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Mastering Zoom Backgrounds for Class

Distance learning is no picnic, I think we can all agree. Especially in such crazy circumstances. So whenever it’s possible to add a little fun, I’m all for it! I love how the world is experimenting with Zoom virtual backgrounds, and I wanted to share some fun tips for you if you’d like to try it for yourself.

Basically, any photo can be turned into a Zoom background, as long as it’s the right size. And Canva has a free tool that allows you to drop your photo into a Zoom template and size it to work, then add any text or overlays you want. It’s really easy! I made four experimental Zoom backgrounds, and it took me about five minutes.

Here they are:

I grabbed all these photos from the free photo source, Pixabay, and then added overlay text to make them fit for a lesson on Greek mythology, a check in about independent reading, a class covering a play, or a discussion-based class. You could save these to your computer to use, or choose your own photos and add your own text.

If you’re not sure how to add a background while you’re in Zoom, here’s their how-to tutorial:

I like their tip about wearing something that stands out, and maybe filming in front of an empty-ish wall. Don’t worry about a green screen – who the heck has one of those lying around at home? (Though if you do, that’s amazing. Go with it.)

Here are a few of the fun types of templates waiting over at Canva:

If you want to skip Canva and just find fun photos for your background, here are a few of my favorites from Pixabay (and Unsplash). Just be sure you resize your selection to a 16:9 ratio if you want them to fit the virtual background.

#1: Library Love

#2: Who doesn’t want to have class in Diagon Alley?
#3 For Drama
#4 Coffee Shop Vibes
#5 More Coffee Shop Vibes (I really miss coffee shops)
Flexible Seating, from Pixabay
#6 For Transcendentalism or Environmental Lit

#7 For Travel Lit or Greek Mythology

#8 Shakespeare Fun

From Pixabay

I hope you’re inspired to go experiment at Canva and search around on Pixabay for a few minutes! It’ll take a couple of go-rounds to get the hang of this, but once you do, won’t it be fun?!

Like creative teaching ideas? Join me over on Pinterest or Instagram, whatever’s your jam! Or dive into the collaborative joy in my Facebook group, Creative High School English, and hang out with over 10,000 creative English teachers from around the world.

hey there!

I'm Betsy

I’ll help you find the creative ELA strategies that will light up your classroom. Get ready for joyful teaching!





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