Ongoing engagement, Warm up activities

Thick Greetings

Try out a slower and more deliberate opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves.

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Thick Greetings
Educator prep: None
Student prep: None
Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Shared online space, Cameras off option
Duration: 5-30 mins

Activity purpose

“To respect the dignity of each person by providing a slower, thicker, and more deliberate opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves” (as described here).

Useful for

Warm up activity in the beginning of class, or reflection towards the end of class. Can be an introductory activity, but probably more appropriate for older students or later in the semester.


Minimal: Instructions and list of questions students will choose from.


  1. Explain the activity to students and how much time they will get.
  2. Show them the list of questions and give them the list to take with them to breakout rooms (either share the slides or copy the questions into the chat box).
  3. Put students in groups of 3 and let them know how much time each person has to respond to the prompt of their choice. Usually around 4-5 minutes and if they finish early, they should still keep going or choose another prompt. Others need to just listen and not respond, though they could respond with gestures and facial expressions.

It is up to you whether to debrief afterwards on how it felt for students or key things they learned. You don’t want to have people reveal things that were said in the intimacy of their trio to the whole group.


Around 5 minutes to explain and give people a chance to read the prompt options; Around 12-15 minutes in each breakout room, and then any debrief time you choose to include (not necessary).

Adaptations and examples

You may choose to send the prompts to students in advance so they have time to prepare, if some of them have difficulty thinking on their feet.

While this can be done for one prompt that participants choose, the facilitator can suggest a particular prompt and then let participants choose the other two, or any combination of facilitator-chosen and participant-chosen prompts.

If you cannot use breakout rooms, this can be an out class activity for trios of students to do together online (or pairs on the phone or exchanging voice notes on WhatsApp) and report a reflection on how it felt for them.

You can use the same format but with prompts related to reflecting on course material or key learning from a course module. If you cannot do small groups synchronously, you can assign students to meet separately and do the activity together and then reflect without revealing what others have said.

Technical requirements

Space to share the questions (Google slides, docs, chat of the video conferencing tool) and breakout rooms.

Useful resources

List of possible questions to use available here.

More 'Ongoing engagement' activities:
Equity Unbound Activity
Imaginary Buffet (or Potluck)
The purpose of this activity is to engage students with each other’s ‘small talk’, by making a game out of active listening.
Maya Hey
Equity Unbound Activity
PowerPoint Karaoke
Engage students in improv presenting, and enhance oral presentation skills in a light and humorous way.
Maha Bali, Jasmina Najjar, Hoda Mostafa
Equity Unbound Activity
Tiny Tales
Encourage short, focused storytelling, easy to share with others, writing stories in 100 words (or fewer), or 6 words or 2 sentences, etc.
Laura Gibbs

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