In this post I explain 18 games or activities that are educational AND appropriate for a socially distanced classroom. These are all intended to be used within content areas. These will get your students moving, interacting, and thinking when they might be stuck at their desks throughout the school day. I hope a couple get you brainstorming!
If you're teaching online/virtually or concurrently/hybrid, I hope at least one of these 15 ideas will inspire you! There are several free templates linked here to get you going. Have fun! Laughter is the best medicine. Spread some love to your students and build that classroom community no matter the circumstances.
As a camp counselor, lover of morning meeting games, and lover of improv games like from the TV show "Whose line is it anyway?" I've curated several fun but structured games to use with students that can be done with social distancing and zero materials other than people and imagination. Have fun!
I love games and activities in morning meeting! While I know that carpet time may be gone as we re-enter classrooms, there are so many possibilities for maintaining connection and community even with physical distance.
Below are songs/chants and activities that I think would work well while staying at a desk space. These could make for great energizers or brain breaks as well. While many of these require standing up and sitting down, they should be able to stay in their area.
If you teach elementary, you're likely familiar with the idea of a morning meeting or class meeting. This is typically a time for community building and connection. When we had to switch to online learning in Spring 2020, I knew I wanted to keep elements of morning meeting. Here are 5 ideas (picture prompts, collaborative google slides, partner games, whole class games, and Flipgrid) for building connections online.
Classroom jobs were helpful, but not consistent, and honestly - it felt like more work. I felt desperate trying to get random things done and change their popsicle stick jobs every week. I realized, though, that kids love jobs. There’s always someone who wants to do it or will make it happen. So I changed my structure. Here are the keys I found to successful jobs.
I wrote a letter to my class the day that school closed for the year. It made me cry a little so I didn’t send it off. Everything was sad enough. I added a piece today because we had a great (3/4 of a) year together and this journey online is a bit unforgettable too. My class this year is fun online; I feel lucky that I get to do this with them. At the same time, my heart aches for their losses as the capstone year of elementary school. It may not compare to the loss of graduation for a senior, but their young hearts are broken nonetheless. Many have waited for these special events since Kindergarten. Their life will move on for sure, but there’s so much loss tied up in this pandemic. This is just a little slice.
This week as I kept typing the links to "classrooms" I have been missing my real classroom. This whole video chat stuff is good. It's better than email. It's better than digital worksheets, but it's not a classroom. A classroom is another home. I miss the space we can say is ours.
No matter how great you are at classroom management, there will be times when you want to create individual behavior plans and when it’s necessary to the health of your classroom. Still, it should a later step in the classroom management process because it requires so much work. If you can, I encourage you to wait on an individual behavior plan until you have tried some of these ideas.