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Three Ways to Add Some Educational Fun to Your Virtual and Hybrid Classes

Now that October is here I’m starting to see that people are getting somewhat comfortable with the logistics of conducting online and hybrid classes. Evidence of that has come to me in the form of fewer questions about the nuts and bolts of online instruction and more people asking me questions like, “do you have any ideas for activities that build community in hybrid classes?” Here are the things that I’m doing to try to add some educational fun into my hybrid classroom this fall.

Quiz Games

At the end of my 9th grade classes I’ve been using Kahoot and Doozy to host online quiz games as a recap of the day’s lessons. I project the games onto the board in my room and screenshare in Zoom for my students at home to see. My students like accumulating thousands of points in the game even if those thousands of points don’t really count for anything in the gradebook.

Kahoot and Doozy are just two of many similar systems you could use to host a quiz game at the end of your class meetings. Quizalize, Quizziz, GimKit, Socrative, and Triventy all work in very similar ways to Kahoot and Doozy.

It’s possible to distribute Kahoot games through Google Classroom for kids to play at home. Here’s a little video overview of how to do that. And here’s a little written overview of Doozy.

Flipgrid With Puppets and Figurines

Like oodles of other teachers I’m having my students post short observations in video form in a Flipgrid group. Their videos are just short responses to “what did you learn about X today?” Since even high school kids clam-up when asked to speak on camera for a video that their teachers and classmates will see, I let kids use puppets, figurines, and masks in their videos. Some of them are having fun making and or finding new puppets to appear in their Flipgrid responses. Here’s a little getting started video for those who haven’t tried Flipgrid before. (Flipgrid is also included in my new course, A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video).

Virtual Exhibits of Cool and Interesting Discoveries

My third year students (11th and 12th grade) have started contributing to a virtual exhibit of cool and interesting discoveries related to class. Their task is to find something that they think is interesting and related to class, but that wouldn’t normally be brought up in the course of a regular lesson. They share their examples on a Padlet wall and I pick one or two each week to talk about with the whole group. For example, this afternoon we talked about a video that one of my students found. The video was about building a computer with parts bought exclusively from a discount website (you can watch the video here if you like).

I happen to be using Padlet because I’ve had an account on it since 2010, but you could do a very similar thing with WakeletHere’s an overview of how to use Wakelet for a virtual exhibit. And here’s how to do the same with Padlet.

On-demand Professional Development

A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video is a self-paced course consisting of six modules designed to help you create instructional videos and make sure that your students actually watch those videos.

Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know is a great refresher for anyone who is looking for some ideas on how to get kids beyond the first page of Google search results. If you’ve ever had a student say, “Google has nothing on this,” this recorded webinar is for you.