I agree with the first part of your post that most icebreakers are terrible; for some people, that is. Extroverts love them! Introverts hate them. We aren’t necessarily “shy,” which describes someone who is afraid of interacting. Being an introvert means that because there is so much thinking going on in my head, it takes an incredible amount of energy for me to interact with people, even people I love. I certainly don’t want to spend that precious energy on people with whom the only thing of consequence I have in common is that we’re taking the same class at the same time. I’m glad that the games you propose here don’t require the players to volunteer personal information, but they require the sharing of pointless information, which is just as tiring to an introvert as sharing personal information. Why in the world would I care when a classmate’s birthday is? If I later become friends with that person, that information becomes more relevant, but it’s useless until then. Line up alphabetically by first or last name? Who cares?! This is wasted time! Get to the teaching that we’re there for! Why even “break” the ice at all? Why not just let it melt naturally and let people get to know each other as needed in the course of time? I have plenty of true friends and just because someone is in the same classroom as I am at the same time doesn’t mean I need to be “friends” with that person.
For teacher education and professional development: We suggest that content knowledge alone is not enough to conduct informal formative assessment. Rather, attention to the stages of the ESRU cycle is vital. Additionally, being explicit with pre- and in-service teachers about the differences in a ESRU model versus a traditional IRE/F model (Teacher Initiation, Student Response, Teacher Evaluation/Feedback) of classroom discussion is important for eliciting information to improve student learning. As a result, it is imperative that teachers are provided with the tools necessary to integrate assessment into the course of daily instruction to enact inquiry-based reforms.