Virtual learning is coming for my school for at least a few weeks. But let’s face it, it will most likely be on the table all year. Let me walk you through students tool kits I am creating for students. You can see how I am collecting materials, putting the kits together, and making hands on learning a MUST for my learners.
In one day, I worked on setting up my room with technology by creating created teacher command centers in my classrom to man digital learning here. And in the same day I work on creating math tool kits, phonics tool kits, and handwriting help tools.
Keep in mind, this is just what I did in one day and I am not done with everything yet. I had teachers asking me to share what I was working on to help them.
Math Student Tool Kits
One big factor we lacked during distance learning was hands on materials. I don’t want this to happen in the again. Once I got access to school, I started prepping the math materials I had in my classroom for my students for the fall. I made small cups of eraser counters and small cups of two sided counters. I got these containers at The Dollar Tree for 10 for $1.
Next, I love these mini sticks. I use them for tally marks creating and counting. 10 of these went in small snack baggies. We can use them to count as well and make bundles. Sometimes you can grab these at The Dollar Tree or Walmart. I have a ton of them and they usually come 150 per bag! I only needed two bags total for my class.
Still, I made sets of 5 with our linking cubes. I will be using two different colors as well. All of these will math materials will go home with students to use as hands on materials for FUN learning in the classroom.
What I am Holding Off Sending Home
I decided not to send home the base ten blocks just yet. I don’t have enough for every student and we won’t get that part of math curriculum yet, so I don’t want to risk these limited math manipulatives getting lost until we use them.
My advice is to send home the math student tool kits your learners will need right away. If you can hold off some tools for a month or so, don’t send them home just yet. Sometimes giving students everything for the whole year at once is not the best idea.
A Few Extra Tips
My plan is to send home the math kits now to use virtually AND explain to parents these are their math manipulative when they return to school as well. Since our families have an option to extend virtual school through December, sending them home now is ideal for our needs.
Also, remember to try to use things you have or things you can get very cheap. The only things I purchased for these math tool kids were the small containers to put the counters and erasers in. I had the erasers from last school year as well as those mini craft sticks. Counting in the cost of those item, I maybe spent 50 cents a student.
I placed these math materials inside these cool bags I got off Amazon after a teacher suggested them. (They come in a pack of 36 and cost around 50 cents each! They end of being cheaper than some pencil boxes.)
I put these math tool kits inside cubbies for the time being, just to make sure I have room to work on the next project. I want to use these bags for phonics kits and put the math tools inside pencil boxes. Pencil boxes are on supply lists so I am not sure we will getting those from parents. I am adapting to changes as they roll. Since the math manipulatives were all prepped, I didn’t want them to be spread out, but put away.
Student Tool Kits
Next, I started sorting out phonics materials on tables just to make kits. Please note, students are NOT going to be sitting this close, I am just making piles to distribute. Students will each get a piece of plastic canvas, three crayons: red, green, black for phonics instruction. We follow the Orton Gillingham approach to phonics instruction.
Then, students will also get some simple materials to work on phonemic awareness since we need to hit that hard at the start of the school year. Student will get three magnetic chips for phonemic awareness.
See those colorful pieces that are green, yellow, red, and blue? Those are stackable cup erasers in the dollar section at Target. We will use these to build and take apart sounds. They are great or OT building as well so why not merge both! I think each pack builds 5 or 6 sets for students.
I also found these reading guides that look like orange pencils in the dollar section at Target as well. Remember, all these materials will be used at home AND then again returned to school to be used by this student only at school.
You can see what the phonics kits look like here.
One of the biggest struggles for little learners each start of Kindergarten is… handwriting. I also began to prep these handwriting practice books. We are going to be working on prewriting strokes first as we build our muscles to become better handwriters.
Then, I prepped the prewriting pages and one alphabet page per student. Our school has a really good electronic hole puncher so I want to use that to make the hole to use a binder ring to connect. Again, these are going home but they will also be used at school for the entire year.
My plan is to use these handwriting books for the entire school year. After we complete prewriting strokes, students can easily use these pages to practice correct letter formation.
You can Grab Student Tool Kits Here.