Zoom Distance Learning Fun

Today’s Contributor: Jessica Boone is a 3rd Grade Teacher at Kiker Elementary School. She has been teaching for 8 years now.  The majority of my experience is with 5th Grade and implementing fun technology although not normally in this capacity. Feel free to reach out via email at Jessica.L.Boone@austinisd.org if you would like any images I have for the games I talked about!

If you had told me, a 5th Grade ELA teacher at the beginning of this 2019-20 school year that I would be ending the school year as a 3rd Grade teacher basically quarantined at home with my fellow teacher husband and our three-year-old I would have without a doubt laughed at the absurdity whoever you are. However, that is just the predicament we are now finding ourselves in.

With all of us having to make the switch to distance learning there have been a few questions that have continuously come up from not only my colleagues at my school, but from teacher friends all over. One question that I continuously see from educators is, “What should I do with my students during our Zoom chat today?!” Trying to keep the ideas new, fun, relevant and engaging while also not trying to lose your mind hearing the background of 18 different households is not always the easiest. Even only doing Zoom three days a week it’s always an interesting adventure trying to decide what to do next.

I know that while distance learning is not at all normal for our students, it is our new normal for right now so keeping some sort of routine was really important when I began holding our Zoom classes. I continued starting with some sort of Morning Meeting question. This was what we did every morning in our classroom and the kids were so used to the routine it was not much of a challenge switching to a virtual experience.

However, for the activity portion there was definitely a lot of creativity going on in order to have some fun with the kids. I found some great ideas from Usborne’s Never Get Bored book and made some twists on classics! I’m sure most of these have been tried before but if you see something you like feel free to try it out!

Pick Up a Pencil
Students have to draw a robot but once their pencil hits the paper they can not pick it up until they are finished. We also tried it where they couldn’t look at their paper as a challenge!

Decode Hieroglyphs
I wrote a message in hieroglyphics and had the students try to decode using the hieroglyphic alphabet that was displayed for them. I then had them create a word and they could share with each other

Test Your Memory
I displayed a picture to the students and gave them time to memorize it. I then showed them the same picture and they had to guess which superhero was missing and try to name them all.

Spot the Difference
Students had to spot the differences between two images side by side. They wrote them down and as I shared them they checked it off if they got it correct.

Scavenger Hunt
A list of 25 items were up on the screen and students had 8 minutes to try and collect as many of those items as they could find. I then had them hold up the item they found as I called out the objects down the list.

I displayed an image of a virtual Boggle board and gave the students a set time where they were to write down as many words as they could come up with from the given letters.

I put a list of random things and the students had to come up with an example for each item on the list that started with the same letter. They got competitive to see who could get the most!

The classic drawing game done virtually. I split the class into two teams and via the chat function I privately messaged each of them a word or phrase they had to draw. Their teammates then tried to guess what their drawing was.

Virtual Trivia
Using Google Slides, I created a virtual trivia game. Filled with random fun trivia. The students would write down their answers and checked it at the end. We’ll be doing a team one soon!

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