Why Jamboard is the Best Tool for Back to School Activities for Students
Jamboard is the ultimate tool for collaboration, community building, and giving students ownership of their classroom.
One of the best things I started doing was making my All About Me and Get to Know Me Activities at the beginning of the year collaborative. It was kind of silly to be assigning students All About Me activities that they worked on by themselves and never showed anyone. It wasn’t helping anyone learn about each other or build the classroom community I wanted.
I started using Jamboard with my students and realized it was the perfect tool to use for whole group and partner activities at the beginning of the year. (I also use Jamboards for the entire year for math, reading, and writing, too.)
5 Ways I Use Collaborative Back to School Jamboards
1. Whole Group Jamboard Games and Activities
Games, games, and more games! This is the way to your students’ hearts. Even better…games about them!
I used Jamboard to create a bunch of games and activities that can be done when students come in the door, during morning meeting, as a break during the day, or at the end of the day before going home.
Students love filling out the Jamboard frames with information about themselves, knowing that they get to share it with the rest of the class. They can even insert images on the Jamboards. (If your students are like mine, anytime they get to do a Google Search for images, they’re instantly engaged.)
The activities are also an easy and interactive way for you and your students to learn about each other.
Here are some of my favorite games and activities:
2. All About Me Partner Games for Jamboard
You can also have students work in partners to learn more about each other. Two of my favorite activities are Find a Friend Bingo and Get to Know a New Friend compare and contrast activity.
Find a Friend Bingo
In this activity, students each get their own copy of the Bingo Jamboard. The goal is to make a Bingo (or blackout) by finding classmates that fit the clues on the board (clues are editable for you).
Students pull up the Bingo Jamboard on their computer and move around the room, asking their classmates if the clue in a particular Bingo space applies to them. If it does, they take a photo of that student with their computer (selfie) and use the photo to cover up the Bingo square.
Students move around the room talking to all of their classmates. It’s a great way for students to work with people they don’t know in the classroom. And let’s be honest, students LOVE the camera feature on their computer and iPads.
Get to Know a New Friend Compare/Contrast Activity
This Back to School activity is one my favorites! I used to have my students do it in Google Slides, but my students love the stickies in Jamboard so much that I decided to do it in Jamboard.
To play, I pair my students up with someone they don’t know very well. They sit next to each other and are assigned a Jamboard frame to work on together.
This activity forces new classmates to talk to each other and ask each other questions about things they like.
It works just like a Venn Diagram. The things they have in common are put in the middle. If something only applies to one of the partners, they put it on their side.
Students can take their selfie (and a selfie together!) or just put their names at the top of the sections.
If you want to print out the Jamboard at the end and create a bulletin board, students love looking at them.
3. Morning Meeting Discussion Jamboards
Morning Meeting is one of my favorite ways to start the day and some of the most valuable time to get to know your students, make them feel comfortable, and get them excited about coming to school.
When students come into the classroom in the mornings, I have a Jamboard projected for them to add a sticky note to. The questions for the first days of school are usually about how they’re feeling and getting to know them a little better. I also feel like students are more comfortable sharing on a Jamboard at the beginning of the year than raising their hand to share.
Here are some of the Jamboard discussion templates I use:
4. Reflect on the Day and Give Students Classroom Ownership
Morning Meeting is usually the time we think of using discussion Jamboards, but the end of the day is also a powerful time to come together and reflect on how things are going.
I love saving the last 10-15 minutes of the day for a discussion Jamboard. This is a good time to ask students how they felt about the day or week or ask them about anything they wish they could change about the classroom. It’s also a good time to see if they have any questions about something like homework, procedures, etc.
When students feel like they have a say in the classroom, they feel more a part of it. If they have a concern that can easily be fixed or changed, they’re going to feel that ownership.
If there’s a concern someone brings up, it’s also a great time to brainstorm as a class what would make it better. It might also lead to an opinion or persuasive writing piece!
Here are some of my favorite end of the day Jamboards:
5. Math Warm-Ups
Beginning of the year Jamboards can also be used during math time.
Figure Me Out is a really fun Back to School activity where students write math problems to describe their age, shoe size, number of pets, and more. They create equations for their classmates to solve that lead to the answers.
How it works: Students all get one frame in the Jamboard to customize with their clues. During your math warm-up, project 2-3 of these and have students solve them on a separate sheet of paper or white board. Students love when their frame comes up!
You can also project them throughout the day or during your transitions. Instead of full-group, try pairing up students to work together to solve.
(There are a lot of ways to use Jamboards for math including as math mats and manipulatives, too.)
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