Warm up activities

While We Wait

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

Click on the CC icon in the bottom right corner of the video to turn on closed captions.  

While We Wait
Educator prep: None
Student prep: None
Music sharing, On-screen annotation
Duration: 5-30 mins

Activity purpose

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

Useful for

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.

Adaptations and examples

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.

Technical requirements

For coloring: any video tool that allows screensharing and annotation, or
For music sharing: any video tool that allows sharing computer sound.

Useful resources


More 'Warm up activities' activities:
Equity Unbound Activity
Imaginary Buffet (or Potluck)
The purpose of this activity is to engage students with each other’s ‘small talk’, by making a game out of active listening.
Maya Hey
Equity Unbound Activity
PowerPoint Karaoke
Engage students in improv presenting, and enhance oral presentation skills in a light and humorous way.
Maha Bali, Jasmina Najjar, Hoda Mostafa
Lost in Translation
Raise awareness of the richness of language and creativity in using language.
Francesca Helm

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