10 Ways to Modify Small Groups to Use During Distance Learning

Small groups don't have to be digital for you to use them during distance learning. Check out these 10 ways to modify traditional small group curriculum to fit your virtual leaning needs!

1. Feelings Check and Group Rules:

These don't need too many modifications. Have the group members come up with some rules together and you write them on a piece of paper. At the start of every video call hold up the paper and review the rules just as you would in person. For the feelings check, have students go around and say how they are feeling and why. This too can be done over a video call. I have also made my feelings check poster digital on TpT. Download it for free here.

2. Board Games:

At first board games seem impossible to do virtually, but it is possible with a video call! Tape up the game board behind you and use a free online die to roll. Use small sticky notes with students' names on them to use as game pieces. Once a student lands on a space, hold up the corresponding game card for them to read and answer. Check out my board games here.

3. Journals:

Take the pages from a journal and easily add text boxes for students to type in using TpT's new digital feature!

4. Google Forms Self-Assessment:

Send out pre and post group self-assessments via Google Forms so students can answer them digitally. This makes it super easy for you to view and compare results! Here are some self-assessments to get you started.

5. Discussion Cards:

Similar to the board game cards, draw a discussion card and show it to the students over a video call so they can read and discuss. These discussion cards cover a variety of topics.

6. Role Play and Charades:

Charades are basically the same via a video call. Have students take turns acting out while other students guess. Role-play scenarios are a bit trickier but can be done. Have students act out a scenario for the rest of the group. This will take some planning ahead of time since you can't break them into pairs and have them practice. Instead, send them the scenario before the group meets and have them make a plan for what they will do.

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7. Sorting Game:

If the group calls for a sorting activity, have the students tell you where they think the card belongs as they watch you drop it into different bags over video.

8. Beach Ball Toss:

Instead of pasting the icebreaker paper strips on a ball, write numbers on them and have students randomly pick a number to see which one they will answer. This works the same for a die. Instead of assembling a question die, assign each side a number and have students randomly select one to answer the corresponding question.

9. Digital Collage:

If one of the group activities is to make a collage using newspapers and magazines, make a digital one instead. Students complete a "homework" assignment of finding things online for their collage and copy/pasting them to a blank page. Then have students screen share to present their collage during the video call group meeting.

10. Progress Tracker:

This one is simple! You can still use a group progress tracker. Hang it up behind you during video calls so students can see their progress. Or you could even create an online countdown version!

Bonus: If your students have access to printers or you can send home printed packets you can do even more! Print interactive notebooks for students to complete as they would in person. You can even play bingo over a video call! Have students print a bingo card and you call out the numbers. With printing access, you can do just about anything that you can during an in-person small group.

Virtual small groups definitely aren't the same, but students can still collaborate, practice empathy, and learn new counseling concepts with these modifications.

Buy my group bundle here (includes 20 small groups!) and you'll have a small group for every occasion whether you are in person or virtual!

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