First Day of School Icebreaker Doodle Lesson



This first day of school art lesson is great for any subject as a back to school ice breaker activity. It can be done via distance learning or in the classroom. It also great as an ongoing monthly, weekly, or early finishing assignment. It gets students expressing their thoughts visually fast and without fear of doing it wrong. It points out the difference between drawing, doodling and sketching and stresses the many benefits of doodling. Students choose one question to answer combining doodle, sketch, and writing. It is great for showing new students that you don’t need to be able to draw realistically in order to express ideas, thoughts, and feelings visually. It has lots of examples and ideas for inspiration to help new students dive in quickly with plenty examples of different visual elements and techniques used in mind mapping. It is a great way to get to know your students and for the class to learn about each other.

The beautifully designed Google Slide Presentation explains the project from beginning to end. Simply upload or show the presentation to your students.
If working remotely they snap a photo of their finished work and upload it to the assignment to be graded in Google Classroom. If you would like to learn how to use Google Classroom for Art Class the following resource will walk you through everything you need to know:

This lesson contains:

•A Google Slides presentation outlining the assignment that you can present in class or share with students digitally.

A PDF describing the benefits of doodling and sketching.

•A PDF explaining the difference between drawing, doodling, and sketching.

•A PDF illustrating how doodling, sketching, and writing can be used in combination to map ideas and thoughts.

•A PDF that describes the details of the assignment. There are 6 questions for students to choose from that encourage them to share something about themselves.

•Four handouts that include samples of each of the elements of mind mapping described in the example.

This lesson helps students see the value in both drawing intuitively and realistically and the difference between the two. It sets them up for Visual Journaling and observational drawing.

If you like this activity you may like my Visual Journal resources:

Or substitute activities:

All of my lessons are formatted to share digitally with your students so they can see any video demonstrations and presentations from their own devices. You can find more of my art lessons in my TPT shop here:

More of my student’s work and project samples can be found on my Instagram at


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First Day of School Icebreaker Doodle Lesson