The Power of Story Icebreaker

Tap Into the Life Experiences and Wisdom Adults Bring to Your Classroom

women talking
Romilly Lockyer The Image Bank / Getty Images 10119471

Ideal Size

Up to 20. Divide larger groups.

Use For

Introductions in the classroom or at a meeting where the topic would be enriched by the sharing of personal stories. This exercise gives everyone a chance to share their story and helps you manage storytelling later.

Time Needed

Depends on the number of people and the time you allow for personal stories.

Materials Needed

Nothing, but you must communicate with participants beforehand. They will need to bring a personal item related to your topic.


Send your students an email or letter prior to their arrival at your class or meeting and ask them to bring a personal item that is somehow related to the topic you will be discussing.

When it’s time for students to introduce themselves, explain that you want to recognize and honor the life experiences and wisdom they bring to your classroom. Ask them to give their name, present the item they brought, and, in a minute or two, tell the group the story behind that item.

  • Why did they choose it?
  • What special memory does it elicit for them?
  • What is its significance given your topic?


Ask for a few volunteers to share any surprises they experienced as people shared their stories. Did anyone’s item and story cause them to think differently about your topic?

The Hero's Journey is so important in the understanding of story. Make sure your students are familiar with its elements.

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Your Citation
Peterson, Deb. "The Power of Story Icebreaker." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Peterson, Deb. (2020, August 26). The Power of Story Icebreaker. Retrieved from Peterson, Deb. "The Power of Story Icebreaker." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 1, 2023).