If you read my intro post to Bitmoji Virtual Classrooms you know all the ways Bitmoji can make your teaching and student engagement easier. This post is the 1st in my Bitmoji Classroom series and is all about building a virtual classroom. If you are already familiar with how to do this you may want move on to the next post in this series. I have them all posted and linked at the bottom of this page.
Remember that most of what I know and am sharing about Bitmoji classrooms came from generous and talented educators on the Bitmoji Craze for Educators Page on Facebook. Be sure to join and see the amazing content being shared there!
The first thing you need to understand in order to make a Bitmoji classroom is that PowerPoint and Google Slide tools can be used for WAY more than a flat traditional content presentation. When creating a Bitmoji virtual classroom you are using those tools to create a virtual room. You need to think just like an interior designer when approaching this. What is the purpose of this room? Is it a classroom with a whiteboard to share information? Are you creating a digital library for your students? Are you taking your students on a virtual field trip to an exotic or fun location? Based on your room function, you will create a visually appealing scene to enable those functions.
"You need to think just like an interior designer when approaching this. What is the purpose of this room?"
For a traditional classroom design, the EASIEST way of doing this is just by setting a picture of your actual classroom as the slide background. If all the editing and design process is too much, just do that! Your students will already know where to find things and love seeing your actual room. If you like your classroom but would prefer blue walls and gorgeous hardwood floors, now is your chance to have the virtual classroom makeover you will never get in real life! Funny side note: my classroom has old school green chalk boards and I have been asking for them to be replaced since I moved in... that isn't happening, but guess what my virtual classroom has! :)
Here are some examples of virtual rooms that educators made and shared on the Bitmoji Craze for Educators Facebook group to get you inspired even more. Thank you all in your generosity in sharing so freely!
Most items you would want to add to your classroom include:
A floor - make it the bottom 1/4 of your slide space
A wall - Brick, textured, a simple color, search photo backdrops for excellent ones. Add a baseboard (long white box) between the wall and floor to make it look more realistic too.
A chalk or whiteboard - This is where I post my class message and agenda for the lesson. Depending on the space's purpose you could have multiple!
A bookcase or wall shelf - Classrooms have small bookcases showcasing resources and libraries include walls of shelving!
A desk - Teacher's or student's, depending on your design!
A wall calendar - I like to link mine to my classroom calendar
Decorative educational or motivational posters - Take pictures of the ones you have in your classroom, educational flow or anchor charts, highlight portraits of authors or people you are studying, showcase students' work, or your favorite quotes... so many ways to add fun elements to your room
Lighting - lamps, wall sconces, hanging lights.
Rugs - these can add a touch of color to your classroom and brighten it up.
Seating areas - showcase flexible seating, add a comfy bean-bag chair, or a stunning couch for your bitmoji to sit on.
A computer - having a computer on a desk is an easy way to showcase digital programs like IXL, Nearpod, Kahoots, etc.
Fun decor - This is so fun. Add science models, plants, toys, learning manipulative, your favorite Hydroflask or Starbucks drink to make your room even more personalized.
Of course, there is so much more. If there is a physical item in the real world you can find a way to add it to your digital classroom. Watch my tutorial below on how I use the images I find to create my example classroom. This video is a little over 20 minutes long, and my longest video in the series which I hate, but I wanted to make sure you know how to use as many of the tools as possible to help you get started... Think of it as virtual PD!
When inserting your images, you will probably need to use a background eraser program to make them work in your scene. There are many programs that do this, but I found that the one that is easiest to use, produces great quality, and is free is Removebg. Here is a quick tutorial on how it works!
Pro Tip: Adding hyperlinks to your classroom text and images! You can link anything in your virtual classroom to anything that has a URL. They make the classroom interactive and so much more valuable than a cute room! Here are a few suggestions of links to add:
Documents, presentations, or other direct teaching pdf's - if you make these in google drive and use the share link you do not have to worry about updating these either!
Google forms or other online assessment systems
Your instructional videos or YouTube videos and tutorials - See SafeYouTube below
Read alouds or books chapters - make sure you have proper permissions
Course Syllabus, announcements, flyers, calendars, rules, etc
Pictures of infographics, flow charts, concept maps, etc.
Websites and interactive learning resources like Nearpod, Flipgrid, Quizizz, IXL, etc.
Other teachers' Virtual classroom pages! This is ideal to easily connect your students to your team teachers, campus SEL or media resources, etc. If other teachers share their link with you, you can make all of our classrooms connected!
Things to consider:
We are educators, so we should lead by example. Educators can use some copyright materials for their private classroom under fair use, but please research what that means before you go sharing your rooms publicly. There are a lot of free open copyright places to find images, it just takes a little more time than an open google image search. The classrooms I shared on my video have design elements that I either made or found using proper copyright channels. With that being said, my personal classroom that I will be sharing with students only looks a little better than the one shared here! Need help finding safe pictures? Here are a few ways I was able to:
Change the search settings in google image search to reuse with modification by going to tools and selecting Labeled for reuse with modification.
Click here - This is my classroom slide that I showcased in this video that you can use as the background for your first classroom if you want. You will need to have a google drive.
YouTube Sharing - If you have a YouTube video you want to share with your students, consider changing your URL to a Safe YouTube link. All you have to do is enter the original YouTube URL and it will generate a new one to use in your links. This will eliminate adds and keep your students safer from the crazy world of the internet.