Contributed by Bob Burton

Bob Burton is the author of Spirit Works: Turn It On! His book contains many fun activities and “how to” accomplish them. Bob recently passed away following a long fight with cancer. The Burton family continues to make a difference in student activities by offering the latest version of Bob's book at www.spiritworks.com. Thank you, Ann, for all you do in Bob's memory.

I'm happy to submit the following mixer -- I've used it often through the years.
Give each participant a blank 5x8 card and a safety pin. Tell them that they're going to make “another" nametag (assuming they're already wearing one). Have them print their first name in letters about 2" high as they hold the card horizontally facing them. Now tell them that they're going to answer 3 questions about themselves in each corner of their card (so,"leave space for three lines in each corner").

Start with the upper right corner. Tell them that each of these 3 are going to be PLACES. First, have them print the place where they first successfully rode a 2 wheel bike. Then, just below that, the place where they had their best experience ever with an ice cream cone. Third, if they could return tomorrow to one place where they've been before, where would it be?

Now go to the upper left corner: THINGS. First, have them print their most meaningful material possession. Then, a gift that they gave of which they were very proud when they gave it (what was the gift?). Finally, something that they "always wanted" but "never got.”

Now, down to the lower left corner. Remind them that they need to leave space for 3 lines. These will be questions about PEOPLE. First, if you could meet one person from all of history and spend 4 hours with him or her getting to know each other, who would it be? Then, have them print the name of the person who's had the greatest influence on them. Finally, the name of the best teacher they've ever had in school.

Now over to the lower right; Their all-time favorite TV show, book, and then movie (3 lines, one under the other).

Pair kids with others who they haven't known well. Then, tell them that they are to choose any two corners of their card, and talk about their answers to their partner for 2 minutes. IMPORTANT: the partner may not talk for the 2 minutes. No questions. No nothing. JUST LISTENING. After 2 minutes, switch talkers and listeners. What about the SAFETY PIN, you ask? Now, have each kid attach his/her new nametag to their shirt for the lunch period or the rest of the day or whatever. Encourage kids to "check out" other nametags and to ask others about their answers.