New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that students be kept six feet apart when they return to school and that educators limit the sharing of materials to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These recommendations will challenge educators to find creative ways of leading active learning in their classrooms while keeping everyone healthy. We are here to help.
There are so many questions about what classrooms will look like when kids return to school in the fall. How will you keep your kids/students physically, socially, and emotionally safe? Will virtual learning be the new norm? No matter what the learning environment looks like this fall, we all know one thing for sure.
ADAPTABILITY AND MOBILITY ARE A MUST
How you set up your classroom can also contribute to the health and safety of your kids. Visuals to help with social distancing; borders that you use on your bulletin boards are perfect for marking off your students’ space on the floor. They are bright and fun, and easy cleanup! Younger kids will need the most help. Try using a foam-filled vinyl mat showing your students where to stand or sit. Our Rainbow Folding Gym Mat – 4’x4′ has hook and loop at the ends so that you can attach multiple mats to create an even larger padded area if that better fits your needs. Plus, they fold for storage and are easy to clean and disinfect.
Individual spaces are a must! Giving students their own storage bins for personal supplies will drastically reduce the spread of germs. Get creative! Turn our Birch 25-Tray Cubby Storage with Clear Trays into that space. Add a lid and a sticker to the bins for each student. Keep each child’s belongings separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or areas. Bins are big enough to hold pencils, markers, glue, tissue, and other high-touch items. This cubbie comes with casters to easily move around your classroom, you could double this unit as a room divider also.
For older kids, avoid sharing electronic devices, books, games, and other learning aids. Students will need a space of their own for materials that they use for learning — and they also need a mobile place to sit. Combining those two items as we have in our Mobile Classroom Stool with Storage will make mobile learning a little easier. The Mobile Classroom Stool with Storage is lightweight and has casters for easy mobility. The seating pad is removable for easy cleaning. This unit also comes with extra storage on the other side. Please note that this unit should only be used for older students as the casters do not lock.
HIGHLY ADAPTABLE SPACES
Flexibility will play a huge role in designing classrooms to support active learning while social distancing. A classroom that is flexible and easily adaptable can facilitate a wide variety of teaching approaches. Classrooms can be reconfigured into multiple designs to align with you and your student’s needs.
To give students enough room to spread out, items will need to be versatile. This might force the schools to create spontaneous learning spaces. Moveable furniture and portable room dividers can help leaders convert any space into quick, active learning, student-ready classroom. Active learning involves students brainstorming, creating, and discussing. Here are a few items that we know can help: