It’s back-to-school time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s back to the classroom for everyone this year. If your school is affected by closures due to COVID-19, you may be feeling anxious about building relationships with your new students and keeping learning engaging this year. We have you covered with both.
And because we all know that school isn’t just about academics, we pulled together five ways that teachers are having fun and building relationships with students from a distance, too. Give these activities a try with your class this fall!
Build relationships online
Host a morning meeting on Zoom
You may not be able to give students a hug in the morning, but you can gather everyone together virtually. Using Zoom, Google Classroom, or another video conferencing service, you can get your students excited for the day with a morning meeting. Angie Olson, a teacher and curriculum developer, suggests starting with an icebreaker question or using discussion slides. From there, you could do a joint activity like a virtual scavenger hunt or just tee up students with what they’ll be working on that day.
Create small-group lunches
Teacher Christina Bliss suggests holding small group lunch meetups with two to three students at a time for a less overwhelming environment. It’s a great way to learn more about your students’ hobbies, passions, and lives beyond the classroom. You can also use the time to check in and hear how each student is doing and handling this unique school year.
Have some virtual fun
Play online games
Use sites like ABCya to inject a little fun into the classroom. For this unique back-to-school year, students can design their own masks or share “All About Me” as a way to get to know each other. And the best part? These games are free and don’t require students to sign in or share any personal information.
Throw a “spirit week”
You may not be all in one place, but show your students that you’re still together in spirit! Teacher Elyse Rycroft says to choose a week and assign each day its own theme like superheroes, pajama day, or beach day. Encourage kids to dress for the theme and plan activities to match.
Head to the aquarium
Find a local aquarium near you with virtual streams or “Travel” to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California for live sessions with the sea creatures and animals. Let your students explore the coral reef, jellyfish, sea otters, sharks, and more!
Wherever you are, we hope these lesson plans and activities will allow you and your students to keep learning and growing from the safety and comfort of your homes this school year.
Learn from home with IXL
With IXL, you can provide personalized and differentiated instruction in the classroom or virtually to students learning from home. Start the school year off by having your students spend time with the Real-Time Diagnostic to pinpoint their levels in math and English language arts.
You need as little as 45 minutes to determine exactly how each student is performing. From there you can use skill plans for easy lesson planning and dive into our actionable teacher reports for meaningful insights on what to teach to a specific student, a small group, or an entire class.