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This year is going to be different than any year we have ever taught before thanks to Covid-19. The best thing you can do now is get a jump start on classroom organization. I like to have checklists and a lot of teaching tools at my fingertips before I begin the school year in order for my days to go as smooth as possible. The best advice someone gave me once was to always plan and if the plan doesn’t work in teaching, change the plan.
Checklists for Teachers
Here is a list of things you can add to your own checklist for this school year. I have a free social distancing checklist download on TpT you can use if you don’t want to make your own.
Gather and organize classroom materials and supplies. (Include safety supplies, masks and hand sanitizer)
Distance seats from each student.
Make it a rule that kids need their own water bottle to keep kids out of the water fountain.
Create individualized bins for each student for supplies.
Prepare student name tags and/or student desk labels.
Organize your files.
Label all furniture in the classroom.
Create an emergency substitute folder.
Label textbooks, workbooks, and supplies.
Set up your grade book.
Make the first day of lesson plans very detailed.
Have rules for the NEW social distancing guidelines if you are in person.
If you are doing virtual or a blended version of both, create those rules.
Plan icebreakers for each day the first week of school.
Have a classroom calendar and schedule in the classroom.
In order to help you with all the new social distance guidelines and distance learning, I got together with some of my favorite teacher authors to bring you some teaching tools you can use in this Back to School Tools for Teachers! This is exciting because some of these are resources are way too time consuming for teachers to create. There are a few freebies in the mix too.
Here are the resources for your Distance Learning Teaching Toolkit:
Returning back to school safely is going to take teachers a lot of patience, tips and tricks this year! There are so many unknowns but I know for sure that being organized and clean are going to be play a big role in our Back to School routine.
Here are some ideas for you to think about this school year while planning!
Tips for Teachers Returning Back to School Safely
1. This hand sanitizer holder is pretty neat to place outside of the door. Students use their foot to squirt their hands. I have seen some great motion detected dispensers on Amazon too.
(Photo: Stephanie Deal)
2. This teacher is using individual yoga mats, plastic serving trays and individual bins for supplies to keep her students learning at a distance from each other.
(Photo: Kaycie Huffman)
3. Individual book bins are a MUST this year. Plan on using paper printable books or after a week, place the books on quarantine for a couple weeks before rotating them to the next student.
4. If you are meeting students in person this year, teaching Distant Greetings are going to be important to teach that first week back to school. Make a poster or sign to hang at the door for students to easily remember and choose their greeting and goodbye each day from a distance.
(Photo: Teacher’s Brain – Cindy Martin)
5. I love this idea! These are pillowcases turned inside out with individual supply bins inside.
6. If you are teaching virtual or in person this year, a virtual Meet the Teacher or Open House will make it easier for you to introduce yourself, the classroom and to get students to get to know each other virtually. Google Slides are perfect for personalizing and sharing with families.
7. Social Distance Posters are perfect for in the classroom to remind students of the new safety rules and procedures for the school year.
Greeting students in the morning is going to be especially important this fall with a pandemic hanging around. Welcoming students in the classroom is a great way to help students feel welcome and leave any problems they might have from home at the door. Teachers want schools to open safely this year. Social distance greetings for students can help with the transition from home to classroom.
Here are some no-touch social distance greetings you can do with your students:
Blow a Kiss
Air Fist Pump
Raise the Roof
Pretend to Tip Your Hat
How to Teach Distant Greetings
I would have students pick a greeting before they get to school to do at the door and an action for how to say goodbye. These activities should be quick. You can make a sign that has the actions that hangs on the wall by the door for a reminder. Hang posters and share other distance greeting activities to help students get in a routine of greeting each other. I recommend having a few actions and then changing the activities out every month to keep them engaged. Create your own or check out Teachers Pay Teachers for some great resources already made for teachers. Using Velcro will make it easy for teachers to change the greetings regularly.
Jack Hartmann has a wonderful song to help teach how to greet someone without touching and remind students how to stay 6 feet away from others in the classroom. Check it out! Thank you JACK!