2020 has thrown everything for a loop, especially schools and universities. The classroom simply looks different with schools offering blends of online and in-person interactions. That can make interpersonal connections difficult, to say the least. Students are quick to log off when the lesson is over rather than hang around and chat with their friends, which they may have done in the physical classroom. Students also seem less inclined to reach out to their professor for assistance or a listening ear, as who knows what the privacy situation is like in their at-home learning environment?
All in all, the education system has become less personal with things like technology playing a critical role due to the pandemic. A connection has to be forced, which may feel foreign but will pay off in the end. Today, we’ll be sharing different virtual classroom activities you can try with your students. Hopefully, implementing some mandatory fun into the classroom loosens the stress associated with online learning, even by a little bit.
Start Small with These 3 Simple Classroom Activities
1. Show & Tell
Sure, “Show & Tell” might be something they outgrew in kindergarten, but it can allow for some casual chatter to get the day started. They have a life offline still, and they probably don’t have the opportunity to share with anyone outside their immediate household. Even if they are surrounded by friends at school, sharing something via text or video is a completely different experience.
Perhaps they’re reading a book for fun, watching a new show, listening to a new artist, or found some other hobby to occupy their time with. Regardless of what it is they might want to share, giving them the ability to do so can improve classroom morale. Don’t be afraid to share what you’ve been doing too, as they may begin to see you as more than just a face on a screen.
2. Pet Parade
We’ve all had a surprise visitor show up in the background of a video conference. Maybe it’s your kid or sibling, but maybe it’s a four-legged pal. When a meeting is blessed with man’s (or woman’s) best friend, you get smiles all around, lightening the tone of the meeting or lecture in the blink of an eye. If you don’t want to spend too much time on it, have a designated student or two prepare their pet to show off during the first five minutes of class. If they don’t own a pet, have them share a bit about their favorite animal! It can be as educational as you want it to be, but more importantly, it will add some human (and pet) connection to your virtual classroom.
3. School Spirit Day
Most schools had an unspoken rule that you’d wear spiritwear on game day. Some schools simply wear school colors, logos, and shirts on Fridays. Whatever the case is for your school (pre-pandemic), there’s no reason to abolish it just because you had to shift to a virtual classroom. Not only does everyone probably have a collection of shirts from clubs and organizations from years past, but now is a perfect time to show off new shirts and designs specific to your class or year! Plus, you’ll have something new to wear once you return to school.
Virtual school spirit “fashion shows” can be just the thing to jazz up the mundanity of video learning. Give the students (and yourself) an excuse to get more than half ready for the day. Have some fun breaking up your typical at-home morning routine. Plus, your school can keep spiritwear simple by turning to 1st Place Spiritwear.
Need a fundraiser? Done. Simply want to stick to unique, top quality spiritwear? Done and done.
Learn more by visiting our website to see what we’ve done for schools across the nation, or do a quick search for your school to see what we have available!
3 Bonus Classroom Activities to Spice Up the Semester
1. Scavenger Hunt
Take a good old classroom scavenger hunt, and make it doable right from your students’ homes! No matter the age range of your virtual classroom, hands-on learning activities are very stimulating. Not only can it help your students conceptualize new ideas relating to textbook content, but it helps them to think outside of the box, too. This sort of thing is completely up to you, the teacher, to figure out what kinds of things you want them to search for, so it could be as silly or as educational as you want it to be.
Another idea: Scattergories. Not familiar with the game? All you do is pick a letter, a category, set a timer, and have everyone list as many qualifying words/items as they can. You can use the chat feature on video platforms or simply use whiteboards or pens and paper – whatever you prefer. Have your students (or yourself) keep track of the unique answers, and you’ll find yourself a bragging-rights winner in no time! Like the scavenger hunt, this can be as silly or as educational and lesson-related as you want it to be. This is also an easy classroom activity to convert online.
Finally, you could whip up a Bingo board full of class mannerisms or video call occurrences. Does someone always get up to get a snack during the lesson? What about a regular cameo from a parent or pet? Do students feign technical difficulties like forgetting to mute themselves?
Turn those inside jokes into a game to make class time a bit more fun (but do so tastefully, as you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings). Again, this may improve the overall human connection. We think this is one of the best classroom team building activities, as it pokes a little bit of fun at the classroom.
Return to School with 1st Place Spiritwear’s Teacher Tips
We know our teachers have been put through the wringer in 2020, and the students have, too. That’s why we could all use a little food for thought on how to shake up our day-to-day learning routines. Make the most of your virtual classroom this year. We hope these ideas will spark some inspiration!