  This new player in the middle will then say "Hello, my name is..." and play continues.

In the Classroom:

  • This is a game often played during the first or second day of class.  It is a great way to break the ice and have everyone get to know each other better.  Especially their names.
  • This is also a great way to mix up the order of who they are sitting with, so from the end of this game a teacher can randomly create groups for the next activity by counting off, or just grouping them with neighbors...
  • An added activity at the end is to try to get conversations started by telling players up front to try to remember at least one fact about everyone in the circle, and then have them turn to their neighbor at the end of the game and ask a question about something they found out.  "You got up when they said they owned a dog, what kind of dog do you have?" (The strategy of remembering little facts about people we know, so we can ask them about it later is what speech pathologist, Michelle Garcia Weiner, refers to as "people files") 

Avoiding Problems:

  • This game also reveals personality traits about your students as well.  Students who desire attention will find themselves in the middle quite often, while kids how are particularly shy will do a very good job of staying out of it.  This is not usually a problem unless it becomes too obvious and other players start complaining.  This only happens to the first type of player, and a simple reminder such as "Jimmy, lets try a bit harder to find a chair, okay?"  Or "Help Jimmy get a seat!" in the middle of the kids moving, is usually enough to improve things.
  • Kids will find different strategies, such as saying things that everyone has in common (I am human!) or say something they know only one other kid has in common with them, forcing that person in the middle.