Watch this video to see 'While We Wait' in action...

Make use of the 5 minutes before class or if you break in the middle.

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The purpose of 'While We Wait'

Make use of the 5-10 minutes before class time or if you give a break in the middle of class.

Activity description

  • Useful for
  • Preparation
  • How to do it
  • Duration
  • Adaptations
  • Technical requirements

When you have time between classes and can log on a few minutes early, this can help engage students who show up early, and encourage them to come on time for class, while helping create a sense of community in the way that people trickling into class early can do in an in-person class.

Not too much. If using music or coloring pages, you may want to prepare ahead of time, but it can also take about 2 minutes to find something suitable if you don’t have time to prepare ahead of time!

In the video, we discuss the following ideas:

  • Share music (not too loud) so students hear it when they come in. You can encourage students to sing along, dance along, or just talk over the music. It can spark an interesting music-sharing conversation.
  • Tell students you will discuss favorite movies and TV series in those few minutes before class and invite them to join that conversation.
  • Share your screen with a coloring page and encourage students to use the annotation function of Zoom to start coloring together - this can be relaxing, and people can still chat while coloring together, without the pressure of cameras focused on their face.
  • Encourage students to do some stretching exercises as they may have several video calls that day and forget to do that!

These things should not take more than 5 or 10 minutes to do.

Obviously, you can use the time before class to just be available for students in case they want to talk about anything else - rather than filling the time with other activities; but these are just some variations that may encourage students who would not naturally come in and chat on their own.

  • For coloring: any video tool that allows screensharing and annotation, or 
  • For music sharing: any video tool that allows sharing computer sound. 
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How do I use these resources?

We have created a welcome video and some introductory text that explains in detail how to use these resources. You can also find answers to some key questions below. 

Yes you can. We have included descriptive text and slides that you can reuse / adapt for this reason. We have suggested some variations for activities to help you make adaptations.

We show how much time an activity should take and what resources you need to help you make a decision.

As we include more resources over time you will have a greater choice of activities and more information about the different contexts within which they work best. 

Any technique can block some people out, make them feel unwelcomed, or be used in a way that privileges some and makes it harder on others.

All of these techniques should be used in conjunction with pedagogies of care and what we call Intentionally Equitable Hospitality

If you try an adaptation of this activity, or try it as is and have interesting results to share, please contribute your adaptation/reflection in the comments or get in touch through social media / email.

Coming soon: there will be room to discuss these activities in private discussion forums in OneHE’s.

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