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Five Tips for Safe Centers In a Social Distancing Classroom

COVID-19 has shaken up the world we live in ways that are still unfathomable to me. We have to answer questions like: How do we keep students safe? How do we keep teachers safe? What are we going to do if we have to leave the classroom again? While this is a time of uncertainly, you can create safe math and literacy centers for distance learning.

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Laminate Your Math and Literacy Center Pieces

Safe math and literacy centers are possible if you use a teacher's best friend: the laminating machine. If you are back in the classroom, you can make it easier to clean your centers by laminating the materials. We know that COVID can be on surfaces including paper. Therefore, it's important to have supplies that you can sanitize. Laminating your math and literacy center pieces will help keep your students safe because they can be sanitized. You may have to add a step in your center procedures: sanitizing. Before students move to the next center, they must sanitize the pieces they were previously learning with.

Use Hand Sanitizer to Reduce Germs

Another way to ensure you have safe math and literacy centers is to use hand sanitizer before and after center use. When you use hand sanitizer between stations, you are eliminating the amount of germs students are transferring from one place to the other. During distance learning, it's important to keep all things clean that will be shared. Hand sanitizer is an easy and effective way to keep your centers clean of germs. In addition to hand sanitizer, you can promote mask-wearing to reduce the amount of air shared between students.

Create Individual Math and Literacy Centers

While this might be a bit more work for you, making extra center stations that students can use will drastically reduce the amount of germs passed between students. Safety while in the classroom and outside of the classroom is the whole purpose of distance learning whether that's online or socially distancing in the classroom. When you make extra center shoe boxes, there is less shared material and it's easier for a student to sanitize the center pieces making them safer. While it might be a bit more time at the beginning, it is not too difficult to make extra copies and have a few extra stations ready. Even if students have their own centers, they can still work together to promote collaboration and socialization which is one of the many reasons you should be using centers.

Independent Center Kits

Independent math and literacy kits give students a specific center or a few specific centers to work on for the week. Grab my favorite storage container, the Iris boxes, and give your students the centers they need for the week. After the week is over, make sure you sanitize the pieces. Then the following week you can rotate the math and literacy centers after they have been safely cleaned and stored over the weekend. You need a lot of centers to do this, so you'll want to buy bundles of multiple grade levels so you can have great reviews for all of your students.

Go Digital with Your Math and Literacy Centers

Whether you are in the classroom or distance learning you can use your centers digitally. In fact, if you are in the classroom, it might be a good idea to teach your students no matter what grade they are in how to use your digital centers. Whether you are in kindergarten or fourth grade, you can find GREAT digital center bundles ready for e-learning with the click of a mouse. A big perk of using digital math and literacy centers is the computer is easier to sanitize than all of the little pieces. The best part really is that you're ready to go to e-learning at the drop of a hat. If you are in the classroom, have students work together on digital centers to help them get that socialization and team-building skills.

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COVID-19 has done more than cramping our style in the classroom, but it doesn't have to be in control! Finding safe ways to do distance learning and still using good practices, like centers, will be vital to our student's success! So this year, get your students center ready for anything that might happen tomorrow.

Until Next Time…

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