Do You Like Your Neighbors?

What do you do on the first day for an ice breaker with your kids?

My first few years of teaching I always went to “Great Expectations” every summer for professional development. It was started by a really nice man named Charlie Holler who (m??) was from right here in Ponca City. He was a business man who saw the need of manners and children rising to new standards in school. He put together group of educators and community leaders and out of his idea “Great Expectations” was born. It is still being taught and offered as professional development here in Oklahoma every year. Charlie Holler passed away this past school year, and his passing was mourned by teachers across Oklahoma and many other states. He suggested that if you just show students what is “expected” of them they will rise to the occasion. It is what we try every day to show and teach in our school.
A fun “getting to know you” activity I learned at GE is called “Black Socks.” It is based on an old Girl Scout ditty with the same title.  We get in a circle with our chairs; with one less chair than the number of children, and one child standing in the middle of the circle. I teach the kids the song, and we all sing it to the child in the center of the circle. When we come to the end of the chorus we all chant: “Insert child’s name-do you like your neighbors? That child in the center then answers: “yes I like my neighbors especially those that.” As he or she calls out a specific detail all of those children that fit the description they then “race” to find an empty chair including the child from the middle. The last child standing is then “it.” I don’t let kids push or run, and they have to find a seat across from them not next to them. Here is what it may sound like:
Hadley is the child in the center.
All Sing
Black socks, they never get dirty.
The longer you wear them, the stronger they get.
Sometimes I think I should wash them,
But something inside of me keeps saying
Not yet! Not yet!

 Kids Chant:
“Hadley, do you like your neighbors?”

Hadley would answer:
“Yes I like my neighbors, especially those that:
Use good manners” (can choose any type of detail)

At this point all the children who think they use good manners get up an quickly try to find an open chair (remember there is one less than the number of children) including the child in the center. The last child standing then gets to be the next child “who loves their neighbors!”
My kiddos always love this activity and ask to play it throughout the entire year.
This year I have an extra treat to go with this activity. I found this book- Smelly Socks by Robert Munsch 
It will be perfect to read before we play Black Socks, and as a follow up we will be designing some of our own “smelly socks” to hang in the hallway with a sign that says “Do you like you neighbors?” And the kids will write the answer “Especially those that____” won’t they be cute hanging in a row”

Here’s a pair for you and your kiddos and the words to the song! Enjoy!
Back to school for me on Monday meetings and then the kiddos start on Thursday (weird I know). And tomorrow we move my baby girl in her dorm L I can do this. I can do this. I can do this


  1. That's a cute activity. I can see why the kids would love it. Blessings to you this next week. :)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. So much fun! I love it and I want to play it during Inside Recess (it's been so hot here!)
    I love that Robert Munsch book, by the way.
    Good luck moving your daugher . . . :(

    1. Your kids will love it! I'm hoping our hot days are gone. Thanks!

  3. Oh, Tammy - that driving them off to college thing can be REALLY hard . . . on the mom and the dad more than the kid . . . my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Happy new year,

    The Corner On Character

  4. I wondered if the 'move' had happened yet. Best wishes Tammy. It is a hard thing, I know, but you wouldn't want it any other way, really. How wonderful that she is going & growing into such a great young woman. I love your activity-how cute it is, & what a tribute to that man with his 'great expectations." We think that's so important too at our school. Ask much, they will rise to it. Thinking of you... Many have been working this past week, but we are official on Tuesday. Kids come a week later.

    1. Thank you Linda, it of course has come way too fast. But I know she is going to do great things! Good luck in you new year. I hope all is well with you!