ACTIVITY DESCRIPTIONS FOR
CREATIVE AND PLAYFUL WAYS TO ENGAGE LEARNERS ON ZOOM, PART 3 (AUGUST 11, 2020)
Objective: This a fun activity to do at the start of a session to get learners present, focused, and feeling connected to others in the room in a fun, low-stakes way.
1. The leader will count down from 3. Once they reach 1, everyone in the room will high five to either the left or right of their frame. Their goal is to make a successful high five with their neighbor.
2. If the high five was successful for the participant, they stop their video and start it again. This moves their video frame to a different location on the screen.
3. Repeat as many times as you'd like.
Note: A variation of this game is to turn it into an elimination. So, people who did not high five successfully turn off their cameras until a champion has been named. Obviously, there is no way to verify whether someone did indeed successfully high five, so if necessary, remind folks that they are on the honor system and that this game is much more fun if we all play by the rules.
Objective: This is a great way to build deeper connections in the group. Sharing stories and memories are powerful ways to build relationships.
A word (an object, a person, a concept, etc.) is suggested. If participants are on Zoom in breakout rooms, the facilitator can broadcast this suggestion to all the breakout rooms.
If a memory/story emerges from that word for someone in the group, they share the memory/story with the group. If you’re playing older youth/adults, you can suggest that they start by repeating the word and following that with “That takes me to…”. Try to keep this to no more than 30 seconds.
Once the person has finished sharing their memory/story, they will think of another word, usually inspired by their story, and suggest it out loud to the group.
For instance: “...my mother and I loved going to that ice cream shop. Those were some of the happiest times from my childhood.” Then they would conclude by naming a new word like “Vanilla”, or “Ice Cream”, or “Mother”, “Childhood”, etc.
Repeat from step 2.
I AM A TREE
Objective: Cooperation, creativity, spontaneity
Start by having everyone turn their videos off.
One person starts by turning on their video, posing as a tree and declaring “I am a tree”.
Another person in the group turns on their camera, takes on some physicality and adds to the scene tableau. For instance, they might declare “I am the sun” while posing as the sun.
A third person in the group turns on their camera and adds a third element to the tableau in the same manner that the second person did. For instance, they might declare “I am a dog” while posing as a dog.
The first person (in this case, the tree) “takes” one of the other two off “the stage” by saying something like “I’ll take the sun” or “I’ll take the dog”. For instance, if they say “I’ll take the dog”, then the dog and the tree both leave the “stage” and will then turn off their cameras.
The third person remains in their pose and states again what they are. For instance, “I am the sun”.
The cycle repeats from step 3.
When the facilitator wishes to end the game, they can come in as the third person in the tableau and pose as a tree saying “I am a tree”. It’s a nice way to bring the game around full circle.
Notes: Allow the participants to be as creative as they can. They can certainly take on real, physical, tangible objects or people. They could also embody less tangible or conceptual things like “the heat from the sun” or “the excitement of the crowd” or “joy”, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Objective: Good activity to get students thinking creatively and spontaneously. This is also a great opportunity for students to practice presenting in front of the class. If played with 2 people, it’s a great exercise in accepting each other's ideas and building on them.
Make sure you have a bunch of slides (or a PDF with a bunch of images) up on your computer and ready to go. We've got some prepared for you here!
Screen share the slides or PDF. If possible, use a blank slide first so that participants don't see the images in advance.
Give a topic to the student. It can be silly, or it can be content related.
If this is being played in pairs, remind your students that they will be taking turns with the slides. (Participant 1 presents slide 1, participant 2 presents slide 2, participant 1 present slide 3, etc.)
Encourage participants to embrace risk and not be afraid of making mistakes. Presenting can be a very scary thing for many people, so I’d recommend starting out with fun, silly, creative topics. Encourage students to make things up!
Once they are comfortable with this exercise, perhaps layer in content. If you just finished a unit on a particular topic, maybe your slides will give a nod to that topic to inspire the student to present on it.
Objective: Develop “group mind”. Reading the room, being present with each other.
The group will be counting one person at a time in a random order starting with 1.
Whenever two people two people say the same number at the same time, the group resets and starts back at 1.
The facilitator can state that the group is trying to attain a specific goal, like reaching the number 10. They can also make the goal to reach as high a number as possible.
Notes: This game is a great closing activity for a session. It can be done repeatedly throughout the class term. It’s fascinating to see how much higher the group is able to get over time. It’s a wonderful way to observe the group mind that they are developing and how much more connected they are getting with each other as they get better at counting. Just keep in mind that they may not be really great at this at first, and that’s fine too!