EZ Activity Conversions: Classroom To Remote

Here’s a list of how to easily convert tried-and-true activities to the digital space during our remote learning. For a list of all original in-person ways to get texts and input-based activities, see this post.

A New Take On “Hybrid”
We’re remote, but I grabbed some rejoinders, days of the week, weather/number/month magnets, and a small white board from my classroom. Instead of keeping everything digital, I’m planning to use some physical items to change up the kind of attention needed during class. This tweak isn’t really a tweak so much as it’s a reminder that not everything needs to be converted.

Posters On The Side
Here’s a post on a PPT to use when screen sharing.

Posters As Background
Here’s a copy of a PPT with my favorite posters (except for the ones you gotta purchase, in my original). The blank space there is deliberate to use as a custom background in Zoom, now in Beta under “advanced screen share” options, and allows you to click to new slides (i.e. without going into settings and changing your background to individual images/slides). Here’s a video of me figuring that all out.

Card Talk
This beginning-of-year classic takes on a more-personalized and lively appearance using Google Slides. Instead of students drawing their likes & dislikes, they find/copy/upload pics directly to a slide. Each student has their own slide, and can personalize it however they want, from a blank slide with an official school pic, to custom backgrounds, fonts, and selfies. Slide Talk. Check out my template with some instructions.

Weekly Sheets
See this post on digitizing management sheets that also get the only gradebook evidence we really need in these remote pandemic times.

Even though I brought mine back from the classroom, that doesn’t replace the student jobs of holding them up. Therefore, have students make their own out of blank, and/or notebook paper. Maybe even make it a rule that students can unmute and yell something out as long as they have a poster (they’ve made).

Class Password
This one’s simple. It’s now just “Word(s) of the Week!” Start class by counting down, all unmuting, and saying the word(s) of the week.

*Any* Reading & Translating
Probably one of the best uses of breakout rooms, like Silent Volleyball reading in pairs, or larger groups with a longer text. But don’t have students turn in a translation—that almost guarantees the use of Google Translate.

*Any* Listening, Writing, or Drawing
Write or draw in notebooks, then snap a pic for that Weekly Work (see “Weekly Sheets” above), or have students hold their work up to the screen and do a quick Picture Talk. N.B. Get a screen grab and share so the kid doesn’t have to sit there holding it in front of the camera for 5 minutes! Examples include Dictation, Storyboard Dictation, Summary & Write, Write & Discuss, and Timed Writes.

*Any* Projected Text Activity
There’s essentially no tweak to many of these, like Choral Translation, mendāx, Discipulus Illustris, Picture Talk. Even something as simple as a few minutes of independent reading of what’s projected. These work really well during independent time (e.g. when students are expected to work on their own with cameras off, rather than 65 minutes of whole-class Zoom). For example, here’s the original Copy/Change/Continue, which you can see working out well digitally:

Project one student-written text (i.e. typed/edited Timed Write), and for 10 minutes, students a) copy the story into their notebooks, b) have the option to change details, then c) continue the story by writing until the timer goes off. Follow up with a quick share and discussion for more input. Opt. Discuss one student’s changes/continued story at length, end class with Write & Discuss, and students now have 2 new texts to read that night!

Trashketball Translation
State and/or project a Latin phrase, then send teams into breakout rooms to confer. When it comes time to “shoot,” students create makeshift baskets at home. This could get pretty fun.

Lucky Reading Game
Send teams into breakout rooms for the prep, and when the game starts send a card generator link in the chat. Sure, it definitely requires honesty to report which card they got (because only the student and their team should know. Or, students will cheat for points and then that can become a compelling diversion. For example, if every team ends up with a red three card (i.e. highest points), everyone knows what happened, and you can call them out. Just as fun! Or, make the points for each team known and you share, and/or hold up a random card for each student.

Quick Quizzes
I’m pretty sure I’m skipping quizzes altogether this year, but this falls under *any* listening & drawing, or *any* projected text activity, having students snap a pic to send at end of week. K-F-D Quizzes would be a good use during that independent time, since sorting all words takes a bit.

*Any* Buzzer-Type Activities
Have students respond in the chat for objective evidence of who was first, lol. Even “close calls” will be determined by chat order. For example, in Flyswatter PictureTalk, students type “left/right” into the chat, and everyone will be able to see who got it, first.

Collaborative Storytelling
This category probably has the most tweaks, but is also quite varied. Here’s a post for asynchronous learning. For voting on story details live, use Zoom polls, or chat (to get a majority). For Story Cube Brainstorming, hold the cubes up to the screen (or take a screen capture and project to free up your hands). Treat collaborative storytelling like a simultaneous Write & Discuss, typing into a Google Doc as you create the story, which also helps with processing (vs. trying to memorize story details).

Give it a try as-is, sharing YouTube and enabling computer audio, or grab some screenshots ahead of time and treat it like any Picture Talk. N.B. Many teachers already do the latter, playing the video clip straight through after the whole activity, so check to see if someone already got the screenshots to your clip.

Free Voluntary Reading (FVR)
You’ll need an eBook subscription, and/or some class texts available to students. Create a Google Drive folder as your digital library **for class texts** (i.e. don’t violate copyright, or don’t tell anyone you’re breaking the law, and certainly don’t share, making others complicit in the act).

Whole-Class Novellas
Try a combination of projecting the eBook so all can follow, some independent reading, and for breakout rooms, assign pairs (like any other reading) or follow Mira Canion’s Quick Read. N.B. Since you’ll need to assign the different “stations” for Mira Canion’s Quick Read, ask students the class ahead of time, or try doing it as part of a “Do Now,” getting a list of who wants to go where, and assigning on the spot (you can enable chat only for students to host if you want that choice to be private).

One thought on “EZ Activity Conversions: Classroom To Remote

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!
    I’ve been gathering information all summer but somehow everything you’ve shared here seems brand new and VITAL to my classes now. Your time and effort are much appreciated! Pat

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