If you were to ask many younger students what their favorite subject was to learn about in school, you probably would not be very surprised to hear a high volume of responses relating to lunch and recess.
However, students can eat and go play outside when they’re at home, and yet you don’t hear many nine year olds getting extremely excited to eat lunch every Sunday morning.
So what is the key factor that makes these events so appealing, when they are rather ordinary at their core?
One word: community.
Sure, sandwiches taste good. Sure, playing tag on the playground is fun. However, what makes these moments so special is the time that kids get to spend connecting with their friends, laughing, playing, and having fun together.
This aspect of education can often be difficult to incorporate into purely online school environments, but it is absolutely not impossible! There are still plenty of ways to help students build relationships and memories with their classmates and foster community together.
Implementing a “World Records” challenge into the classroom is one fun way to start off class with fun, high spirits, and engagement from students in a way that requires connection and creativity.
Essentially, the “World Records” idea means that students sign up for a class period or time to present their “World Record” to their peers. Their “record” that they achieve could be anything they want it to be: the fastest mile they’ve ever run, most difficult Lego set that they have ever built, the longest book they’ve ever read, or the longest song they’ve ever been able to sing completely backwards.
It could be the tallest snowman they’ve built, or perhaps the most characters they’ve unlocked on Mario Kart. Maybe it’s even the fastest they’ve ever eaten a chicken drumstick.
While these World Records might not necessarily be educational, they definitely serve as a fun and quick way to kick off class with fun as students take turns presenting about their records. You could challenge them to be as creative as possible, and perhaps even record a video of them attempting their record which they can then share on Zoom with the class.
If this particular method of building community doesn’t resonate with you or your class, take heart because there are loads of others! Whether it is doing five minutes of fun “yoga” at the beginning of class altogether on Zoom, playing a trivia-themed Kahoot (a fun online website for interactive quizzes), or giving students ten minutes to free-write a short story based on a prompt and share it in groups, there are so many ways to help students feel connected and laugh as they share memories and bond with their classmates.
Oh, one last important thing: if any of your students’ “World Records” break an actual Guinness World Record, don’t forget to submit it and build even more class community!
Thanks for sharing your coffee break with us once again, and we’ll see you tomorrow!