Saturday, July 25, 2020

Social Distant Classroom Takeaways

Created by: FRES Summer School Staff Members                                                           

(** Here are suggestions we gathered from our experience during F2F summer school **)

Greeting Students 

    • Greet them at the door with hand sanitizer before entering (use this as a time to greet them and call them by name).
    • If there are a lot of students arriving at once, to eliminate crowding at the door, place markers 6 ft apart and have them stand on a spot (just like the lines at stores).

Cardboard High-Fives (emotionally connect with students from a safe distance)

 Cardboard High-Five Teacher                         

    • Cardboard High-fives are created from cardboard and a stick (popsicle, pointer, paint stick, etc.)
    • Each student traces their hand on cardboard & teacher cuts it out. ** Allow students to decorate to personalize it. **
    • Set guidelines: let them know when & how you want them to use it.** I taught my students not to touch the cardboard, only the stick!*
    • Follow Cardboard High-Five Teacher on Twitter as she documents her journey! 

Classroom Setup 

    • Use tape or small sticker dots on the floor to mark desk placement to help students be independent with keeping distance in the classroom. ** If you have carpet use Velcro and place markers by desk legs.
    • Tape their “bubble” so if they want to work in their workspace on the floor they know where they need to stay.
    • measure from chair to chair. This gives you a little more wiggle room. 
    • Roll up rugs for more desk space.
    •  Push bookshelves against the walls and have it facing the wall. Classroom libraries aren’t allowed in our building.
    • Remove any bean bags, pillows, moon chairs, etc. (any cloth chairs that you can’t wipe down)!!
    • Flexible seating chairs (without cloth)can still work! Have students pick their chair for that week. If you want them to switch you MUST sanitize it after each use before switching.


·        Teach students about the new protocols.

·         We used social stories from TPT that discussed returning to school during covid-19.

·         Allow students to ask ANY QUESTIONS they have about this topic.

·         Create a poster with visuals to help students remember the new protocols.

Work Space

    • They can work at their desk.
    • They can work under their desk.
    • They can move their desk out of their “work bubble” and sit in their work space.

One-on-One Work
    • If you have to work with a student at their desk and model using manipulatives or touch their papers- use hand sanitizer before and after working with that student (prior to moving on to others) (Teacher is wearing a mask  at all times).

Hand sanitizer/Tissue/ Trash Can Placement

    • Keep hand sanitizer/tissues in all corners of the classroom for quick access and to reduce foot traffic.
    • Place trash cans around the classroom for quick access and to reduce foot traffic.
    • Teacher walks around the classroom with trash can to collect trash after snack, cutting projects, etc. to reduce foot traffic around the classroom.  
    • Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer on you at all times. 

 Bathroom Procedures 

    • Have students use hand sanitizer prior to using the restroom (if you don’t have an automated light switch keep it on all day).
    • Teach students to use their foot to flush toilet (if not automated).
    • If they are using the hall bathroom have them use hand sanitizer when they come back in (who knows if they truly washed their hands correctly) (or have them wash their hands again at the back sink). 
    • Teach students to hum “happy birthday” while washing their hands. 
    • Model the correct way to wash hands (you’d be surprised how many don’t know how to correctly wash their hands.)
    • Teach students to use their elbow to turn off the water as well as getting paper towels (if it isn’t automated). 

Student Movement

    • Teach students to raise their hand to leave their seat to use the restroom, get a tissue, sharpened pencil, or etc.

Pencil Sharpener

    • Teach kids to use the electric pencil sharpener without touching it so that you don’t have to sanitize after each use.
    • Or every morning sharpen individual pencils for each student. Use hand sanitizer between each pencil.

Brain Breaks

    •  Mind Yeti, GoNoodle, Whole Brain movement activities etc. All of those things to get students moving can still be done.  Push in your chair and stand directly behind it. 
Whole Group Instruction 

·         You do not have to stay at the front of the room.

·         Move around the room (have the students rotate around their desk to face instruction) (have them move the chairs not just their heads)

            Teach at the back of the room 

            Sides of the room

            Front of the room

** Use whole brain movement to teach concepts. This will help students stay engaged in the lesson.

 Small Group Instruction 

    • MARK safe spots on the floor (see picture).  Students bring their own chairs to the marked spots.
    • Students can bring their own clipboards as lap desk.
    • Make sure the spots are arranged accordingly so that they aren’t near other students who are working independently.  
    • Store materials in individual Ziploc bags for each student (i.e- guided reading books, paper copies from a-z).
    • Print the books and students keep them (since there is a three-day waiting period between students with books that may be used for guided reading)
    • Students keep their books in the Ziploc bags. They store the bags in their desk. 

 Stations: can be done… several ways to do this (CHOICE BOARDS ARE GREAT)     

    • Each station has materials put into a Ziploc bag for each student- at station time, a student is handed a bag that includes ALL materials for their station.
    • OR for morning setup have students pick their station, materials are given to each student and placed in their individual basket until it is station time.

Partner Work/Games

  • Student in front row can turn their chair around (but the chair stays at their own desk) and talk to student behind or beside them- 
  • Telephone cans: bringing it back, old school style. They can use these to partner read. Each student gets his or her own can. THEY DON’T SHARE CANS! (see pictures)
  • Store the cans on a table, grab the cans with a Clorox wipe and wipe it down!
  • Partner Game: Each student has their own game materials/game boards/game pieces but still is able to communicate with their partner.

Scoot Activities

    • attach game cards to the walls and strategically place students/cards the proper footage apart.  Students use clipboards to press on in lieu of student desks as they scoot around the room. (Too many kids- ½ of them complete the scoot while other complete seat work and switch).
    • Teach them not to touch the scoot cards.


    • Students can still come to the board (one at a time)- they will always bring their own dry erase marker to use. 
    • If you are doing whole group sort have the student use hand sanitizer after their turn.


Recess      ** all at a safe distance *

    • Students can play with chalk to draw on the blacktop.
    • Walk around the track (if you have one).
    • Play Simon says, red light/green light, etc.
    • Races
    • Bubble wands (they can wand the bubbles not blow them because of germs)

Guest Readers

    • Utilize Zoom to have guest readers in your classroom.
    • Students can interact with the reader. They can come up one at a time to the camera and answer questions.


    • Don’t worry about students socializing - they will talk across the room if they have to (teach them appropriate times to do this).
    • Student wash their hands with soap several times throughout the day.
      •   before snack, before lunch, after lunch, after recess, before they go home (or when you decide).
    • Students are resilient. They can easily adapt to change. 
    • Students will feed off the teacher's energy. 
💓 Thank you for taking your time to read through our blog. These are just recommendations that we found to be successful during our F2F learning experience. We know this won't work in every classroom or school. It is a lot of work and we know educators won't agree on things but let's remember to be kind and support one another. Please keep negative comments to yourself.  We wish you the best of luck during the 2020-2021 school year. 

Please follow me on Twitter as I continue to document my experiences:

Social Distant Classroom Takeaways

Created by:   FRES Summer School Staff Members                                                             (** Here are suggestions we gath...