Preparing for face to face learning was a little different this year. If this is a challenge you are facing, I am hoping I can help you out as well with these tips and tricks. Afterall, this year is anything BUT normal.
We Learned the News
We got the word that our school system was going to move towards a face to face option for learners. They gave us about a week to prepare for this while teaching virtually. (We will still learners the option for virtual learning as well.)
Every location will have different rules in place, so your classroom will most likely have to look a little different than mine, but I am going to share my ideas with you so you know WHY I did things to help you out the most.
Class Set Up
We were asked to spread out students out… way out. We were asked to put student as apart as we could. This meant many of us had to remove furniture and carpets. It broke my heart to take away small group tables and supply bins. And it stung to know we wouldn’t be sitting on the carpet for calendar time.
I was lucky enough to be able to keep my cubbies. Each student must have their own space and their things can’t touch another students things. For obvious reasons, having cubbies makes this so much easier.
One thing that is a struggle is how to store so much inside a cubbie when that is the only storage a student has AND they must have individual materials. I didn’t see this coming and it took me hours to reorganize cubbies after our first day of school.
And speaking about supplies, woah. What each student needs is now mind blowing. I usually make 6 items for small groups and we rotate through. Now I have 24 handwriting packs, 24 phonics kits, 24 math tool kits, and 24 supply kits. It is just a lot.of.stuff.
I printed out student labels for each student and put them inside their cubbies. This makes me so easy to label their things as theirs. I highly recommend the smaller Avery labels like this one that has 15 labels per row. They are small and fit on so many things.
Going face to face means we go to a different schedule. And our Covid schedule is even more strict. It is a lot to keep up with. Not only do I have to keep the schedule regardless of late buses, lunch schedule being off, or any other school issue… the students at home don’t know these changes are happening.
We write down bathroom breaks. I write down the time of our class bathroom breaks and I highly encourage all my learners to go then. We all wash our hands on these breaks regardless. If an individual student goes to the bathroom at a different time, I log that time and bathroom location as well.
Lots of Brain Breaks
We don’t leave the room often. Because of this, we do LOTS of brain breaks… lots of lots of stretches, wiggles, and so much more. Five year olds still need to move.
We have recess with just my class and in a separate area than other Kinder rooms. Since we have 6 kindergarten classes, we have 6 recess spots. My students will less than thrilled that they couldn’t play on the playground on the first day, because it wasn’t our turn. Since we have 5 other recess locations, we have to get creative with our recess. I have ideas with this… you can read about that here.
We eat lunch in the room. This isn’t bad at all. I like eating with my students. Of course this means you miss a bathroom break and a chance to do a few things to prep for class… but it is something we are doing for right now. I am going to choose to look at it from a positive side.