I love this “Name Game.” When students group up for a peer-review session or any kind of activity, I often use this challenge. I’ll say, “Introduce yourself to your group. You then have 5 minutes to discover the most bizarre thing you all have in common.”
(The game also develops the professional skill of building rapport, of finding common ground, and of making connections with someone you do not know.)
It’s a joyful, funny, and telling kind of game. I learned today that two students who might have nothing in common discovered that they both cut their heads open and needed stitches after walking into a stationary object in third grade. Over the years, I love seeing the lit up faces of students discovering they were both at the same concert or both once rode a camel. Some learn that they all dressed up as the same character for Halloween or brought in the exact same thing for show-and-tell. We learn about similar emergency appendectomies, tattoos, and even exact same dog names. Once, a group of students all shared the exact same embarrassing moment: throwing up in the lunchroom at school! How relieved to hear them say, “You, too?”
We’re not so different from one another after all.