Zoom Games to promote engagement and positivity in the classroom – Eleni Papaleonardos, Theater

Theater is all about physicality and embodiment. When my classes went remote in the spring, I soon found my active, energetic students passively sitting, hunched at their keyboard. To get them ready to engage in my acting class (physically and mentally), I needed something to get them moving, improve their posture, increase their breathing, and maybe even release a few endorphins with a little laughter – enter Zoom Games 

I found a number of low stakes games that helped get my students involved. These activities can be used in any class. Each game only took a few minutes, but after my students were in a better frame of mind and ready to engage in their learning. 

Thanks to my cast of Denison alums who helped demonstrate each of the games below with a short video.

Touch Blue – this one is really easy and gets them thinking quickly and moving fast. I usually make a quick reminder not to bring anything to the screen you don’t want seen – remember this is an academic class!

Picture Share – a creative way to put all those pictures on their phones to use, you can send students into break out rooms for discussion. This game was taught to me by positive psychology practitioners. Sharing a positive memory is a mental boost for you and those listening. 

Animal Crossing – “Hidden” in this game are elements of breath control and deep breathing, quick thinking, bold choices, and the shout releases endorphins – all of which really gets the serotonin flowing. 

Wax/museum night guard – a lot of time we feel silly or self-conscious on a computer screen. This is a great opportunity to embrace the absurdity and build community

Code names – this one always got them laughing, and was a great entry point as you could replicate these gestures in low/small or high/big energy. 

Eleni Papaleonardos
Visiting Assistant Professor (part-time)