Get to know you games for distance learning to build a positive classroom community.
If you found out that you will be teaching remotely this fall, I’m sure you have a lot on your plate. You’ve probably figured out how to run your online learning platform. You have mastered Zoom and Loom. You may even have a great plan in place for parent communication. But, what about building connections and relationships with new students?
Getting to know younger children can be tough! Those shy and quiet students might be even more shy and quiet while distance learning. Teachers know that building a strong classroom community starts with getting to know students: their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses, and their passions.
To help you start learning about your students, I put together some get to know you games and activities for distance learning. You can grab the FREE handout with all of these activities at the bottom of this post!
1. Find Someone Who
Have students break out into small groups on Zoom or GoogleMeets. Give them some topics to find out about each other. They can write the names down of the friends in the group who meet that criteria. For example, find someone who…
- likes to read
- went on a trip this summer
- loves math
- has a pet dog/cat/fish
This is a great activity to help students find things in common with their new classmates and learn their names.
2. 2 Truths and 1 Lie
Taking turns, have one student tell two true statements and one untrue statement. Then, the rest of the students can hold up their fingers to show which statement they thought was the lie. For example, if a student thought the second statement was a lie, they would hold up two fingers. You could do this in a small group or whole group setting.
3. Have You Ever…?
First, ask students to hold up five fingers. Then, ask students questions that start with “Have you ever…?” For older kids, you could have them take turns asking the questions. If a student has done that thing, they put a finger down. The student(s) with the last finger remaining wins. You can find a list of child-friendly statements HERE.
4. Name Game
This is always a primary grade favorite for teaching students each other’s names. Each child says the letter their name starts with, their name, and something they like that starts with that letter. For example, I might say “A. My name is Amanda, and I like apples.”
If you are playing with younger kids, I would do it just like this. If you are playing with older kids, they can introduce themself and repeat what the person next to them said.
5. Show Me Your Space
Let students take turns showing off their learning space or one item from their learning space. Another option is to have them share their favorite distance learning tool. You can have them do this in small groups or do a few at a time in a whole group setting.
6. Scavenger Hunt
Another great activity to help students get to know each other is a scavenger hunt. You can have them hunt for academic or non-academic things. For example,
- Find your favorite t-shirt.
- Find your favorite family photo.
- Find a toy that starts with the letter “B”.
7. Show and Tell
Have students take turns choosing an object for show and tell. You can set parameters or leave it totally open for students to choose. This is a great way for students to share something meaningful to help you and their classmates get to know them! After a student has shared their object, let them choose a few friends in the class to either ask a question or make a connection.
8. Introduce Them!- Family Introductions Using FlipGrid
Using FlipGrid, set up a topic board for your class. Then, have them submit videos that introduce their family or pets to their class. You can expand on this throughout the year and have students share things that you might normally have them share in a whole group setting.
Getting to know students through the computer will be a little trickier, but with time and patience, we can do it! Let’s build a strong virtual classroom community. Grab the FREE printable with all of these get to know you games and activities for distance learning below!
If you want some great ways to stay connected with students while distance learning all year long, check out my post 17 Ways to Connect During Distance Learning.
Do you have any other games you’d like to add to the list? I’d love to hear what you’ve tried and loved!