If you are like me and many other teachers, you may be tired of the same daily routine for your virtual teaching. I am ready to include some Icebreaker Videos for Virtual Teaching. I never expected that I would still be using things on my zoom meetings that I used in the spring, during the summer session, and through all of the fall, but here I am with kiddos still in remote learning…
Throughout all of this virtual teaching, I have dedicated tons of time assembling my videos, my games, my read alouds, etc. without much support in the search. I bet you have too! My friends and I at Education to the Core decided we needed to find some quick icebreakers to lighten up our zoom, meet, and teams meeting and now, we are sharing some of our finds with you! We hope you can use some of these immediately to help in either your morning kick-offs, subject transitions, or any time your students (and You!) are ready for a brain break!
Video #1 – Guess the Word Challenge by Amuse Your Brain
The videos and activities by Amuse Your Brain are fantastic as they supply 2 pictures for the kids to combine into one compound word or let kids supply letters to build words. Each video gives the kids a time period to guess the word and then shows the answer. There is a selection of video riddles and each lasts only about 4-6 minutes.
We all know Jack Hartmann and his huge selection of videos, but I chose his Animal Freeze Dance Party to use with my kiddos. They love pretending to be animals. This video allows them that little break and is over in under 4 minutes!
Video #3 – Hello Around the World by Juny and Tony
Do your firsties pretend that they are speaking in Chinese or Spanish but really they are speaking gibberish? Mine do and thus, they love this less than 2-minute good morning song. Kiddos repeat the greetings given on-screen as they sing along with Juny and Tony.
If you have not yet checked out the morning meeting digital slides by ETTC, do so now because the daily slides are prepared for you! Each slide has a quick question whether it be Math Monday or Feelings Fridays. This is a fantastic way to keep kids connected with one another be it in a hybrid, remote, or in-person class meeting.
Video #5 – First Grade Jokes
Why did the duck cross the road? Because he was chicken. Makes no sense right? My firsties love jokes and make up nonsensical ones like that one ALL…OF…..THE….TIME! When we are working extra hard in our zoom meetings and need some chuckles, this video is perfect!
When I am combining my online learners in an activity with my in-person learners, it is nice to play a quick game where I can watch for social distancing or keep some tabs on behavior. This particular video allows me 4 minutes to observe while Patty leads the game. She is pleasant to watch and listen to and if it is a good session, we sometimes play a few times!
#7 – Breathing for Kids
Every once in a while, we need to regroup and calm down–a chance to regulate the sillies or grumpies so that we can refocus our attention to work. I like this video because it requires the kids to focus on the square so that they know when they are breathing in and when they are breathing out.
Video #8 – Zoom In Game
I have provided a link for this game but it is equally as fun to create your own with pictures on your screen. To begin, find a photo and zoom in to a small segment of it. Screen share just that small segment and ask kids to guess what it is a picture of. Make sure they really can’t guess from your small segment. Gradually zoom out as kids yell out guesses of what the picture is. The kids love doing this a few times as we are waiting for kids to return from a break.
This game is typically played with students in 3rd grade and up but with a few adjustments to meet your own classroom levels, this digital freebie works great for firsties. The freebie is a list of categories for your screen that you assign a letter of the alphabet to. As a class, we generate as many items as we can for each category beginning with the chosen letter. If we get at least 5 answers for each category, kids can have a five-minute dance party at the end of the day’s work sessions! My kids love the opportunity to just blurt out responses!
I like this particular breathing video because it is more seasonal with a cloud breathing and swaying trees as a snowflake drifts across the screen. A lot of times before we even start our morning meeting session, we will do this video as a group so that we can transition calmly from our home morning to our zoom morning.
Video #11 – GoNoodle
No dance party or school day would be complete without some movement activities from GoNoodle. Whether it starts your day, is for a brain break, or wraps up the day, kiddos everywhere love this site! Besides silly songs and exercise, there are quite a few videos on here for mindfulness and calming breaths. This is the one site that you should have open on a tab ready to go because it is fantastic!
I love this site because it encompasses one of my favorite activities to do with my class–write group stories. Much like Mad Libs, the kiddos take turns supplying words that you enter into the site. Although designed for 3rd graders, with a little help, your firsties can do this! When you have filled all parts of speech or categories (10-15 words), you hit the generate story tab and it creates a silly story for your class. Your kids will giggle endlessly! And all it takes is 5-10 minutes!
#13 – Memory Game
No link or video needed here! Using a cookie sheet from my kitchen, I place 10-12 small objects on it. For 20-30 seconds, I hold the cookie sheet with items up in front of the camera. The students need to focus on and memorize what is on the sheet because once I remove it from camera view, no more peeks. The kids then need to tell me from memory what was on the sheet.
Video #14 – Wheeldecide.com
Why did I not know about this site before? Much like the wheel of fortune spinners, you can create your own spinning wheel! Create a spinner of animals to act like, exercises to complete, yoga poses, literally anything you wish to create on a spinner is creatable on this site! It takes less than a minute to create and the kids will love this method of choosing what to do next.
#15 – Guess the Sound
This video will play a sound and the kids try to guess what the sound is from. Is it a cow, a horse? No! It’s a camel. With a variety of sounds and several videos, so you won’t have to repeat, this is a great activity to complete in just a few minutes. Don’t watch it all ahead of time because the kids will enjoy hearing you trying to guess (and making mistakes) right along with them!
If you have done Cosmic Kids Yoga with your students, then you are already familiar with Jaime. In this brain break, Jaime does Yoga with kids as they sit and stretch in their chairs. This is a great way to once again start the day with a calming transition or anytime throughout the day that your class may need some stretching.
Video #17 – Kahoot.com
I sometimes like to start my day or session with a couple of quick questions on Kahoot. I may ask a funny question or have those questions correspond to our learning for the day, as a short pre-assessment, check for prior knowledge. My students really like to see how many points they can get.
Although our list of Icebreaker Videos for Virtual Teaching is too extensive to share it all here, we hope these 17 suggestions offer you some fresh ideas for video icebreaker exercises and activities. If you have some selections of your own or have tried the above and made some modifications, please share them with us. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas and who knows, your suggestions could make it into several classrooms, helping several teachers along the way!
Written by: Suzanne Kelley
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