We based these tips and tricks on real solutions that other ClassEquity teachers have implemented in their classrooms!
1. Tweak your jobs
Sending bonuses and fines is just as easy when you switch to virtual learning, but many of your usual jobs may not look the same in a virtual classroom.
Are there any new pain points that popped up when switching to virtual learning? Create a new student job that helps take the work off of you and allows students to take ownership in a virtual setting. For example, are you now finding yourself spending longer than usual on activities or forgetting to take a break? Hire a "Time Keeper" to help keep you and the class on track. Learn more about creating meaningful classroom jobs here.
Prefer to keep the jobs you already have? Go through your existing job list and see how you can adjust the jobs students already have to fit a virtual setting. Just update your job description, and you are good to go!
Take a look below to see how we tweaked our suggested jobs to seamlessly integrate into your virtual classroom.
2. Give a daily bonus
You may be thinking creating a new job list is great, but attendance is dismal, and I'm missing half of my class every day! We all love our jobs, but you probably wouldn't come to work if you didn't get paid, right? Send a daily participation bonus for students who show up to class to incentivize them to log in and participate every day. ClassEquity teacher Julie Williams implemented this strategy and has had excellent attendance even during her two-week return to virtual learning.
3. Offer "limited edition" rewards
Take your daily bonus to the next level by introducing a store item that students can only buy with the daily bonus dollars. For example, if you are giving a $5 bonus to students every day for two weeks of virtual learning, at the end of those two weeks, add a $50 homework pass or item of your choice to the school store for one day and one day only. This limited edition item doubles down on the incentive to come to class every day as they can use those daily bonuses for something specific and ~exclusive~.
4. Surprise students with a "Jackpot" bonus
Tell students at the beginning of the week at some point over the next five days, everyone present in class will earn a surprise "Jackpot" bonus. The catch is they don't know when that jackpot will be issued. This means that students need to be present at all times to receive the jackpot. We recommend making this jackpot a slightly larger bonus than usual and telling students the price of the bonus in the rollout so they know what they could be missing out on if they aren't in class. Feel free to issue more than one jackpot bonus per week to keep students on their toes 😉
5. Build in breaks
We all know Zoom fatigue is real, and as much as you want to preserve learning time, that learning time simply isn't as effective if students are exhausted. You are better off taking a 5-minute break to refresh than trudging through a lesson that is bouncing right off students. This break is a great time to use those updated virtual jobs! Hold yourself accountable for taking a break by asking your "Time Keeper" to remind you to take a break at a specific time. Still want to be productive? Use this time for different jobs to present their expertise! Have the class "Doctor" lead a stretching session, get the "Environmental Specialist" to share some ways to be environmentally conscious, or have the "Librarian" share a book that the class might enjoy. This not only helps break up the day, but it also empowers students to be the ones leading the class!
6. Make it fun!
Spending all day on Zoom can feel distant and lonely, so it is crucial to inject fun into the day! These moments of levity allow your class to connect and bring some of those personal touchpoints back into the classroom. Have a joke contest, get all of your students to show their pets to the class, or the "Class DJ" can spin some tunes, and you can have a dance party 🕺! And if none of that works, you could always try turning yourself into a potato.
Please let us know if you have any other tips for using ClassEquity in a virtual setting by shooting us a message in the chat or emailing us at [email protected]. We'd love to hear from you!
Virtual Job List
Make a list of the participants in the Zoom classroom and email it to the teacher.
Present a "book of the week" to the class that other students might enjoy.
Help students access online texts or connect with their local library.
Brain Break Boss
Organize short brain breaks to get the class moving between lessons.
Can also incorporate jokes, fun facts, or other content besides physical activities.
Guide the class in a daily stretch to get the class moving.
Present a "healthy tip of the week" to the class on the topics of nutrition, exercise, or self-care.
Help ensure that the class is maintaining an appropriate voice volume.
Help other students access online content like assignments or Zoom rooms.
Shoutout peers for positive achievements and birthdays in fun ways such as sending them a nice email, leading the group in singing happy birthday, or highlighting them in class.
Present an "environmental tip of the week" to help the class make environmentally friendly choices.
Takes home the classroom plants to be watered during virtual learning.
Step in for absent students to perform their job.
Help teachers with any tasks that they need assistance with.
Tell the class the weather for the current day at the beginning of class.
Share motivational quotes with the class.
Encourage the use of Zoom emojis like clapping and thumbs up.
Survey classmates on music preferences and favorite songs.
Help teacher design virtual backgrounds to create a positive learning environment.
*Note: We did take some jobs that are 100% in-person jobs off the list: Line Leader, Messenger, Paper Passer, Pencil Patrol, and Clean-up Crew. If you can think of ways to make these virtual, we'd love to hear it! Shoot us your thoughts at [email protected]!