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  • Great Activities for Zooming

  • Aaron

    April 30, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Does anyone have any ideas for engaging students during a weekly Zoom meeting?  I’m working with 5-8 graders.  About 15 kids, though I only expect to see about 8 on Zoom.  Based on student feedback, they are really eager for some peer social time.  Normally my work with these kids is an enrichment pull out model.  So I’m not looking to add more to their plates right now.  I’m just hoping to get them together for a little bit each week to interact with more like minded peers.

    I’m kind of thinking I might have some brainteasers and or discussion starters planned out.  But I’m wondering if anyone has already invented this wheel.




  • Jen Flo

    May 6, 2020 at 2:45 am

    Aaron,   I was in a session with another teacher last week, where she used a google slides presentation to capture different puzzles on each slide.  As a group she reviewed the puzzles, then students renamed themselves with the slide number and their name (ex. – 3 Jen Flo).  Before sending them to breakout rooms, she shared a link to the google slide deck in the class chat, and then assigned the breakout rooms based on student requests.  She could see them all working on their slides in the documents and drop in to the breakout rooms as needed.   She (or a para-educator) stayed mostly in the main room as kids moved between puzzles.

    In this example, the teacher had placed all sorts of suduko puzzles on each slide – letter-based, color, numbers, and others.  Even Ken-ken puzzles.  I hope that makes some sense.  If I can clarify, please don’t hesitate to ask!


  • Wendy Clark

    May 7, 2020 at 12:39 am

    Hi Aaron,

    Great question, and very timely for many of us right now. I have 7th and 8th graders, and it’s been very difficult to get them to participate much via Zoom. Here are few things I’ve tried that have helped:

    1. When they’re admitted from the waiting room I have something like the Daily Set Game screen shared (https://www.setgame.com/set/puzzle). While we’re waiting for others to log in, kids can be looking for sets. This is great for all ages! They can either unmute and tell me when they’ve found one, or (better yet!) type it into the chat. The challenge there is describing the set clearly enough to me that it’s easy to locate.  Other days I’ve opened with some Plexers (http://eatplaymath.blogspot.com/2016/07/plexer-of-day-as-class-opener.html). Each kid that finds a set or answers a Plexer gets their name in a bucket (more on that later).

    2. We’ve started collecting “dad jokes” and categorizing them; pop culture, word play, etc. This week’s theme is Star Wars. Each week I put the previous week’s jokes into a Google form and they vote on their favorites. The students that submitted the winning jokes get their name in the bucket also.  (The Google forms also have questions about their social emotional status, reminders about food pick up times and locations, and such. I insert my Bitmoji into the questions and change her hair/clothes each week to keep them fresh.)

    3. Once a week we have a Tranquil Tuesday Zoom call. The Calm app is free for teachers this year, and I’d been using it before the closure to do some guided mindfulness activities with students. I’ve continued this on Tuesdays through the Zoom calls. I share my screen set to a waterfall or other serene setting, and we all turn off our videos. After the session is over I share something about the exercise for me; what I was envisioning, when I’ve used that strategy to help me through stressful times, etc. Students will sometimes share their experiences as well.

    4. Something new I just discovered and will be starting soon are Ted Ed Riddles (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJicmE8fK0EhMjOWNNhlY4Lxg8tupXKhC). This might be a fun way to add some mental challenge without adding too much to their plates.

    For the names in the bucket throughout the week, I draw out some “winners” at the end of my last Zoom call and I mail home a card with a couple Airheads and a fun note to the student.  Today I added in a “You can do the Rubik’s cube” guide for a student that I know has one at home and has been working on solving it.  My goal is to get cards and treats to all students before too long.

    Thank you again for asking the question, Aaron. I look forward to hearing what you tried and seeing if other have suggestions as well.

    Take care,


  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    May 20, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    Hi all!

    Our district’s been playing around with several engagement strategies.  One of the favorites is the Mystery Guest.  A person from the school or local community joins in the Zoom meeting and students can ask Yes/No questions to narrow down who the guest might be.  I tried this with Emojis because I didn’t have time to hunt down a Mystery Guest, but the premise is the same.  They saw a screen with all of the possible emoji options then had to ask yes/no questions to narrow it down.  I’m sending small prizes to those who win each day.

    I also love Stories with Holes by Nathan Levy or Lateral Thinking Puzzles, I just read aloud and let the students ask the questions until one of them gets the right answer.

  • Jen Flo

    September 14, 2020 at 3:28 am

    I found some great resources and tools on this page to increase the interaction of students. One of my favorites right now is Jamboard!


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