Think back to when you were a kid–it’s back-to-school season and the new class lists are posted. You spend the night before school mentally reviewing the names–who would be your friend? Who would you sit next to? Would there be a fun getting to know you game or a lame icebreaker? The next day, you walk into class with a head full of ideas about who these kids were and what they were like. What if you didn’t know someone’s name? What if you wanted to be friends with the girl with the same shoes as you but you forget what the teacher called her that morning?
Now imagine that it’s the first day of school and you don’t have to worry about forgetting anyone’s name because your teacher has a getting to know you game all planned out—starting with Name Game Knockout.
The rules of this getting to know you game
Name Game Knockout is truly the perfect way for kids to have fun while getting to know each other better. While the focus of the game is on learning student names, it’s also a great opportunity for kids to share a little bit about themselves, play together as teammates, and start to learn the traits of their new classmates.
How to Play:
P.S. I have a whole post dedicated to the rules of Knockout (including a video) here, but for info specific to Name Game, read on:
To begin, this game can be played with any number of students, but even-sized teams are crucial and each team should consist of at least 5 players (whole class is better).
1. Students line up in 2 lines facing the whiteboard. The teacher projects Name Game Knockout on the screen.
2. Before playing, I recommend introducing each student by name and one quick fact about them (ex. “This is Sarah, she likes to play soccer”).
3. The first person in each line faces off to either stay in the game or get knocked out.
4. When it is a new turn, both players at the head of the line will be shown a new slide. On the slide, there will be 2 photos of students in the class.
5. The first player to guess the name of the student in the photo gets to stay in the game and return to the end of their line.
6. The player who can’t guess the name correctly or quickly enough is “out”. The next player from their team comes up to take their place. The player who stays in the game goes to the end of their line.
7. Of course, there’s a twist. If you are faced with any of the following slides, here’s what happens:
Double Free Pass: Both players automatically get to stay in the game!
Double Knockout™: Both players are automatically out!
Knockout/Free Pass: One player leaves, one stays!
Pick a Pal: Choose a player from the bench to return to the game!
Knockout/Pick a Pal: One player leaves, the other chooses a friend to return!
8. The game is over when one team has no more players left. The other team wins!
Optional: If you want to make the game more challenging, you can ask students to write their answers using the word wall (assuming you’ve introduced the word wall and added student names by this point). This adds an extra level of difficulty because students can’t just guess any name, they have to find the name on the word wall.
Ways to play this getting to know you game
Name Game Knockout is a great way for kids to have fun while getting to know each other. This getting to know you game can be played at any time during the school day, but it’s especially fun when played first thing in the morning or during recess. It’s a great way for kids to wake up and get moving, or to take a break from academics and get some energy out. Plus, it’s the perfect icebreaker. If you’re looking for a fun and interactive way to get to know your students better, look no further than Name Game Knockout!
You can download your own editable Name Game Knockout along with step-by-step set-up instructions here.