11 Fun Zoom Games & Activities for Secondary Students

October 02, 2020

Trying to avoid the Zoom gloom? Need a break from the routine of synchronous classes? Check out these fun ideas for middle and high school students.
Trying to avoid the Zoom gloom? Need activities for class meetings or just a break from the routine of synchronous classes? Check out these fun games and activities your middle and high school students will love.

1. Mad Gab
These puzzles are a group of words, that at first glance and first saying don't make sense, but when you say them slowly and listen to what you hear, you can figure out what the phrase is. For example,  Common Firm Their Rain becomes Come In From The Rain. When we played over Zoom, I had students turn off their mics and cameras, so other students couldn't hear or see what they were saying. Students made their guesses in the chat. This site has tons of lists of Mad Gab phrases.

Trying to avoid the Zoom gloom? Need a break from the routine of synchronous classes? Check out these fun ideas for middle and high school students.

2. PowerPoint Games
With this easy to use free editable PowerPoint template, you can add your questions and answers to this interactive review game and play with your students on Zoom, Google Meet, or your online meeting platform of choice! (Instructions for editing and use with Zoom are included.) Review content, play trivia, and more with this easy PowerPoint game. You can keep a running scoreboard on the screen, and make the game as short or long as you want.
*Recommended by Molly Ledford, The Littlest Teacher

Using Zoom's whiteboard, I drew a scribble that students and I then copied onto a piece of drawing paper. We had two minutes (you could adjust the time) to turn that scribble into a drawing. Students could color in their drawings if they had enough time. When time was up, each player that wanted to held their drawing up to their camera to share. Our first scribble led to fairly similar results, but drawings got more and more creative after a few rounds. 

4. Skribbl
This is pictionary, online. My advisory students loved it. We used it once a week as a fun, community-building activity. Kids log in and we each took a turn choosing word from the menu secretly presented to us and then drawing. The rest of us tried to decipher their skribbles. Is that a dog or a camel? Skribbl gives you a hint in the form of how many letter in the word...and then slowly reveals some letters. Some kids were excellent drawers, some rocked at guessing the words, and one "just hung out at the bottom of the leader board" alone with his excellent attitude, every time. On Skribbl days, I put music on my computer and we had fun, together, and, online. That can be difficult to capture. For teachers who want to tailor the words to their classes, that is possible. There is an option to enter your own words. The Spanish teacher used Skribbl in class to reinforce vocabulary.
*Recommended by Rachel Cummings, Writing by Rachel

Kahoot! is a free game-based learning platform that makes it fun to learn – any subject, on any device. Students just need a join code to play a game, no sign up is required. Kahoot! has a collection of pre-made content related and just for fun games. Students can play individually or in teams. During online learning, my students liked to log in on another device, usually a cell phone, so they could see the questions and leaderboard in my Zoom window.

Trying to avoid the Zoom gloom? Need a break from the routine of synchronous classes? Check out these fun ideas for middle and high school students.

6. Digital Escape Rooms
My students' favorite activities that we do every year are digital escape rooms. Once I realized how engaged they were while doing these, the more digital escapes I started to create. One of my favorite digital escape rooms is my ELA Test Prep/Review. It covers main idea, point of view, text structure, parts of the plot, author's purpose, and figurative language- all important standards that students must master. I found that my students no longer dreaded test prep or the review of skills once they began "competing" to see who could finish first. Digital escapes can be done in groups or individually, whichever works best for your students.

Quizziz is similar to Kahoot! except that the students progress through the questions in a random order. 
I've used pre-made trivia games on Quizziz, but also highly recommend making some custom games for your students. Last year, I put together a trivia game based on unique facts students submitted to me about themselves as well as a who's who game with baby pictures. Both were a big hit and helped to build community.

8. GimKit
Gimkit is an engaging game that ramps up competition online and is one of four tools I use regularly to engage students online. I use GimKit as an extra practice, a fun activity. Students must answer questions, and when they do, they earn “money.” They can buy power-ups and shields for protection. They compete against their classmates. 

Trying to avoid the Zoom gloom? Need a break from the routine of synchronous classes? Check out these fun ideas for middle and high school students.

9. Digital Bookshelves
In an online meeting, teachers can use digital bookshelves as a starting point for conversations about independent reading or even whole-class texts. I design my digital bookshelves so that students can label the shelves differently (love, like, meh OR challenging, just right, easy are a couple of examples). Students can have their own digital bookshelf, or we can provide class shelves so students can see what their peers are reading. When meeting with small groups or a whole class, teachers can ask students to share what they are currently reading or what they have just finished as well as where they placed it on their bookshelf and why. It’s interesting to enhance digital bookshelf meetings with discussions about book diet, abandoning books, and book volume. Students can read the first line of their favorite book on their shelf and even make book recommendations for classmates. The digital bookshelf I created can also be used as a landing spot to link course texts, audiobooks, and podcasts that are available online.

10. Scattergories 
The first time I played with my students, I created my own "game cards" in Google Slides, but then found this online generator that allows you to adjust the timer and number of categories. I had students type their answers into the chat on Zoom, but not submit them until the timer went up.

11. Scavenger Hunt
I created a list of items students would be looking for around their house and assigned a point value to each item ahead of time. I also broke my students up into two teams. I put this information into a Google Sheet and did some formatting so that each team's score would automatically add up as I added in points for items they'd found. I did this around Earth Day so all of the items on the list were connected to that theme. Here's a quick list of ideas for creating your own scavenger hunt. 

Trying to avoid the Zoom gloom? Need a break from the routine of synchronous classes? Check out these fun ideas for middle and high school students.


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