We all want to add fun Zoom activities but they can turn chaotic fast.
So what do you do?
First brush up your classroom management. To learn more about the simple tweaks that rocketed my classroom management, click here. Without these skills, chaos will erupt.
Once your classroom management feels good, then try one of the breaks below. Bookmark this page so you can return to it when you’re ready for more.
Cause here’s the thing. If kids know they’ll get Zoom activity breaks, their work time will be more efficient.
In fact, you can explain it to them outright. For instance,
It’s hard for me to sit for a long time. Give me a thumbs up if it’s hard for you too … Yup! That’s what I thought!
So here’s my plan: I’ll give you lots of breaks during the day so your brain stays sharp.
Then, when it’s time to work, we’ll work hard but in short bursts.
For example, after a movement break, we start our math minilesson right away. I’ll set the timer and you’ll work super hard for 15 minutes. Then we’ll have another movement break. After, we’ll come together and go over the work.
For this to work, you have to decide: Can you get right to work after a break?
Introduce the word efficient early in the year. What does it mean? What does it look like? Why will they LOVE being efficient? What are the benefits?
You will need to return to this idea repeatedly. But that’s normal! Sell it and praise them when they begin to catch on.
Zoom Activities: Body Breaks
1 ⭐ Go Noodle
The most popular of all Zoom activities is Go Noodle. And for good reason. Kids simply love it! It’s free. It’s varied. Check it out.
Once you create an account, you can explore the videos, using the tabs up top. Then click on the hearts to save your favorite videos. When you’re teaching, keep the tab open so it’s ready to go.
2 ⭐ Five Minute Break
You can also set a timer and let the kids do whatever they need to do for 5, 10, or 15 minutes. They can use the bathroom, chat with you, do Go Noodle, get a snack, or play with their pet. Give them choices so they take ownership over their Zoom activities break.
Then you can have a loud signal to let them know the break’s ending. A one-minute song can serve you well. Just do a search for “one minute songs.”
Like everything we do, this needs to be modeled and practiced to work well.
3 ⭐ Cosmic yoga
Zoom activity breaks can include yoga. Cosmic Yoga is a paid app, but you can watch the videos for free on YouTube. It takes standard yoga positions and turns them into games.
You may find some of them young for fourth grade. But if you look at their YouTube channel, you’ll find a bunch that fourth graders will love! And while you can’t save their videos on a Playlist, you can bookmark them for quick access.
Here’s a fun one for Halloween:
4 ⭐ Math movement breaks
Pull out your multiplication flashcards and name an exercise. It could be jumping jacks, push-ups, or arm circles. Next pick a card and and show it but don’t say the answer. 6 times 7? Then the kids do 42 reps.
This encourages those kids who shy away from exercises. Kids love to show something they know, right?
Mix it up so all the kids can succeed. For example, add some simple addition cards into the mix.
But sometimes their brains just need a break.
5 ⭐ Kahoot
Next is a popular Zoom activity: Kahoot. It’s a free online quiz game. You can create your own quizzes or search for ones that are already made.
For example, maybe you’ll make a Kahoot game of your classroom rules. Or one about what students did over the summer break. (They love that!) Or quiz them on what a child shared at show-and-tell.
To play Kahoot online, you’ll need to share your screen. The kids, however, need two screens. They can do this one of two ways: 1) They can use 2 devices: one to see your screen and one to answer the questions. Or 2) You can teach them how to split their screen.
Split Your Screen
You can make your own videos on split screens and save it as a group of “How-to” videos in your Google Classroom. Click here to learn more about how videos can save you hours of time. (Even if you are videophobic!)
6 ⭐ GimKit
Gim Kit is similar to Kahoot but with more options and MONEY. (Not real money. 😆 ) There is a limited free service and a premium service that many teachers rave about.
When kids answer right, it even goes “cha-ching!”
Watch the video below from The Spanish Teacher to see how it works. At 7:00, you’ll see how money plays into this.
7 ⭐ Five-Minute Challenges
A Five-Minute Challenge lets kids first move around and then talk with their peers. (Change the time limit as needed.)
First, issue a challenge. Here are some examples:
- Find 4 objects in your house to create a musical instrument!
- Create a game using three items in the room you’re in now.
- Disguise yourself.
- Go find out 2 weird facts.
You get the idea.
Issue your warning signal when time is up. Then put them into break rooms to share.
8 ⭐ Nitro Type
This is a free competitive typing game. You can sync it with your Google Classroom and have students race each other. It’s fun!
Now most fourth graders can’t type, even with all the fancy typing programs out there. But a pre-game pep-talk can ease their worries about winning or losing.
If your district uses Go Guardian, you can make sure students stop playing the game when it ends. 🙂
9 ⭐ Directed Drawings
Art is a wonderful way to engage kids’ brains in a new way. Start with directed drawings, particularly when you have reluctant artists.
Art for Kids Hub is a great site for this, as they have a child working with the adult artist.
Here’s a cute one where they draw a turtle:
10 ⭐ Fun videos
Sometimes the best way to engage kids is to show them videos that have nothing to do with what you’re teaching. Create your own playlist for Zoom activities.
Here are a few to get you started:
- Chris Hadfield Brushes His Teeth in Space
- Street Art: Joshua Allen Harris’ Inflatable Bag Monsters
- Phases of the Moon
- Let Me In: Simon’s Cat
- The Force Awakens My Two-Year Old
- Cats and Domino
- Bird on a Wire
To learn how to make a Youtube playlist, watch this video:
Free Way to Get Rid of Ads on Videos
If you’re anxious about using Youtube because of the ads, go to View Pure and follow the directions in this video:
Now it’s your turn! Tell us in the comments below:
- Which break will you try in your classroom?
- OR … What Zoom activities would you recommend to others?
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