Energizers are short, interactive activities intended to increase the energy in the (virtual) room by engaging in physical activity, laughter, and/or problem-solving.
Social and Emotional Skills
- Students practice demonstrating Self-Awareness through Energizers. Students participating in any of the energizers are likely building personal confidence as they overcome fear of what others think to just have fun! Because energizers are just that, focused on raising the energy and keeping the students’ brains alert and awake, there are no grades. When all “guards are down” students may begin to identify emotions that are not common for them or even uncover strengths that they might not notice during a typical class. These are characteristics of the Self Awareness Core Competency.
- By nature of the activities, students are interacting with one another and building their Relationship Skills in a low-risk way. They’re practicing their social engagement skills such as developing a plan and working together while also learning to trust one another when their interactions are encouraging with one another. Students will practice listening and respecting the ideas of others in their group.
You can use energizers with little prep. Start an energizer when you feel energy is low or you feel like you’re losing students’ attention. You can stop the energizer as soon as you hear laughter or the group morale rising if you want/need to.
Pro-tip: Anytime you have a student presenting, consider “Spotlighting” to increase visibility for all students. If possible, having students share their screen is an option as well.
> YeeHaw – slap your right leg with your right hand, yell “YeeHaw [student name]” towards another person on the virtual call. This starts the game and keeps it going.
> Hoe Down – jump to the side with both hands up facing the computer screen and yell “Hoe Down [student name]”.
> Rock n Roll – make the “Rock n Roll” sign with both hands and tongue out and yell “ROCK N ROLL, [student name]”.
> One person is selected to start the game. The game starts when that person slaps their right leg with their right hand and yell “YeeHaw (another students’ name).” For example, Billy may slap his right leg with his right hand and say “YeeHaw Justin.” As soon as the other student hears their name (i.e. Justin), they must do one of the moves and the game continues. The players can choose any move when it is their turn.
> Players must NOT hesitate. If anyone does hesitate, they are out and must turn off their camera.
> You can play until you are down to two people or you run out of time.
Overview: This energizer not only gets students laughing, it also gets them to be silly and step outside of their normal role. They will practice networking by asking and answering questions.
Directions: Split class into groups of 3 and send into breakout rooms. Ask the student groups to designate each student as “A,” “B,” or “C.” Bring them back to main room after 2 minutes. Once back in main room, share that person C will be interviewed by persons A and B. Person C is to role play as an expert at making parachutes for elephants (or something as equally silly).
After 2 minutes, bring back into main room. Share that now, person B will be interviewed by person A and C. Person B is a famous designer of invisible clothing.
After 2 minutes, bring back into main room. Share for the final round, person A will be interviewed by B and C. Person A is a fitness expert for bees.
Overview: This energizer allows you to discuss the creativity we all have inside of us because a lot of times children’s favorite toys aren’t actually toys at all.
Directions: Ask students to open applications like Buncee, Paint, Canva or other creative presentation tool. Ask them to virtually draw or create graphics that represents their favorite toy in 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, each person will share their name, their presentation graphics, the name of the toy and why it was/is their favorite. As the educator, “spotlight” each student as they’re speaking to help other students see their designs more easily. If confident in your students, you could also request for them to “Share their screen” for better visibility.
PAPER ROCK SCISSORS
Directions: Ask your students to turn on their cameras and center them where each student can see each other’s upper halfs of their bodies. Split the virtual call into two hypothetical “rooms” by listing the students’ names in Group 1 and Group 2 in the chat. (Pro tip: you might consider having students on differing teams change their backgrounds to the same to help each other recognize which team they are part of. If changing backgrounds is not possible, maybe consider having them to “rename” their names). Next, pick one person from each team to virtually play (1-2-3 shoot) best of three. Whoever loses must follow the winner from their game (i.e. change teams). If that winner loses, they along with their cheerleaders become cheerleaders for the person who beat them. Eventually you will have half of the room cheering for one student while the other half of the room is cheering for the other.
TEAR YOUR FAVORITE CARTOON
Directions: Ask your students to use a blank sheet of paper for this next activity. Tell them they will tear their piece of paper into their favorite cartoon character. They will have 30 seconds and must do it behind their back. After 30 seconds, each student must show their paper and say what cartoon character it is supposed to be. Remember to spotlight each student as they are talking so that all classmates can see their creation.
MAKE A MONSTER
Directions: Break the class into virtual breakout rooms, by groups of 2. Instruct the students to open the virtual whiteboard (Google Meet = Jamboard; Microsoft Teams = TBD; Zoom = Whiteboard) to draw one at a time. Ask students to draw one line at a time, ensuring each line connects to an end of the previously drawn line for 30 seconds. When time is up, tell them that they have drawn a monster and now it is time to name it. They will name their monster using some combination of their own names (think Brangelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie)). Next, ask the students what their monster’s super power is. Finally bring all groups back to the main room and have them share their virtual monsters’ names and super power.
Students can complete the debrief in many ways. Some options include writing their responses to tie in literacy, discussing in a group setting via any virtual call platform, or by recording their feedback using EdTech tools and sharing with their classmates.
- What did you learn about yourself through this?
- What challenged you about this energizer?
- Which Foundational Value do you feel like you demonstrated the most? The least? Why?
- What did you learn about your peers?
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