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Home » Blog » Technology » 20 Ideas for Increasing Online Engagement

20 Ideas for Increasing Online Engagement

Technology, Virtual Routines

Written by: Katie Palmer

Some teachers have been teaching online since last March! This means some students have been learning online for over a YEAR of their school career! Although there are perks to online learning (and it is amazing how quickly kids learn new technology!) it has worn out its welcome for many teachers and students. Luckily, there are ways to up the online engagement level during virtual lessons! You are going to want to print this list and post it next to your computer for on-the-fly ideas when you need them!

Bonus – Keep scrolling to the end for an extra surprise for your students!

1- Mystery Bags

Mystery Bags can be related to the content being taught that day. Teachers can give clues, students can raise their hand and unmute to give guesses, write their guesses on their whiteboards to show the class OR they could submit their guess through a google form. They could be kept guessing for a couple of days. (If you use a google form, you could show them a bar graph of results to tie in math skills!) One way the mystery bag concept has been used in the past is to teach adjectives! Check out this post: Adjectives, Adjectives, Adjectives, to get a closer look at our “What’s in the Bag?” activity.

2- Silent Dance Party

Silent dance parties are a FUN way to celebrate each time a student answers a question right. (Depending on the personalities in the class, teachers may have to set boundaries on how long the dance party will last! HA!) Making sure these dance parties are silent is the key to keeping the lesson moving. Students will love the little break and it will help build classroom community, even though you can’t be together!

3- Spinners

Want a fun way to call on students? Input their names into an interactive spinning wheel! One free online spinner is Wheel of Names. Names can be removed once they answer a question. What a fun way to review a concept OR assign partners! Students will watch the wheel spin with anticipation to see if THEIR name will be the next one!

4- Skill Review Games

Instead of a traditional skills review how about a game of teacher vs. students? The kids will LOVE the thought of competing against their teacher! One quick way to create a review game is On this site, teachers can easily turn a google spreadsheet into a game board template! This idea would be great to implement at the end of units or chapters to review!

5- Polls

Post a poll question at any point in the lesson when you need a quick boost in online engagement! Students can answer these poll questions online with a free polling app or simply have them write their answers on whiteboards (or even just a hand raise if it is a two-option poll.) Polls are a quick way to check student understanding, and to make sure they are engaged in the lesson!

6- Break Out Rooms

Break out rooms are great for online group work! Depending on the age group, a student in each group can be assigned as the “captain” to keep the group on task. Assign a topic for each break out group or send a question in the chat box for the groups to discuss. Students will enjoy the brief group work AND this type of online setting may make some students feel more confident in sharing their ideas.

7- Language Charades

Charades is a tried and true classroom game. Bonus – it is totally doable online! Simply send each student a chat with what they will act out. This game is perfect for review verbs as students can just act out the verb!

8- Secret Words or Phrases for Videos

Before having students watch learning videos, assign a “secret word” or phrase for students to listen for. Teach them a silent signal for when they hear the word. This could be jazz hands, hand raised or any silent action the teacher chooses. This online engagement strategy forces students to listen closely to the video!

9- Interactive Games

Games can be very engaging AND can help cement concepts. There are TONS of free games online! is a great site filled with teacher-created games on all sorts of learning topics! These games could be played whole group through screen share OR they could be assigned as fun homework. Be sure to head over to word wall to search upcoming lesson topics!

10- Jamboards

Jamboard is an engaging part of the Google suite. In Jamboard, students can interact with each other, create a group board (birthday board, poll question, or a board on the day’s topic). Want to know more on how fun Jamboard is? Check out THIS post.

11- Change Teacher Bitmoji Location or Action

If you use a teacher Bitmoji or are part of the Bitmoji classroom creative craze, try moving your Bitmoji each day OR changing the pose. Students will love trying to find the Bitmoji and seeing the daily changes. It will be something they look forward to each day!

12- Tell Jokes & Take Turns Telling Them

Jokes are a great way to grab student attention. Our team has a post: 2nd Grade Jokes & Riddles filled with kid-approved jokes put together in our Facebook group, Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers. Check out the post and write down your favorite jokes to share with your class. Throw out your favorite joke when your students are starting to look tired. This is guaranteed to perk them up!

13- Secret Letters Hidden in Directions

Put secret letters throughout your daily lesson. Tell kids to write the secret letters down as they find them so that at the end of the lesson, they can combine the letters to reveal a mystery word. These letters could be written bigger, smaller, in a different font or color, or flipped backwards. Students will be paying close attention so they don’t miss any of the secret message!

14- “Gamified” Quizzes

Ever watched Jeopardy? Very fun game! Guess what? It is super fun to play in the classroom as well! There are a couple of options for this one. You can find a jeopardy board premade online. If you are not able to find an already made game board, check out the free, easy-to-use template you can personalize with your learning topics. Check out this list of templates HERE. What a fun way to review for a test!

15- Quizizz or Kahoot

Using an interactive online game platform like Quizziz or Kahoot is a super easy way to get engagement. With these platforms, students will need a separate device from their computer. Or, they will need to toggle between two tabs. Besides being super engaging, these websites are already jam-packed with teacher-made quizzes on almost any topic! Simply search a topic, display the code for students to enter in, and let the games begin!

16- Choose 3 Games

This option is great for a quick brain break. When you notice your class becoming less engaged, pause the lesson and have them go around their house and get three random things. When they return, ask them questions such as, “If you had a flat tire, which object would you use to fix it?” or “Which object would make the perfect present for your uncle”. They will hold up the object they decide. Fun, quick and engaging!

17- Brain Breaks

Brain breaks are a great way to incorporate a quick brain boost AND boost online engagement! There are a couple of ways to offer brain breaks online. One, stream a brain break video from your computer/shared screen. Two, put a list of exercises on a random name wheel online, and spin to get a quick brain & body workout. Students will get a much-needed break that also works on physical skills.

18- Guided Drawing Videos

Students LOVE these! Teachers can choose a video that has to do with the theme or unit of study OR just choose a random drawing. These videos are usually short, but many are left feeling like a true artist when it is done. Check out this fan favorite: Art Hub for Kids.

19- This or That Game

Also known as “Would you rather?”, this game could be lots of fun to play with your class. There are several already made this or that games on YouTube, Here is a cute one! This game can then be screen shared by the teacher for some whole group fun.

20- Bingo

Bingo is a great motivator in the elementary classroom. Especially when it is “stand up and do the activity” bingo. Teachers will cut up the activities in strips and draw one out. Students will cover up the activity on their board AND stand up and complete the activity. HERE is a link to free activity bingo cards!

BONUS #21 – Free Distance Learning Brag Tags!

Brag tags are a fun way to celebrate students! After many request from our community of teachers, we designed these FREE distance learning brag tags for you!

  • Magnificent Muter
  • Going the Distance (Learning)
  • Distance Learning Superstar
  • Thanks for Rolling with it
  • I Rocked Remote Learning
  • Good Digital Citizen
  • 100% of Work Completed
  • I Survived the Covid Close

BONUS #22 – Virtual Field Trip Ideas!

Hopefully these ideas help spice up online engagement during your virtual lessons! Make sure to check us out on Facebook, Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers, for even more ideas for the classroom.

Remember, together we are better!

1 Comment

  1. Sandrine Nanninga

    Recently I’ve been using spinner wheels, and engagement seems to increase. Thanks!


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