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In this time of distance learning where we cannot be in our classrooms or with our students physically, I am so thankful for the technology of virtual meetings so we can stay connected to our kiddos.
Leading virtual meetings is probably new for most of us, especially leading virtual meetings with a group of five year olds as our audience! So I reached out to the Kindergarten Connection community on Instagram and compiled all of the amazing ideas you shared about how you use virtual meetings with your students.
Virtual Meeting Ideas for Distance Learning – Where, When, How, Why, What?
There are so many things to think about when trying to plan and lead a virtual meeting, especially with young kids as our audience.
I’ve heard what you guys do with your kids (thank you so much for sharing all of your ideas with me!) during distance learning, and found that planning a successful virtual meeting starts with asking a few key questions: Where? When? How? Why? And What?
Of course, you may be given specific expectations for your meetings by your principal or district, but for those of us who are on our own, here are some good things to think about!
Where – Which Platform Will You Use?
What platform will you use for your virtual meeting?
Some of us have specific instructions from our district about which platform we should be using, but if you have the freedom to choose your own platform, most of us seem to be using Zoom or Google Meet.
Both platforms are widely used by teachers right now. It seems to come down to personal preference of which program will work better for you and your class.
Make sure you check out the security features for whichever platform you choose to keep your meetings safe from outsiders.
How – Will You Run Your Meeting?
The next big question is how will you run your meeting? Just like being in the classroom, it is important to set expectations and procedures with your students for your virtual classroom.
Do you want them to be able to shout out whenever they have something to say, or do you want your kiddos to raise their hands as they do in the classroom? Should everyone be muted until it is their turn to share, or are you okay with the background noise from multiple households (siblings, and pets, and doorbells… oh my!)? How can your students practice active listening even in a virtual meeting?
Just like we had to teach our students our expectations of their behavior in our classrooms, it makes sense that we now have to teach them how they can be a successful student in our virtual classroom.
Why – Are You Meeting?
The next step is to determine your why. What is the purpose of your meeting? This is super important because this question really drives what your meeting will look like.
Is your main objective connection? OR are you trying to teach a lesson?
Of course, you can do both, but determining what you are trying to accomplish during your time with your students can help you figure out how you want to set up your meeting and what you do with your kids during the time you have.
For example, if I really just want to use this as a time for students to connect with one another, I might be less worried about kids raising their hands and being muted. I may be okay with a kiddo getting out of their seats to go find their hamster during our conversation (this has for sure happened!).
But if I’m really trying to use this time with my students as targeted learning time, I may set expectations that each child should have a paper and a pencil with them, or have a printed activity we are going to do together.
What – Kinds of Activities Can I Do?
But what do you do with your kiddos? Luckily, our Kindergarten Connection community of teachers is AMAZING and has shared all of their fantastic ideas with me (thank you)! Here are some suggestions:
***(You can also download this as a free printable at the bottom of the post to have on hand at any time during distance learning!)
- Read a book
- Do your normal Morning Meeting: calendar, Pledge of Allegiance, weather, etc.
- Sing songs
- Have a dance party
- Let students share: about their week, things they’ve been doing, favorite things about learning from home, why they can’t wait to get back to school, etc.
- Show and Tell: have a theme – academic, pets, favorite toy, siblings, stuffed animal, letter-based, color-based, shape-based, etc.
- Scavenger Hunt: random things around the house, or targeted items based on skills you’re working on (starts with the letter c, is round, spring, etc.).
- Play I Spy: I spy something on someone’s screen that is purple, starts with the letter p, etc.
- Question of the Day: have a set question of the day and go around to each student to hear their answer (could be academic or social)
- Have a themed meeting: crazy hair day, costume day, bring your stuffy day, purple day, pj party, crazy hat, etc.
- Do a directed draw
- Play a word game: guess that sight word, rhyming words, CVC words
- Have virtual snack time!
- Play a math game
- Do some sorting activities
- Do group whiteboard activities: have your students put a blank piece of paper inside of a gallon Ziploc bag to create a make-shift whiteboard!
- Review skills: sight words, shapes, colors, odds/evens, skip counting, etc.
- Play Would You Rather: here are some question ideas for kids
- Play That’s Me!: (make a statement “I have a brother.” Then kids who the statement applies to shout, “That’s Me!”… or raise their hand)
- Put on a puppet show
- Play BINGO: send blank grid cards to parents and ask them to fill them in with letters, numbers, shapes, etc,
- Play a pocket chart game
- Mystery Bag!: have a bag with items and give clues so students can guess what items are in the bag
- Celebrate birthdays or accomplishments
It is okay to not have it all figured out. It is okay to have kids out of their seats and disappearing from their screens or your personal children join you for your “class.” No one expects you to be a master virtual teacher after a couple of weeks!
Remember that your virtual meeting is NOT going to be the same as being in the classroom and that’s okay… so give yourself a break!
Need some distance learning templates? We have some for you to help!
YOU know your kids best. YOU know if they need to simply hear your voice and see your face or if they’re ready for an activity. Trust your gut and be the amazing teacher that you are!
Download the FREE Printable List
Want this free list in a digital format? Just click the yellow button below to snag your copy!
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