4. Curiosity questions
Some of the best and most relevant conversations between students and a virtual guest/partner class can come from honest questions from the students themselves. Give them the opportunity!
5. Mystery number/animal
Mystery Skype doesn’t have to be relegated to just locations! Have students choose a number, an animal or just about anything else you can imagine. Through clever questioning, they’ll guess what the other class has chosen.
This activity builds the skill of locating coordinates on a map. Use real Battleship game boards or simple paper versions and try to sink each other’s battleships! Check out Alice Keeler’s Game Based Learning: Google Slides Coordinate Plane Battleship to see how to set up a game that kids can play with anyone, anywhere!
These fun contest games can be played at a distance. Give students in both classes the join code. With Kahoot!, aim the webcam at the screen that displays the question. With Quizizz, everything is on the students’ screens, so you don’t have to.
How to set up a distance learning Kahoot game:
Know a fellow educator that teaches the same subject or grade level? Team teach across the miles! Or decide who is the expert on the day’s topic and let him/her teach while the other teacher supports students in person and in the other class through a back channel like Back Channel Chat. (Learn how one teacher regularly co-teaches with a colleague in another state.)
9. Collaborative art/writing
It’s amazing what students and classes can create together. Have one start a story or a work of art and pass it to the other class virtually. Let the other class add to it and pass it back. Once they’re finished, they will have created something both will take pride in! (Learn about and join the Awesome Squiggles collaborative art project.)
10. Virtual group work
Don’t pair students up with other students in your class. Pair them up with students in another location! Collaborate on work with a shared Google Document. Let students discuss via individual Skype calls or a single Skype call for the whole class that anyone can go up to to use.
11. Presenting to both groups
If students do presentations, why limit their audience to just your class? Connect with another class and present to each other. Ask for comments, questions, praise and/or constructive feedback.
12. Reading aloud
Find a story that your class and another class wants to read. Take turns reading it aloud between the two classes. Let students and/or teachers read. Then have a group discussion about what you’ve read with both classes. (Learn more about the Global Read Aloud.)
You can even read the same novel and complete the same novel HyperDoc to spark conversation and reflection. (Check out Novel HyperDocs: 25 ready to use units for your class).
13. Global Sing Along
A sing-along of traditional songs gets really interesting when there are participants from other states and countries! In 2017 Claudio Zavala Jr. launched Flipgrid’s Singasong and it caught fire! Claudio saw how Flipgrid provided opportunities for all to share their voice or song. The skill levels vary, but that’s what it’s not about. It’s about connecting learners (long & old). You can use Flipgrid to host your own Singasong with another class or connect with lots of different classes across the globe.
14. Stump the other class
If your class is studying the same material as your partner class, come up with some questions to see how well the other class knows its stuff. You can even assign points and make it a game!
15. Author chats
If you’ve read a book and the author is alive, why not reach out to see if he/she wants to Skype with your class? Many children’s authors thrive on talking to the kids that read their books!
16. Observations (labs)
Measure temperature, rain, changes in foliage, sightings of animals or any other natural phenomena. Invite another class to do the same. Then get together in a video call to discuss your hypotheses and/or findings. You can use Google Slides to create a collaborative document that students can add to together. Lots of ideas in this post Slide into science: Demonstrating learning with Google Slides.
17. Blogging partners
Blogging turns student writing into a robust conversation. Share student blog posts with students in your partner class. Students can write each other comments on the blogs and/or gather in a video call to discuss blog posts.
18. Language learning/practice
Learning a new language can be made more fun and personal with a familiar face to practice with, whether you’re a language class or are just interested in learning some new words. Connect with a class in another country – or another class practicing a new language – and work on those face-to-face communication skills!
19. Community problem solving
Try what Skype Master Teacher Mike Soskil’s class did. After meeting students in Kenya via Skype, they found that many of the students faced the danger of cholera because of unsafe drinking water. They worked hard to raise money for water filters and delivered them to their village. Mike insisted that the Kenyan students help them solve a problem in their community as well. If you meet a class via video call, consider helping to solve each other’s problems. (Read about Mike and his class here.)
20. Current events debate
Classes in different states and countries often have differing viewpoints and perspectives on current events. Their experiences and surroundings color their opinions. A debate — a formal one or an informal conversation — can help everyone learn and grow their worldview.
BONUS: Collaborating with other teachers – Video calls aren’t just for students! Teachers connect and share ideas via video calls all the time. Plan lessons, develop projects or discuss issues from your classroom with other teachers from your state or country, or beyond!