PBSES Special Edition

Camera On Strategies for Distance Learning

Cameras Off in Zoom?

As a coach, I have heard many concerns around off cameras and black screens. As we recognize that these are challenging times that need accommodations, we also acknowledge that this makes your job even harder. Connection is at the heart of humanity. We thrive in social atmospheres as a species and due to this terrible virus, a lot of that has been taken away. Zoom has allowed us to connect in a limited manor, but seeing a black screen day in and day out can be taxing.

We also recognize that there are circumstances that children feel embarrassed, and judged with their cameras on. So how do we cultivate an accepting atmosphere on Zoom that is inclusive and warm, where children want to turn on their cameras despite their background? Connection is key here. The connection the student has to the teacher, their peers, and the class as a unit. How do we excite students into connection from an intrinsic place?

Below I have compiled a list of resources that could help bring students back into the classroom with their cameras on, boost classroom moral and excite your students into virtual learning. Some of these ideas have shown success with other teachers. Just like behavior, there is no silver bullet, but the idea is to keep trying. Even one student deciding to put their camera on because of your valent effort could make all the difference.

Please know that I am here to support you. I can come in to model one of these strategies, sit down to talk it through, or observe with feedback. You are amazing and I see the hard work you are doing to build connection each day. Keep the strength! <3

This Special Edition Newsletter will cover:

  • Camera Games
  • Show and Tell Strategies
  • Virtual Field Trips
  • Family Support


Benefits of Games:

  • Improves connection
  • Improves problem-solving skills
  • Enhances memory
  • Improves attention and concentration
  • It is a great source of learning
  • Improves the brain's speed
  • Improves social skills

CREATES EXCITEMENT! Try starting every Morning Meeting with a game.

25 Fun Games to Play on Zoom | Virtual Zoom Games for Teachers, Friends, and Families


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Show and tell is great for all ages! Show and Tell can be done in a plethora of ways, from extremely structure (scheduled and timed) to random and organic (show and tell scavenger hunt).

Ideas for Show and Tell:

  • Show and Tell Scavenger Hunt
  • Simultaneous Show and Tell
    Students grab something they love, show it on the screen, then type one word about it in the chat.
  • Show and Tell monthly calendar
  • Show and Write
    Students show an item that inspires writing. This might be a time to bring out oddities from your home. (I.E.- I have an old trunk that I found on a treasure hunt that is really old and mysterious. It could be a great prompt for writing.)


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Come on, ride on the Magic School Bus!

Professor Valerie Frizzle: Seatbelts, everyone! Arnold: Please let this be a normal field trip. Wanda and co.: With the Friz—no way! Arnold: Uhh!

Virtual Field Trips are a great way to get excited about learning and oh, there are so many places to go! Check out 101 No-Prep Virtual Field Trips!

Teach students change their background to represent their favorite part of the field trip! Share and discuss as a whole group or in breakout rooms! This is educational and exciting!

**Teacher Tip: Schedule the Field Trip for Friday around a certain place. Keep it a mystery, but drop clues throughout the week. You could also have a student helper that knows the location drop hints as well! (Students who are seeking attention would eat this up and you would totally fill their bucket!)

Family Connection

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Connect with the family to see build connection. This can be done through a variety of ways. Once a positive relationship is established, approach the camera conversation. Talk about connection and how physical presence (cameras on) brings connection. This is also a time to find out what the blockade is for the student to turn on their camera. This could you understand the student's emotional state and reasoning. Maybe an agreement could be made for "camera off time" and "camera on time".

Please let me know if you would like someone from the Tier II Team to join that meeting!
We are here to support!

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