In 2020, classrooms around the world were changed in an instant. Teachers went from teaching in person one day to teaching online the next. Many teachers had to completely change their teaching style or learn new programs and techniques. Today, many schools and students are still choosing to have online classes. Let's look at twenty-five ways to keep your online classes exciting.
1. Classroom Playlist
Create a playlist to use during down times or student work times in the classroom. Give the students an opportunity to contribute songs or give suggestions. Spotify is an excellent resource with many playlists already available.
Learn more: Spotify
2.Virtual Field Trips
This is quite possibly one of the coolest outcomes of the switch to remote learning. We've shared lists before with many virtual field trips, but some may not be available anymore so check first! The Nature Conservancy still has many fun trips available.
Learn more: Nature Conservancy
3. Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is a great online activity because you're able to use common household items and everyone can participate. Create your own or use a pre-made template like this.
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
4. Escape Rooms
Escape Rooms were becoming popular prior to 2020, but now you can bring them to your classroom! Escape rooms force your students to think differently to solve puzzles and help your students work on their communication skills. Check out the ones available from Study All Knight.
Learn more: Study All Knight
5. Summer Book Club
Zoom makes things like a summer book club so easy and accessible. You can assign your normal summer reading, but schedule a time or day for students to meet and discuss the reading. This is great classroom community building that can happen outside the classroom. Michelle McDonald has some novel studies in the digital format.
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a portion of their site dedicated to kids. Your students can explore the museum, travel through a time machine, and learn more about art through videos with other kids.
Learn more: Met Museum
7. Smithsonian Learning Lab
The Smithsonian is another museum that has a ton of online resources for students. Students can learn more about art, history, and science, and teachers are able to use it as a resource for class discussions or projects.
Learn more: Smithsonian Learning Lab
If you're looking for a way to switch up your interactive review game, then check out Kahoot. Through this online platform, you're able to provide study materials, play review games or a classic icebreaker game, assess your students, collect polls, and so much more.
Learn more: Kahoot
Most of our students already know what this game is, but lucky for us, Minecraft has an educational site filled with lesson plans and curricula. They've also created a community of educators where you can chat about what is and isn't working in your class.
Learn more: Minecraft Education Edition
10. Schell Games
If you're in need of more educational games, check out Schell Games. They have a wide range of games available as mobile apps or online and desktop apps. You can check out their game page and see the target audience's age and whether the game is for educational or entertainment purposes.
Learn more: Schell Games
11. Behind the Mask
This is a super fun game for your students. It's a similar game to Mafia. Students are blindly chosen to be a doctor, villager, or the werewolf. The class has to work together to determine who the werewolf is before they all die. What's special about this game is that you can change the themes to a zombie attack or pandemic. Read the rules here.
Learn more: Instructables
Teachers have probably played jeopardy more in their online classrooms than ever before. There's so many game boards available for every subject. It's definitely an addictive game! Find your next jeopardy board.
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
14. Trivia Games
Virtual Trivia Games are great for all grade levels. You can create your own through websites like TriviaMaker or use pre-made quizzes like the ones on TriviaNerd. QuizBreaker is a site that tests how well you know your classmates as you guess their icebreaker answers.
15. Board Games
16. Class Games
There are so many online classroom games you could play, but my personal favorite is Two Truths and a Lie. Each student types out three statements (two true and one false) in the chat box or on the white board. I assign each statement a reaction emoji and the students choose which statement they think is the lie and use that reaction. I had very competitive students so they got into the game. Try to find ways to incorporate it into the grammar structure you are learning at that time. Here are classroom games you could play on Zoom.
Learn more: Marie Claire
17. Zoom Backgrounds
Allowing backgrounds for students on Zoom gives them a chance to express their creativity (within reason). You could have theme days such as animals or food or places to travel and then have a poll to decide whose background is the class favorite. Check out these classroom and nature background options.
Learn more: Tech Republic
18. Icebreaker Questions
Icebreaker questions are always a great way for the students to get to know each other. I like to have the students submit their answers privately to me in the chat box and then I choose a few to read and the students have to guess who gave that answer. Read through more icebreaker questions here.
Learn more: Museum Hack
19. Virtual Yoga
21. Story Building
Google Documents gives us an excellent opportunity to encourage student creativity. The students have the ability to write on the document all at the same time. A fun activity for students is to build class limericks. Separate the students into breakout rooms and give them a couple of minutes to work together on their limerick. The students love using their creative skills, and I love teaching them the correct format. Show them these limericks for an example.
Learn more: Mr Peek's Poetry Funtime
22. International Holidays
Did you know that almost every single day is a holiday? There are books and websites that list a holiday for every day and week of the year. Use these to your advantage by creating writing prompts or letting the students dress in costume for class. Here's a list of special holidays for every day of the year.
Learn more: Holidays Calendar
23. Spirit Week
Who says online learning means you have to cancel some of the in-person favorites? Giving students a spirit week gives them something to look forward to and get excited about. This is a perfect time for online team-building activities. Find more Spirit Day ideas here.
Learn more: Success by Design, Inc.
24. Art Projects
Don't neglect group art projects. Tell the students and parents in advance what the project is and what tools they will need. Even at a distance, we can still encourage student creativity. Take a look at this art project from @misswestbest.
Learn more: Miss West Best
25. Virtual Rewards
In an in-person classroom, you would have parties when students met goals, so why not have a virtual party? @virtualteacherashley shared that on a "fun Friday", her students visited Disney theme parks using VR and rode a rollercoaster on Youtube. It's okay to give your students breaks like this to switch up your class activities.
Learn more: A Teacher and her Cat