Can We Talk?
A great first-day assignment I use with my students is to have them interview each other. After I start class with a mini-lesson on asking questions and follow-up questions, I have them line up by birthday without talking, only communicating by hand signals. After they line up, I divide the line in two and have them pair up with a person across from them. This way I avoid friends interviewing friends. Each person interviews his/her partner and takes notes. The next day I ask each student to bring in a picture and have the students introduce each other by reading the interview and posting it and the picture on the bulletin board.