Now that distance learning has become the new normal for teachers all over the world, creativity is at an all-time high as teachers are trying to figure out ways to reach and teach their students. Zoom can be a great option for this. If you’ve never used Zoom before, it can be overwhelming to figure out on your own so we’ve put together everything you need to know along with some fun activities to get you going.
Tips to Get Started
- Schedule your class in the Zoom application for your desired date/time and copy the invitation details to send to your students.
*Please note that students will not need to register for an account to join.
- Join your class a couple minutes early to ensure a proper connection then follow the below tips for a quality online learning experience.
- Take time to promote questions, comments, and reactions from your class. Give a minute to allow your students to utilize reactions, write their questions in chat, or be unmuted to ask their questions live.
- Pre-set your meeting to mute participant’s microphones upon entry. This helps to avoid background noise and allow your students to focus on your lesson.
- Schedule a practice meeting with a colleague or family member so you can practice screen sharing and using the chat function. This way you can work through any hiccups before you’re ready to start with your students!
- When everyone logs in for the first time, you’ll want to spend some time making sure everyone’s audio and video are working. It’s also a good idea to go over ground rules (see below) and expectations.
- You will probably want to hit the record button so students can access the session later. Also, some school districts require recording the video for child safety considerations. Make sure your Cloud sharing is enabled in your settings. You can always find your recordings at zoom.us/recording.
- You do have the ability to turn the chat feature off if you’d like their undivided attention while you are talking to them.
- If you really want to get fancy you can try out their virtual backgrounds or beauty filters too!
- No chat while teacher is talking
- Be on time
- Zoom from kitchen or living room
- Mute yourself
- Turn on video
- Be prepared
- Adult needs to be present
- Raise your hand to talk
- Be respectful
Morning meeting is a nice way to start out a Zoom meeting with your class. Start with a question that each student can choose to respond to. Morning meeting discussion slides are a great option for this. The teacher can open the file and select “share screen” in Zoom for the students to read the question of the day.
All students need a good read aloud every single day. Zoom makes it easy to do. Make yourself, as the host, take up the full screen so the students can see the pictures easily. Note- the words will appear backwards on your side but rest assured they are not backwards from your students’ screens.
Scavenger hunts are fun! Here’s how they work. The teacher will announce a household item that the students need to find. Give the students a goal time limit to find their item and return to show the class. Get ready for giggles! Here are a few items we suggest.
- TV Remote
- Piece of Fruit
- Something red
- Something soft
- Something round
- Pair of glasses
- 2 socks that match
A lot of students are already familiar with use the Toothy Task Cards in their classrooms so why not bring some familiarity back in these uncertain times with Digital Toothy. The teacher shares her screen and opens up the digital version on his/her computer. Students solve the problem on a white board or piece of paper. Then the teacher says, “1, 2, 3…show me!” All at the same time the kids can hold up their answers and then the teacher can add a tooth in Toothy’s mouth. Kids are loving this!
Show and Tell
Show and tell can be a nice option to wrap up the week. It can also be used as an incentive to work hard all week. This is a great opportunity for students to share a pet from home, a sibling, or even just a story. To do this, make sure all the students are muted and students have a quick 30 second share time. It may be a good idea to have name sticks to draw for each child to take a turn.
Kids love directed drawings. Art Hub for Kids on YouTube is a great option. The teacher can share their screen while the students make their own drawing. When the drawing is finished, each student can take turns showing their drawing to the class. Extend this project by assigning it as a writing activity to complete at home and bring back to the next Zoom call to read aloud.
Would you Rather
A quick game of Would you Rather is a great way to start or even end a Zoom call with your class. Students can vote which they would rather do by assigning a number to each item. The students can hold up a 1 or a 2 with their fingers to give their answers.
You can use a Zoom whiteboard to play Pictionary. To use Zoom’s whiteboard, you’ll want to click the share screen button located in your meeting toolbar, select the whiteboard, and click share. You should then see annotation tools that will let you use your mouse to draw as you would for Pictionary.
Students love playing Kahoot at school so why not play it on Zoom? To do this, you will need to log into your Kahoot account and find your Kahoot to host. Then, connect to Zoom and make sure the webcam, microphone, and speaker are turned on. Next, click play to launch the kahoot so the lobby is showing with the game PIN. After that, share your screen, so those joining can all see the game PIN. Finally, host the Kahoot as usual, taking care to not speak over the music that plays during the timer countdown – you can either: wait until the final answer responses are shown to talk, or mute your speaker to talk over the game music. Click here to read more Kahoot tips.
Lighten the mood and tell some jokes. Take turns being the speaker to share the joke with the class. Fun and simple!
Mystery bag is another fun way to begin or end a Zoom call. It’s also great for practicing inferencing skills! Place a “mystery item” in a paper bag and give the class clues as to what it might be. Students take turns guessing what the mystery item is. This can also be done with a student giving the clues and having the mystery item at their house.
The whiteboard option inside of Zoom can be great for creating visual for your students as you teach. The teacher and the students can engage on this whiteboard if you allow it. Try white boarding math problems or have a student use annotation to highlight items such as grammar mistakes in a paper you’re sharing.
20 questions is a game that can be played on Zoom just like it is played in the classroom. First, think of an object. Then, choose a student to ask a YES or NO question. Have the students continue asking these type of questions. Next, let the students guess the answer at any time in the questioning process. The student to guess the correct answer is the winner and gets to be the one to pick the next object. Students can submit their questions by clicking on the “raise my hand” button in the Zoom settings.
Brain breaks are important at school and they are also important on Zoom calls. The longer the Zoom call, the more important it is to incorporate a little break. If you are already doing Go Noodle breaks in the classroom, these will bring a sense of familiarity to your students. To do this, simply open up a Go Noodle dance and share your screen. Then watch the fun begin!
This one would take a little bit of planning but it’s a fun way to incorporate some excitement. Tell your students ahead of time that they can plan for a Zoom Talent Show. You can decide the rules but I would definitely make a time limit of 30 seconds to 1 minute for their talent demonstration to get through the whole class. After each talent show entry, students can give a “silent cheer” to show their support since they are all muted during the “performance”.
Would you like to have all of these ideas all in one place? Click the button below to download a free printable of all these Zoom activities.