New Year, New Zoom Activities

Kindergarten Cafe

Welcome to Kindergarten Cafe - your home for teaching ideas, activities, and strategies across all content areas! I am Zeba McGibbon and I love creating resources for teachers and sharing my teaching experience with others. Kindergarten Cafe is aimed for kindergarten, but teachers of Preschool-First grade can find resources here for their students! I love to connect with other teachers so please reach out and say hello!

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If you have been remote teaching like me, you might be bored of the same zoom activities over and over again. Or, maybe you are transitioning from hybrid to remote and need some activity ideas. Well, I’ve got you covered! Here are my new favorite zoom activities (to see some of my old favorites, check out this post).

Movement Fun on Zoom

Children always need movement, but I’m finding that children in remote learning really need movement, because they don’t tend to seek it out themselves. So, whenever possible, I try and include movement options into activities. One game is called Spot It where children use the website to try and and find the two matching images. When they find the match, the children have to act out a certain movement (we decide ahead of time), like tap their heads, do jumping jacks, or jazz-hands.

A similar activity is Would you Rather where, using these youtube videos, the children are shown two different movements and scenarios and have to decide which scenario they would prefer. To show everyone which scenario they would prefer, they have to act out the movement attached. This is a great way to “hear” from everyone at once without the noise becoming overwhelming, and it gets kids moving!

Finally, a favorite activity in my class is Coin Toss. We use a virtual coin toss, or you can use an actual coin. Children predict what the coin will land on by placing their hands on their heads (for heads) or hands on their hips (for tails). If they are right, they remain standing and make another prediction for the next toss. If they are wrong, they sit down. The game continues until there is only 1 student left standing. It is a quick moving game, so you could play it multiple times.

Whiteboard Fun

Whiteboards are always engaging and there are many ways to use them in the virtual classroom. I sent home whiteboards with all my students, so we often use them for different academic or fun activities. We also use different digital whiteboards. Zoom of course has a whiteboard option you can use and students can annotate. However, it is important to note that not all students can annotate the whiteboard, like students using chromebooks.

Our new favorite digital whiteboard is Jamboard. The students enjoy making jamboards together during short breaks as a fun, social activity. We also use it for different academic areas to showcase different responses or to display their thinking, as it is easy to illustrate and annotate their thinking. You can have a class Jamboard where everyone responds on one page, or you give each student their own page (you can have up to 20 pages I believe). You can also give each student their own copy of Jamboard through Google Classroom.

Some fun games we play with whiteboards, real or digital, are quick draw, snowperson, and Pictionary. Quick draw is a fun game! You give a scenario or item for the children to draw, but you only give them 30 seconds to draw it. They have a lot of fun with this and it makes it a fun activity where mistakes are encouraged and found humorous. Snowperson (a nicer way to say “hangman”) is a great way to practice spelling words. Instead of building up a hanging man, you build up the snowperson! Pictionary is also a crowd favorite, and it is easy to connect to different content areas or to have around a theme. My students love Pictionary and snowperson so much that they often play in our Fun Friday Breakout Rooms (read more about those and other remote learning choices here).

Whole Group Zoom Games

Looking for a game to engage the whole group over Zoom? Here are five of my favorites! Follow the Leader can be played just as easily over Zoom! Send one student to the waiting room and then let the class know who the leader will be. Once they start the pattern (visual patterns, since everyone will be muted), bring back the guesser and have them observe and guess who the leader is. After three guesses, you can reveal who the leader was. The students say it’s harder over zoom than it is in person!

Another favorite is Who’s Missing. Send one person to the waiting room to be the guesser. Then send a second person to the waiting room to “go missing”. Bring back the guesser and have them try and figure out who is missing. I purposefully don’t tell the other students who went missing, so that they can try and guess too. I encourage them to type the name in the chat with their guess.

An easy whole-group game over Zoom is What’s Different. Have the student turn off their camera to change one thing about themselves or their background. They can then turn on their camera when they are ready and everyone can guess what has been changed.

A new favorite for my third graders is Alibi. It could be played with all ages, but is better with older students. Give a scenario with a “crime,” like my coffee mug goes missing, and then the students have to come up with an alibi for where they were at the time of the crime. Everyone shares their alibi two times. The second time, one person, chosen ahead of time, changes their alibi slightly. The detective has to figure out who changed their alibi.

Tips and Tricks For Zoom Games

Pretty much any classroom favorite can be turned into a zoom activity with just a few simple tweaks. When a game involves going around a circle, you can post the order of students on the screen or in the chat. You can also have the students rename themselves (or rename them yourself) with a number order. For example, when playing the game zoom, where you normally send the zoom around the circle, simply post the order and have students know who comes before and after them. You can time them sending the zoom around the “room”. You can also send a message to someone and have them say “EEK” which will in turn reverse the order of the zoom.

Another trick I recently learned about is that you can actually rearrange tiles on zoom! This doesn’t change it for everyone, but you could encourage students to rearrange the tiles on their screen to show the order of the game, or you could rearrange the tiles after students go so that you can keep the same order of the game.

For other tips and tricks on Zoom, check out this blog post!

Conclusion

There is no need to be bored doing the same old Zoom activities for your remote classroom! There are lots of fun ways to include movement, academics, and fun into your Zoom activities and games!

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Emma Hayes

There I was in a hot yoga studio with plenty of bright natural light and bending myself into pretzel like positions for the very first time.

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