Updated: May 2, 2020
COVID19 (aka Coronavirus) seems to be the only thing anyone is talking about in this current climate, but it begs the question: How much of an impact will it have on us teachers, and what do we need to do to prepare?
We are not in the drama creating category over here at Rainbow Sky HQ; however, we do know of many teachers being asked to prepare for two weeks worth of work/lessons should schools close, or if students need to go into quarantine at home. We are regularly asked how can teachers plan, without it being an overwhelming task. So, we thought we would put this blog post together with some ideas, tips, and resources for teachers facing a possible school closure. (Read to the end of this post for an awesome freebie!)
We have divided our suggestions up into four sections: literacy, numeracy, digital options, and special interest projects. We believe there is no need to over-plan or send loads of activities home that require rigorous marking. Make your life easy at both ends of the process and use your professional judgment.
Reading - Set a required amount of reading and ask students to record books read in a reading log or reading journal. If nothing else, encourage your students to read a text of their choice every day. It could be excellent preparation for a ‘book tasting’ or ‘book review’ event once everyone is back in the classroom.
You can also find some activities to use with any book in our print and go Book Week pack which will help jazz up any reading and reflecting the students do.
Writing - keep it simple in the writing department. Ask students to keep a journal or write letters/emails to each other. It could also be fun to ask students to write some persuasive texts about the current health situation of the world. For example, Should all school be closed for a compulsory COVID19 quarantine? or Should all air travel be cancelled for two weeks?
Spelling - you probably already have your spelling organised for the term. Send the lists you have already prepared home, paired with activities that you can use for any spelling list. Allow your students to pick and choose according to their learning styles.
Working on basic number skills and fluency should probably be your focus with numeracy-based activities when preparing work to send home. Here are some of our suggestions:
Send home a number of the day template. This can be easily differentiated since students can all be working on different sized numbers. Another bonus is students can complete the same template every day using a different number of their choice.
Provide fluency worksheets or games that students can use at home. Pick and choose what your students need in regards to building their fluency:
Teacher tip: If sending worksheets home, print at half size to save paper!
In situations like this, it is the ideal time to try some digital resources. Most schools these days have subscriptions to online programs (or you can sign your class up to some of the free ones out there). Take advantage of these sites and apps. Due to the sheer volume out there, it can be overwhelming. Here are a few we recommend:
GoNoodle (great for when kids need to get up and move their bodies)
OR try digital resources designed to support what you are currently teaching. We have an Earth Day resource that is digital if you want to check out what one looks like.
Special Interest Projects
Give students something they can work on and do as much or as little as they wish (some families will be enjoying family time while others will want to keep their kids busy).
Some special interest suggestions include:
Harmony Day/Week activities in prep for the end of March (read about them here)
Research on the COVID19 Virus
Setting up experiments about the spread of germs
For curious students, the website Wonderopolis has thought-provoking questions asked by children around the world. This website could be used as a launching pad to get students thinking and questioning a topic in which they are keen to learn more.
To add more fuel to those curious minds, BTN classroom has age-appropriate episodes about hundreds of topics of interest. This could lead to students creating their own news script or documenting what they discovered.
STEM/STEAM activities are an excellent way for students to apply so many elements of their learning to a challenge. It could involve building a bird feeder, a catapult, a new toy or something durable from recycled materials. The list of ideas is truly endless. Even try leaving it open-ended to allow kids to surprise you with their creations.
Want a freebie?
While putting all this in writing, it has forced us to reflect upon COVID19 and the positive impact it could have on families. It might be an unpopular opinion because losing learning time isn’t great, BUT it will, in turn, provide forced family time for children and parents. If there is any silver lining from this situation, that is it!
We have put together a family time table of activities that you could send home with your students. The aim is they need to earn 100 points by completing social family activities. Grab your copy for free here.
This pandemic will soon pass, but like anything unusual or out of our realm of experience, it is an opportunity for learning and change to take place. We encourage you to embrace the experience, make professional judgments and support your students and families emotionally, so they know they are safe and supported. At the end of the day, that is the most important thing.
In light of current events, we have created two at-home learning resources. They are simply print and go packs. Grade 1-2 teachers find your pack HERE. Teachers in Grade 3-4 classrooms find your pack HERE.
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