Free Virtual School Assemblies & Interactive ZOOM Calls
We know that many of our schools look to TEEN TRUTH to drive real, personal interactions on campus, but with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting education so hard, our team has aggressively switched gears to bring you immediate support.
TEEN TRUTH has launched TEEN TRUTH 365. A new program designed to deepen your distance learning efforts. This program offers free virtual school assemblies and live interactive Zoom calls with our speakers.
Virtual School Assemblies That Excite Students
School assemblies are an incredible opportunity to gather students. These events can be educational, entertaining, discuss an important topic, or change the school’s culture.
Since the pandemic, many schools have incorporated virtual elements into their school-wide programming through online and virtual school assemblies. These online assemblies are an excellent way to connect with students. Virtual school assemblies can help excite students and increase engagement due to their interactive nature. In this complete guide, you’ll learn how to plan a successful virtual assembly for your school.
CLICK BELOW for an intro video that I put together about the Teen Truth 365 virtual program.
Additionally, you can visit teentruth.net/365 to inquire about our virtual assemblies and live interactive Zoom calls. We hope this can help your distance learning efforts, while also supporting our team at TEEN TRUTH.
We currently have the following programs available, all of which feature content from our award-winning film library:
- Mental Health
- School Culture
- Student Leadership
- Social Media
Since day 1, we have prided ourselves on offering interactive experiences for students and staff. We would be honored to be your partner as you fight to build school culture during the corona crisis.
Contact us if you have questions or if you want to book a time slot for the interactive ZOOM calls.
What is a Virtual School Assembly?
In short, a virtual school assembly is a speaker presentation or online event that brings students together in a virtual environment. Think of a traditional school assembly. The class, grade(s), or even the entire student body gather together in one space to discuss a topic or see a presentation. School speakers or a company specializing in conducting assemblies will often travel to the school to perform.
These days, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, school assemblies can be accomplished virtually; none of the traditional logistics mentioned are required! In a virtual setting, these sessions can also be pre-recorded if that is better for the school’s situation.
What technology do I need to host an online school assembly?
Due to the pandemic, many teachers have become experts with virtual classrooms. They are well versed in the pros and cons of instruction via video. It may be helpful for school administrators to lean on some of their teachers’ expertise and experience.
The first item on your list is to decide how the students will view the presentation. Will they be in a room together, watching a large screen, or will it be entirely virtual with the students logging in from their computers to join the virtual event?
Next, when consulting with an online assembly company or speaker, it is helpful to coordinate what video communication platform your school uses. Do you use Zoom, Google, Microsoft, Skype, or another platform? Regardless of your platform, virtual assembly experts like TEEN TRUTH will be able to work with your school’s platform specifications.
Another critical point is to investigate the specific limitations of your school’s online video program. Make sure your school’s plan has the capacity needed to conduct a virtual school assembly.
It is common practice that a member of the administration handles the video platform logistics to ensure no interruptions or unexpected situations. They should be ready to mute all participants and monitor the chat to ensure everyone’s focus can be on the presentation.
Additionally, suppose everyone joins remotely via their computers. In that case, it is a good idea to check ahead of time and make sure they have access to the internet, and the computer’s camera and speakers are in good shape.
Popular Virtual School Assembly Ideas & Themes
A suitable theme for your school assembly is essential. Fortunately, there are many ideas and popular Zoom assembly trends that will match the goals of your school. Below are a few common ideas for schools looking to host their first virtual or Zoom assembly.
Anti-Bullying Virtual Assembly
Bullying can be present in any school, in any age group. The effects of bullying can last a lifetime. This virtual school assembly idea will always be a great choice, whether your goal is prevention or mitigation. Often, students might not even realize that their behavior qualifies as bullying. An entire presentation on this topic is a perfect way to set the tone and the culture that you desire at your school. A virtual assembly can help clarify what bullying is, what behavior will not be tolerated at your school, and the guidance and resources for students experiencing bullying.
End of the Year Virtual Assembly
Once the year begins to wrap up, prevent that awkward “fizzle out” feeling and bookend the year with an “end of the year” virtual assembly. You can go over your capstones and high points, address the challenges faced, and bid farewell to any outgoing students on a new chapter in their lives.
Everyone loves a field day. It gets the students outside and breaks up the routine of sitting inside a classroom day in and day out. Starting or ending the field day with a virtual school assembly is a great idea to get people pumped about the games and activities they will participate in, or be the perfect ‘cool down’ experience to put a period on the day’s activities yet keep up the energy level. They can also take place at certain intervals during the day for different groups of students (and teachers) to get a chance to rest but remain engaged and active.
Standardized Testing Motivation
The stress around standardized tests is real. Most students may need some extra motivation or reassurance when it comes to these pivotal tests. A virtual school assembly can motivate students and provide tips on studying and coping with stress.
How Can I Make an Online Assembly More Interesting?
To keep everyone engaged, consider having the event live. You can make use of polls, host a Q&A, and have students participate in games. When choosing a virtual assembly company, it often helps to find a way to include some beloved teachers, coaches, or members of the administration in a silly or memorable role.
