Teaching virtually. Hybrid classrooms. In-person learning with social distancing. We’ve heard all of the options and I am convinced that none of the options are ideal. My heart hurts for teachers and students. There will be many things that teachers will need to reconsider this year.
In this post, we will be speaking to those teachers who will be teaching in-person at some point. I promise that we will address virtual teaching in our next post.
Meet the Teacher Open House
Every year I looked forward to the Meet the Teacher Open House. This was my first opportunity to meet my new students and their families. I loved to see the looks on their faces as they explored the classroom for the first time.
Hosting an Open House this year is probably not something that we can do in person. Teachers will probably need to consider a Virtual Open House.
You can invite students and families to join you on a Zoom or Google Meet video call. Introduce yourself and give students and families the important information about the school year.
We have created some FREE Google slides for you to use during the call. You can customize them and then share your screen during the video call.
After your presentation, encourage each student to introduce themselves and to tell the class one of their hobbies!
Shared Supplies and Manipulatives
I love community supplies. My students shared pencils, glue sticks, math manipulatives and so much more.
It is probably best that teachers look for as many ways as possible for students to have their own personal supplies rather than sharing.
My favorite way to store individual student supplies is in pencil pouches designed to be stored in a binder. They are inexpensive and take up less desk space than a traditional pencil box.
Having enough supplies for each student can get pricey. Here are some ideas for purchasing these materials:
- Ask parents to contribute supplies
- Start a Donors Choose project (especially for math manipulatives!)
- Click HERE to apply to have the Not So Wimpy Team adopt your classroom. If you are chosen, you will receive a box of supplies every month!
- Use virtual manipulatives. (There are so many options when you search the App Store!)
I know that flexible seating options have become increasingly popular in the past few years. And don’t get too upset…I am not saying that ALL flexible seating has to go away!
We just may need to rethink SOME flexible seating options. I think teachers need to evaluate their seating and ask, “Will this be easy to clean in between student uses?” If the stool or seat can be easily wiped down after a student uses it, then it will probably be fine.
You might have to rethink fabric chairs, rugs and pillows.
But listen to the requirements from your school district because it does seem that every district has different thoughts about continuing to use flexible seating this year.
I loved using reading and math centers. They engaged my students and provided lots of needed practice while I met with differentiated small groups.
No worries! I do NOT think we will have to give up centers altogether. They will just have to look a little different this year. We will probably have to eliminate the small group games, but we can still use engaging independent activities.
I am excited to announce that I have created Google Slide versions of my math centers. The slides include movable pieces that make the centers interactive for students.
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I also wrote an entire post with ways to make centers safer this year. Click HERE to check it out.
I think I saved the saddest consideration for last.
I am a book nerd and I always considered it an honor to be able to help students to discover their own love for reading. My classroom library was one of my most valuable possessions. A great selection of books is the easiest way to get kids excited to read.
So how can we have a classroom library this year?
Some of you, no matter what you do to make the library safer, will still have to close your classroom library for the year. I am so sad for you! But I know that this won’t last forever. In the meantime, I suggest doing some Donors Choose projects for books that you can give to your students. Then the books won’t be shared. You can also use digital books with an app like Epic.
There are a few things that teachers can do to increase the safety of their books.
- Keep hand sanitizer in the library and make it part of the routine when students are choosing books.
- Let students have several books at one time to keep in their own personal book box. (Walmart and Target carry plastic book boxes.) This will keep classroom library visits to a minimum.
- Have a special book return box. Students should put their books in this plastic box after they are done reading them. Keep the used books in this box for a few days since the virus only survives up to a few days on most surfaces.
- Use antibacterial wipes to clean the covers of the books and let them air dry before putting them back in the library.
There is no doubt that this will be a very different year for teachers and students. We will keep brainstorming new solutions and supporting you as you start the new school year. You and your students are so very important to the Not So Wimpy Team.
Have a Not So Wimpy day,