We’re all terrified, anxious, and… back at it in schools! So, as we return, let’s look at this big list of socially distanced advisory activities. Some work for being in-person, some work for being virtual, some work for both.
But let’s face facts: at this point we’re all here to build community and chew gum, and most of us are all out of gum…
ADVISORY IS A GO.
Fizz Buzz is a counting game where “fizz” is assigned to a certain number and its multiples. “Buzz” is assigned to another number and its multiples.
2. Counting Up
As a group, the idea is to count to ten without two people talking at the same time. If that happens you return to the beginning. Accuracy counts, and speed is bonus points.
3. Kindness Bingo
Help students remember and celebrate their acts of kindness. Grab a copy of the sample bingo card (cunningly disguised as a Google Slide) and get to calling! Works for in-person (how exciting to yell “BINGO!” at full volume) or virtual (practice your hand-raising in Zoom) advisories.
4. Pecha Kucha
A quick way for folks to share about themselves and learn about others. Works in person or virtual. Once again, grab this Google Slideshow, make a copy for yourself and go to town.
We’ll be honest: the vast majority of these 25 riddles are terrible. Legit groaners. But when has there ever been a better time to bond over truly terrible jokes? Please, point to that portion of history that’s not now.
Well played, Reader’s Digest. Well played.
6. Heads or Tails
Have students indicate their choice: Heads or tails. Hands on head? Or hands on hips? Flip a coin. If you are correct you stay in the game. If you are wrong, you are outie mcnoutie.
7. Words of Affirmation
No big mystery here: each morning each student and your own amazing self shares a word of affirmation. A word that describes where you want to take that day. Speak them out loud to one another, maybe with a little explanation, but that bit shouldn’t be required. Someone could be taking notes and producing a beautiful beautiful wordle or word cloud everyone can refer to throughout the day. Virtual? In-person? YES.
While in a big SOCIALLY DISTANCED circle pick someone to start with a single clap and choose if the clap goes left or right. The idea is to clap immediately after the person in front of you. Try a few times and see how long it takes to go around the circle. When done really quickly the clap will sound like thunder.
Variation: The groups stands so they are in some sort of SOCIALLY DISTANCED circle. They can pass the clap with clapping once, reverse the clap by clapping twice, or share the clap by pointing.
This variation sometimes goes by the name “Pass the Clap”, and if that’s a choice you’re going to make for a middle school classroom, best of luck to you.
Make the sound of a rainstorm with your body. Look, we were a little skeptical at first too, but check it out. With a group, you can do it with a combination of rhythmic clapping, stamping, shushing, whistling and finger-snapping. Amazing!
10. Energizers & Icebreakers
40-Second Blah Blah Blah! Yes, really. Each person gets forty seconds to just say whatever is on their minds. Free-write stream-of-consciousness in a judgment-free zone. The only rule? You can’t stop talking once you start, until the forty seconds are up.
Whose …. Is It Anyway? Whose shoes? And whose pet? Pick a subject and everyone shows their own implementation of the noun. We’ll be honest: this one needs some careful handling, in terms of both equity and trauma. Be careful not to choose a topic that could make your students feel exposed in terms of socioeconomic need or privilege, and also a topic where you’re less likely to exacerbate existing trauma. For instance, if you’re asking whose pet is this and a student just lost theirs.
Walkabout: Get up and go for a walk. Sounds simple, but is super effective.
11. Two Truths & A Lie
Does what it says on the tin. Each student comes up with three statements about himself. One should be completely made up, but plausible (more or less), and the other two should be true. Students take turns sharing their three statements and having others guess which statement is the truth and which are the lies.
12. Community Poem
Create a poem together. Pick a topic and have a student start the poem with a few words or a sentence. The next student needs to continue the poem by adding their sentence so it still makes sense, and so on.
13. Collaborative Crossword Puzzle
Virtual: Queue up a crossword puzzle on your screen. Your students can now — using only the comment function of your videoconferencing platform — share their answers (ex. “13 down is ‘Amazon'”). See how far you can all get in five minutes.
In-person: Mark up some pieces of butcher paper in a canonical crossword format. Entirely blank squares. Lay them down on the floor (commandeer the gym, cafeteria, or outside spaces as necessary). Ask students for a word. (“Right! Let’s start with 1 down. Five letters. Who’s got me?”) Now, either you’ve got students with giant marker pens writing the letters on your butcher paper, or you’ve got students with a stack of scratch paper, taping the letters onto the butcher paper so y’all can revise on the fly.
As each word gets tacked down, move your way as a group through the crostic, contributing words as you go. Hey, blend this activity with the Words of Affirmation, above. Build an affirmation crostic.
Once the crossword’s filled in — or as you go, you do you, kittens — ask the group to come up with a definition for each word. Talk about it. Work through it.
And still feel the satisfaction of completing a crossword together.
Begin each day with a song in your hearts and over tiny speakers on your desk or playing in the Zoom room. Throw a dance party, cameras optional. And don’t restrict this one to the Morning Meeting, feel free to bust it out any time during the day when y’all need a little energy boost.
And of course have students suggest songs. You might find the FCC guidelines for radio airplay helpful here: no mention of genitalia, genitalia activities, excretion or excretion activities. That covers quite a bit, but y’all can talk about what energy you want to bring into your class with these songs and make up additional inclusive and kind ground rules.
To get you started, we’ve pulled together this quick Spotify playlist of songs you can pull from for morning meeting, advisory, or whenever you need a little boost. And yes, it includes Hamilton. But also yodeling, because that’s gonna be amazing to sing along to as well.
Reach out if you need us; we’re all in this together.