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How to Hold a Virtual Character Education Assembly

How to Hold a Virtual Character Education Assembly

Before the pandemic hit, we would hold a school-wide character education assembly each month in our gym with close to 600 students and adults.  Sadly, these events cannot take place anymore and we are not quite sure when we will be able to resume events as we once did at school.  In an effort to strive for some normalcy for our children, we decided to continue our assemblies this school year online. 

While some of our students have opted to participate in virtual learning this year, we do have a number of students that are participating in blended learning.  The beauty of holding virtual assemblies is that we can stream to the students who are in the classroom and our virtual population at home.  This has also been a nice opportunity to gather the entire school together as one again!  Below are some helpful tips in getting you started with planning a virtual assembly in your school.  


Step 1: Choose a Platform


We hold our virtual assemblies on Zoom as our district has the capability to host a meeting of 1,000 participants.  While not every teacher in our district has this capability, our board office generously allows us to use their Zoom account to livestream our monthly assemblies.  If you are interested in learning more about how to host at least 500 or 1,000 participants on Zoom, you can click this link which explains how to choose these “add ons” for an additional cost per month.  As a school counselor, this is something you would need to discuss with your administration.  


Step 2: Learn the Platform


After selecting your platform, do your best to research how to host a large number of participants without creating chaos on a Zoom of 1,000 participants.  This can be daunting, but there are some neat tricks and settings that will help you out.  The mute button is our friend!  


Allow Multiple Co-Hosts & Mute Everyone Else

There are some important settings that should be in place before hosting a Zoom of this size.  First, you will need to determine who will be co-hosting the meeting with you.  We are fortunate to have an incredible group of student leaders, known as our Character Crusaders, who lead each monthly assembly.  At the start of our virtual assembly, we asked our leaders to join about fifteen minutes before the rest of the school to ensure everything was set in place.  Since our Character Crusaders would need to have access to muting and unmuting themselves, we made each Crusader a “co-host” of the meeting.  This can be done by clicking on the participants button at the bottom of the Zoom, which opens up the below picture.  Click on each student and make them a co-host.  As the rest of the school joins the Zoom, make sure that these students are muted upon entry otherwise there will be a lot of feedback, background noises, and chaos!  


Only Host Can Share Screen

There are a few other settings that should be in place before the Zoom begins.  Make sure that only the host can share their screen.  We create a presentation in Google Slides, share our screen, and make sure we share audio when we will be playing a video.  


Disable Attendee Annotation & Chat

In our first virtual assembly, we made the mistake of allowing students to “annotate” or draw on the screen.  We didn’t realize that this feature would need to be turned off so I highly recommend doing so before your Zoom call.  See below for how to disable this feature to ensure random pictures don’t pop up throughout your presentation.  You should also make sure that the chat feature is turned off unless you are able to control 500+ little ones on Zoom which is a pretty challenging feat!  


Step 3: Create an Interactive & Engaging Assembly


During our assembly last month, we focused on the character theme of respect.  Our Character Crusaders opened our assembly with our morning announcements which includes our thought of the day, a weather report, as well as any birthdays that are being celebrated.  We then moved on to sing happy birthday to students celebrating a birthday in the month of October.  After our birthday song, the Character Crusaders continued to the interactive portions of our assembly.  This month, we filmed our mascot Goldie the Golden Owl engaging in either respectful or disrespectful behaviors.  We played the videos for our virtual audience and the students on Zoom had to give a thumbs up for respectful behavior or thumbs down for disrespectful behavior.  We told the students that they could use their actual thumb or the “thumb” feature on Zoom.  


The next part of our assembly included our respect gameshow!  We had notified our parents, teachers, and students of this special gameshow prior to our assembly so that they could be prepared with the necessary materials.  We asked students to be ready to write down their answers to gameshow questions on a piece of paper or whiteboard.  The kids loved this!  Our Character Crusaders asked a number of questions about respect.  We asked True/False questions where students were able to write down True or False on their whiteboard and share their answer by holding their whiteboard up to the screen.  The next category included Sketch It where students were asked to sketch their response on their whiteboard.  The third category included Imagine If, where students were asked to imagine how they would respond in a particular situation.  Our last category included Act It Out, where we called on a student either at home or in the classroom to act out their response.  


We received such a positive response from parents, teachers, and students after this virtual assembly!  The kids were so excited to play an interactive game with their friends in other classes and grades.  We will be continuing this throughout the entire school year.  If you have any questions about hosting a virtual assembly, please contact me at MindfulCounselorMolly@gmail.com

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