12 ways to start your (virtual) media class

One of the challenges of teaching a journalism production class, or in my case, a single journalism class that combines students of all levels, is finding time for your kids to practice. Most of the time, they’d much prefer to get straight to work, making it difficult to do whole-class teaching.

That push and pull between me and my editors led to the agreement that we would start each class period doing something together. Those activities sometimes go a little long (which is usually my fault), but they can also be just a few minutes. I’ve found it transitions them well into the journalist mode.

This year, we’re starting virtually, so I’ve collected and modified my beginning of class activities (you might call them warm-ups, bellringers, or journals) for our virtual setting. You can view the slides below, and you’re welcome to make a copy for yourself and modify them to fit your needs.

An additional resource you might find helpful is this curated list of community building activities that work in a virtual setting. Team building usually involves a lot of physical touch, so it was helpful to see different ways to get a group energized and connected to each other. These aren’t all my ideas, but it is handy to have a quick list to reference. Again, feel free to make a copy for yourself.

Michelle Balmeo

Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is the adviser of The Whirlwind newsmagazine and online news publication at West Albany High School in Albany, Ore. She's done some print stuff, some video stuff, and some web stuff over the past 14 years as a student media adviser.

Michelle Balmeo has 59 posts and counting. See all posts by Michelle Balmeo

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