As we make the transition from virtual learning back to fully in-classroom instruction, teachers and students are facing a whole new kind of challenge. The many challenges that we experienced throughout the pandemic need to be taken into account as we return to in-person learning. While we gradually return to normality, as teachers we need to adapt and help our students adapt to returning to classes.
We’ve spoken with many educators to learn about the challenges of returning to in-person learning. Below you can find some useful tips to help you make the transition to the classroom fun for you and your students.
1. Safety protocols but make them fun
Maintaining distance from other kids, wearing a mask, and hand washing are still important to keep all of us safe at school. But when it comes to kids, especially kindergarteners and elementary students, it might be hard to establish routines and rules. Using kid-friendly language to explain safety protocols helps young children feel more comfortable following the rules.
Using a stuffed animal or an animation to show them how to properly wear their mask and bring it up during the class. For example, “Is everyone wearing their mask like our teddy bear friend?”. Showing them videos for their age range to help them understand the importance of wearing a mask (We Are Teachers shared this helpful list with 10 videos to help students understand why wearing face masks is important)
2. Consider the fact that students have had a different education since Covid
Your students are going to be different from the students that you were used to teaching in your classroom. Their development path has changed because of Covid-19: some of these kids haven’t been in school for almost 2 years and some others are new to in-person learning.
So some of those projects and curriculum activities that would typically work are probably not going to perform the same way this year. Everything is a bit more challenging now, especially because of activities that can’t be normally done because of social distancing. Many lessons will require significantly more review of concepts that students would typically have learned in the previous school year. But this shouldn’t be bad, we just have to take a moment to acknowledge these changes and rethink our expectations of what our classes should look like.
3. Hands-on learning is always a good idea
In times when virtual experiences took over the entire educational arena for many of us, coming back to in-person learning is an exciting change. The benefits of hands-on learning are countless as kids develop important physical and behavioral skills to use in later life. Hands-on activities aren’t just fun and engaging, they can help students build a sense of community, resilience, and excitement for being back at school.
Of course, social distance is still a factor to keep an eye on when doing hands-on activities, but it shouldn’t stop you from doing it. There are many safe hands-on activities you can try with your class. From outdoor activities to STEM projects, safe activities can be fully experienced and enjoyed by your class with the right guidance.
In the midst of a pandemic, it is important to find new methods that adapt to this new reality. We are continually looking for new ways to make the best of this situation and keep making education fun, transformative, and safe. We love building knowledge together, so we’d love to hear about your tips, strategies, recommendations, or experiences on going back to teaching in-person learning again!