Celebrating Birthdays During Distance Learning

Universal Studios Backlot: VIP Tour

The pandemic has definitely thrown a wrench in some of the things we planned to do in class this year.  I had to celebrate my very first student birthday virtually the other day and was not about to let the day pass by without planning something fun.

During a typical school year, my students’ families would bring in treats to share with the class and we would sing Happy Birthday. Since we needed to celebrate virtually, I told the students we would B.Y.O.T. (Bring Your Own Treats) to class, sing Happy Birthday and eat our treats together in class.

While this was fun, I decided to up the celebration just a bit and asked the student’s parent to tell me where their child would like to go on a field trip if they could go on a field trip right now. The student told their parent they would love to go to Legoland.

So, I searched on Youtube and found a few videos that park visitors had taken while at the park and, especially, on rides. We watched a couple quick video tours and went on some virtual roller coasters and other park rides together.  The students had a blast!

I told the students to buckle up as we prepared to start the rides. They even threw their arms up in the air as we went on the roller coasters! After we had finished the rides, one student raised their hand and told me that their dad had turned on the leaf blower and blew it in their face to mimic the wind on the ride. On the second ride, which was a water ride, their dad got a spray bottle and sprayed them as we splashed down into the water.  A+ dad! Way to go!

What’s even more important is that the student whose birthday we celebrated had a memorable birthday.  We have a few more birthdays coming up next month and I cannot wait to plan even more virtual field trips!

Here are some links to a few great videos I found.  Enjoy!

Legoland Tour

Legoland Pirate Reef On-ride Video

Fairy Tale Brook, Legoland California

The Dragon, Legoland California

Creating Digital Buttons for your (Virtual) Digital Classroom

If you would have told me last July that we would be in the midst of a pandemic and students would need to shift over to distance learning, I probably would have laughed at you.
Sometimes things happen that force you to become a better version of yourself.  This is what is happening now. Teachers are diving deep into professional development, collaborating on a global basis, and searching for answers on how to make online learning kid-friendly.

One way you might create an online learning environment that is kid-friendly is by creating digital icons that are clickable and link to content on your LMS, or learning management system, which is the platform you will be using for online learning for your students.  Some of the more well-known Learning Management Systems are Google Classroom and Schoology. 

Here is a sample of the kind of kid-friendly classroom you can create in Schoology.

In order to create a similar look in Schoology, I have created a tutorial. I will show you how to create simple and more complex digital icons for your online classroom. Also included in this tutorial are steps to add the icons into Schoology to create a more kid-friendly experience.   This is especially helpful with younger students.
I used some clipart that I found for free on Teachers Pay Teachers, which you may find here:


If you are interested in using the font I used, you may find it here:

KG Red Hands Font