Blogger Gretchen Schulz

Engaging Resources for Online Programs

Hello Fall! As we continue #libraraining through the pandemic, I hope this post gives you some ideas and resources to help you along the way.

These have all been done under the program title, Boredom Busters, at Schaumburg Township District Library in Schaumburg, Illinois–a suburb of Chicago. We did these for tweens and pre-tweens (11-13 year olds specifically). If you edit content, they could be successful for a number of other age groups. The program can be 45 minutes to an hour depending on how much content you create.

My colleague and I have done all of the following examples, and have had fun doing each one. I surveyed some of our participants at a program earlier in September, and a few mentioned Boredom Busters as one of their favorite online program offerings for their age group from the library! 

BINGO

This website has a template to make your own Bingo Board. We created two different boards: a Zoom Fails board, and a Tween Book Titles board. The kids loved the Zoom Fails option; it was very relatable to them! I initially thought of just doing five in a row to be a winner, then the kids asked if they could do a ‘cover all’ and I realized in the future we could do a ‘four corners,’ ‘postage stamp,’ ‘inside diamond,’ etc. to make it more engaging and fun. We shared the link to the Bingo Board once the Zoom meeting started in the chat.

Story Progression

Exactly as the title suggests, this program resembles a Zoom version of playing the telephone game. The object: to tell a coherent story one line at a time. We had a goal of five lines for the story, so four kids were called on after the initial prompt was shared by us. We selected the participant randomly by calling on a patron. They could choose to pass, but most had fun! It’s not school, we reminded them, no pressure!

We found it was helpful to the kids if we wrote each sentence in the Zoom chat. That way the focus was less on memorization, and more on creating a cool story. When we had the five lines, we would read it back and rejoice on how awesome it turned out!

Here are the first five one sentence story starters from one of my favorite journal prompt bloggers, Journal Buddies Jill:

  • Suddenly, icy fingers grabbed my arm as I inched through the darkness.  
  • I suddenly found out that I was heir to a throne… 
  • She opened the letter and it said she’d won $100,000.  
  • When I flipped on the radio that night, I couldn’t believe the voice I heard coming through the speakers.  
  • I still remember the day I was born.  

Jeopardy! 

This website allows you to create your own Jeopardy game. It is very user friendly, and is free. There are some pre-made games to explore for kids. It is a nice introduction to the game of Jeopardy (encourage the kids to say, “What is/Who is”), and a different way of offering trivia. We shared the link in the Zoom chat once the program had started.

Rules:

  • Everyone gets a chance to play.
  • We will go in order of the Zoom Participant list. 
  • When it is their turn, each participant will choose the category they want (Animals for 300), and try to answer the question.  
    • If they answer correctly, they get one point.  
    • If they get it wrong, they get no points and another participant can choose to “steal” the point by answering correctly.
    • Either way, after answering one question, it moves on to the next person to get a turn. 
  • Whoever has the most points at the end wins! 

Credit is due to Carl Hooker at hookedoninnovation.com for his May 13, 2020 article “25 Strategies to Engage Students on Your Next Zoom Meeting.”

This post addresses ALSC Core Competencies III. Programming Skills | 3. Integrates appropriate technology in program design and delivery. & 7. Delivers programs outside or inside the library to meet users where they are, addressing community and educational needs, including those of unserved and underserved populations.

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