Parents and teachers had a difficult year in 2020, but students had a particularly difficult year. They worked hard to adapt to the digital school environment, which required them to change their lifestyles and habits. However, the time to return to school is approaching. Many countries have already started physical classes. So, what can we do to ensure a smooth transition after a year and a positive environment in our classrooms? In this blog post, I'll offer some advice on the topic.
Here are some ideas and activities that teachers can use to help our school get off to a good start.
Let the students set the rules in their own way: We've heard a lot about staying safe and following the guidelines set by the authorities. When the children come back for a fresh start to school, let’s allow them to set the classroom rules in their own ways. We can set the rules together but they can make these rules visible for everyone in their own unique way.We may divide the students into groups, have them collaborate, and have them make posters about how to properly wash hands or wear a mask, or draw pictures about the precautions to take. Alternatively, they can create banners with slogans to hang on the classroom walls.
Games are always good for a start: This pandemic has taught all of us that health is the most important thing in one’s life. In a pandemic situation, we all need to stay away from each other to stay safe, and we call this situation "social distance." When the students return, the most important thing they would miss is socialization. What else do they require? It's time for some fresh air. For a while, the kids had been away from the playground and outdoor activities. They need fresh air and sunshine, as well as physical activity that will help them grow their muscles and socialization.We can handle these with games to play while physical distancing. I would like to mention the Labyrinth-Mate game as an example for you:
1. Use your sidewalk chalk to draw a large rectangle on the ground at least 3-4 metres in width and length.
2. Draw a series of vertical and horizontal lines inside the rectangle to create a grid where each square measures approximately 0.5 metres square.
3. Write “Start” in one square on one side of the grid and “Finish” in another square on the opposite side of the grid.
4. Select two students to be labyrinth-mates of each other. Draw the grid on a piece of paper and trace the hidden route that one of them would take to get from Start to End.
5. The other labyrinth-mate will assist him in escaping the labyrinth by giving the instructions such as "turn right/ go two squares forward/ turn left."
6. Then it's time to take turns, or the second pair will arrive. Each takes a different route. The game continues with the children taking turns until all of the children have completed the path.
Sharing is Caring: We've all been through difficult times, but hopefully we'll all emerge unscathed and return to our schools in good health. In the meantime, we will have missed our friends very much, all the things we had done together before the pandemic. Sharing, on the other hand, is caring in a relationship. Consider creating a "Sharing Wall" in the school halls. It is going to be something like a school bulletin board, except this time we will express our thoughts, the challenging things we have faced, and even our expectations for the coming days. If they don't want to talk about their feelings, they can write them down on a piece of sticky paper and stick it on the Sharing Wall. If they do not like writing, then they can draw a picture about their thoughts or take some photos that reflect their feelings and paste them on the wall.
Involve Parents and let them help you: I assume the parents had the best understanding of the teachers in the process. However, some parents are still unsure if it is safe to send their children to school and whether school administrators and teachers can take the requisite precautions. It's possible that including them in the back to school phase is the best way to deal with this situation.By cooperating with volunteer parents, tasks can be shared and they can be directed to support you in taking the necessary measures. Some parents may be in charge of creating lists of required items for classroom use only, such as, hand sanitizers, wet towels, liquid soaps, and single-use towels; others may provide these materials, and still others may be in charge of ensuring that the materials are circulated regularly.
With the wishes of restarting our schools as soon as possible and the future days bring us a better world.