Positive Behavior Incentives – Holding the attention of a large group of students can be a challenge, regardless of whether the event is in-person or virtual. To increase your chances of a smoother online assembly, set clear behavioral expectations in advance. Plus, during the event, it may help to offer a small reward or prize to incentivize the students to participate helpfully.
What are Teachers saying about Virtual Assemblies?
As mentioned above, virtual assemblies remove many of the time-consuming hassles that come with an in-person assembly. To name just a few, herding students back and forth between the classroom to the auditorium, keeping order, and accommodating the needs of the performers. Virtual assemblies give time back to a teacher’s day, allowing them to focus on their most important task – teaching their students.
How Much Does a Virtual School Assembly Cost?
Virtual assemblies can vary in price—some charge by the student count, while other virtual assemblies will have a flat fee depending regardless of the school size. It also depends on how many assemblies are needed. You will need to contact TEEN TRUTH or other companies to get a personalized quote for your school’s virtual assembly. Still, in general, you can find a virtual school assembly package ranging from $500 up to over $5000 per event.
Virtual School Assemblies are an innovative alternative to the traditional assembly method that keeps your students excited and engaged. The virtual option streamlines many of the difficulties without sacrificing quality education. Contact TEEN TRUTH today to start building your school’s culture with a virtual assembly program!
What I’ve Learned After Hosting 49 Virtual School Programs
COVID has been a whirlwind for all of us. You have been working hard to redefine the learning environment, and entrepreneurs like me, have been moving as quickly as possible to pivot into the virtual space. After hosting 49 virtual events during the fall semester, I wanted to share 3 strategies you can use to engage students & staff in remote learning.
Build True Connections
No matter if I host a leadership summit in CA, an SEL training in MN, or a campus relationships workshop in MA, I have found one common theme to be true. COVID has forced us into a situation where we deeply desire TRUE connections in our lives. Students have constantly voiced how their teachers aren’t allowing time for peer-to-peer relationships to be built, and teachers are constantly worried about how students aren’t showing up or turning on cameras. How can this issue be fixed? Simple. By providing some legit space for kids to connect.
1. Maybe a 50-minute class session can have 5 minutes for students to connect socially?
2. Or a virtual break room can allow for friend groups to share a snack together?
3. Perhaps a 1-on-1 meeting between a teacher and student can build a better relationship?
Virtual Assemblies have Unique Challenges
Be aware that virtual school assemblies have challenges that would not come with an entirely in-person event, but proper planning can mitigate most issues. It is essential to consider these items below at the beginning stages of planning.
Technical/sound issues: Are the students gathering in person to watch on one screen? Do a test to ensure that the audio/visual equipment and the internet connection are solid. Are the students all joining virtually? Start communicating with students before the event to ensure they have access to the internet and their computer’s camera and speakers are working correctly. If not, this provides a chance to help find a way for them to join without issue.
Maintaining Engagement Levels: If you have ever been in a lackluster Zoom meeting, you know that energy can evaporate quickly. When researching online assembly companies, look to see how successful they are at keeping up the energy level with their presentations to reduce boredom. Do not be afraid to ask them how they mitigate this situation.
Live From Your School: Many companies offer a custom pre-recorded show, which may fit perfectly with your assembly needs. However, one of the benefits of a live performance is the increased engagement and opportunities for the students to ask questions. Live performances can bring benefits like interaction and engagement, but they also can bear challenges similar to that of a live TV show. Ask yourself the exact scenarios that your team does not want to go wrong, and then create a plan.
Deadlines Can Be Difficult
In almost every virtual leadership summit that I have hosted, students have voiced a desire for flexible deadlines when turning in remote learning assignments. I am yet to hear them talk about how they don’t want to do the assignment, but they do voice concern in the timing in which they need to get an assignment done. If the teacher in class A asks for something to be submitted by 3pm, and the teachers in class B and class C do the same, students are left in the lurch trying to figure out how to attend their daily classes and get all the work done by 3pm.
1. Creating flexible deadlines may be a solution that can help your students manage their workflow.
2. Opening up breakout rooms for students to get some of their work done during class time could help as well.
3. Creating a virtual study hall after school can provide students a place to connect and work together.
We Are All Zoomed Out!
This is a no brainer for every single one of us. Zoom has surely been an amazing tool for so many of us during this season (wish we all bought stock in it, right?), but this success has also created some unintended consequences. And the fact is that many students and teachers are completely Zoomed out. I know it might sound crazy, but this could be an important time to encourage teachers and students to take planned time away from remote learning. This could look like:
1. Making an assignment that has something to do with getting out in nature.
2. What about a day where students are simply encouraged to leave class 20-minutes early and complete ONE act of kindness in their neighborhood?
3. Or how about a mandatory break during a class where all students and teachers have 10-minutes to go outside. Take a picture of themselves and post it back to the school’s social media account?
I know many of these ideas are simple, but I continue to hear them brought up in our virtual leadership summits, SEL trainings, and PD workshops. If you need some help, let me know. Our team is ready to serve you when the time is right.
JC Pohl, LMFT
President & CEO, TEEN TRUTH