Virtual Classrooms – be warned, they are addicting!
The latest craze, virtual classrooms was all the rage this past spring. Teachers, students, staff, everyone was joining in on the fun!
Have you fallen down this rabbit hole yet?
I created a virtual classroom for my students during remote learning as a way to reengage them. We were tired of being separated and stuck inside at home so it was a great way to reconnect. Once it was completed, I posted it to Seesaw as an activity and included a hidden surprise. (There was a link in the open field out the window to the webcams in Glacier National Park!) We were unable to attend this field trip due to COVID19 so it was a fun way for my students to look at the park from a new perspective.
Included in the virtual classroom was my Bitmoji, sitting on a couch, just hanging out with my laptop. There is a window with a beautiful view, and a bookcase full of familiar icons. Each icon was linked to a program or website that we had been using during the year. This “new” classroom brought a sense of fun to our interrupted school year.
The response was so great from my students that I decided to teach small groups how to make their own.
Around this time of the school year, I would teach my students how to use Google Slides so this was a perfect transition piece. Normally we would take our favorite paragraph and put each sentence on a new slide with a photo. Creating a virtual classroom worked out as an even better project because of the image layering aspect. Using Seesaw, I created a signup sheet, keeping the sessions to 5 students on a first-come-first-served basis.
Looking back, groups of 3 would have been better. When you are working on Google Slides via Google Meet with second graders, it can get a bit rowdy!
Virtual Classrooms are kind of like grown-up dollhouses, just digital. You find and select furnishings for your virtual classroom in Google Slides using these steps from the upper toolbar:
Insert – Image – Search the web
You search for furniture to add to your “classroom”. I begin with “wall png” or “floor wall png”. When you are typing in words for your search, you want to use the words “png” or “transparent background”. Otherwise, the chances are you will have white space behind the image.
There are some tricks to making the virtual classrooms look more realistic. Use a couch that is at an angle like the one pictured below. When you search “rug png” you want to look for one that has the correct perspective. If you haven’t used Google Slides before, it is all about layering. Think of placing pieces of paper on top of one another. You can adjust how the objects layer by following the steps below. Click on the image you want to push back or move forward by clicking “Arrange” in the toolbar, then “order”.
To get you started I have a set of 5 free backgrounds in the Freebie Library I created for you! If you haven’t signed up for the password yet, there is a signup bar right under this post. I would love to see what you create, and let me know if you have any questions!