Coming back to school in 2020 will surely look different, in a variety of ways that will change by state, district, and even by school. One thing we’re hearing across the board about school in 2020 is little to no physical contact between teachers and students. That’s sad because us teachers know how much a hug can make a child’s day. For some students, that hug from a teacher may be the only hug that they get that day.
So, without contact, how can teachers make sure that students feel supported, seen, and cared for during the 2020-2021 school year? Even simple things, such as stickers or rewards, may make your students feel more secure in the mixed emotions that the 2020-2021 school year will bring!
Greet students in a touch-free, but fun way!
Going contactless doesn’t mean you have to give up on fun greetings. If you’re used to high-fives, hugs and fist bumps, think of new no-contact ways you can greet students. An individualized greeting for each student can make your students feel more connected to you and start the day off right.
This set of EZ Stick™ labels are the perfect way for you or a greeter student to welcome students to the classroom. The set includes one header, and 16 different choices. You can choose to hang a few or many up. It has plenty of contactless greetings such as a salute, silly face, or dance. Use the no-touch greetings now, and add in contact greetings, like high-fives and fist bumps, if and when it’s safe to do so.
Hang extra signs and posters with positive messages like:
- You are loved!
- We are here for each other!
- You are part of our classroom family!
Hang Extra Signs and Posters with Positive Messages
Your students are going to need more encouragement and positivity than usual during the 2020-2021 school year. Posters and signs are a great way to give that to them. A visual reminder with fun colors and a positive, reassuring message can be just what a student needs to turn their day around and remind them that they are cared for.
We offer one banner that speaks to students, letting them know that you are there for them:
Be flexible with behavior management
Tensions may be high in the fall since a lot will be different, which in turn means that students will feel that tension as well! Behaviors may be tense as well, especially in those schools that require students to stay in the classroom all day.
This is a time where you’ll likely need to get creative and adjust your behavior management plans as you go, especially if your school ends up moving to at-home learning as the year progresses. The plan you start with may not be the plan you use for long.
Be willing to try new things, add or take away parts, and make it fit for your students and their changing needs! Keep in mind that this year might be a good time to focus on positive behaviors only.
Offer tons of rewards / incentives
I know one thing from when I was a teacher, kids love rewards! It was a rare occurrence for me to meet a child who didn’t love awards and incentives. If you find a child who is not reward driven, you don’t have the reward they are seeking. Remember, not all rewards have to be “things.” In your prize box/reward mix, offer coupons for privileges such as a night of no homework, extra computer time, or even writing with a pen. We have several different items that can help you with rewards and incentives!
Offering more rewards and incentives than you normally do may just be one of the keys that help you and your students thrive when you go back to school in fall 2020. Stickers and badges are an easy and affordable way to add more reward options to your classroom.
If you’re in a district that is partaking in at-home learning, you can continue to offer rewards and prizes. Like I said, a reward doesn’t have to be a physical object. You can still have homework passes and coupons during distance learning. You can also do class-wide rewards like pajama and stuffed animal days. Adjust what you’ve already been doing to work with a virtual classroom.
By Angela French
Angela French is the Senior Product Development and Content Manager at Really Good Stuff. She has worked for the company for nearly seven years and has created hundreds of resources for the classroom. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Her classroom experiences include teaching grade levels K–5 and inclusion, special education, literacy intervention, and gifted and talented programs in three different states.