Whether you want to admit it or not, cold and flu season is quickly approaching. Once the first sniffles hit your classroom door, odds are that they will spread like wildfire to the other students in your class. While it is almost impossible to prevent getting sick at least once during the school year, there are some ideas that you can use to cut down on the frequency and severity of it. With any luck, the sniffle season will be here and gone before you know it!
Keeping Your Class Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
Craft Glitter Helps Spreads the Word About Good Hygiene
This idea comes from Kelli, an Elementary Teacher in Glassboro, New Jersey. She uses a creative lesson to demonstrate how germs are spread. It is a great way to introduce the concept of healthy hygiene early in the school year. “As we approach cold and flu season, I take time to tell my students about germs – then I show them what I mean,” she says. “After reading a cute book about germs, I try to emphasize how they spread and why it’s so important to wash our hands. To do this, I pretend to sneeze into my hand, shaking some craft glitter into my hand as I do so. I tell the class that the glitter represents all the little germs that moved from my nose to my hand as a result of the sneeze.”
“I then choose a student to help with the demonstration; I shake this student’s hand with my “germ-covered” hand and we can see for ourselves how some glittery “germs” have traveled from mine to his. Then we have that student shake another student’s hand and some of the “germs” travel to that student’s hand as well.”
“I explain that even though I was the one who had the germs to begin with, I passed my germs to others because I didn’t wash my hands after sneezing,” Kelli explains. “I go on to explain that if I touched a pencil or a doorknob, my germs could also spread to those things, and that anyone who touched them next would be getting my germs, too. The students love this demonstration; it helps them visualize how germs are spread and serves as a reminder to wash hands to stay healthy.”
Cold and Flu Buster Items to Have On Hand
Teaching students about germs is great, but you also have to have items available for them to use to stop the spread of colds and the flu. Keep a plastic supply box available that has a stash of instant hand sanitizer, strong tissues, disinfecting wipes, foaming soap and paper towels. It is important that the box can be wiped down with a disinfecting wipe daily to help prevent the spread of germs.
If you have a sink in your classroom, it will be easy for students to wash their hands after sneezing and coughing. However, if your classroom is without a sink, make sure that you have a few bottles of instant hand sanitizer around the classroom for student use. At the end of each day, wipe down all surfaces with disinfecting wipes to help keep your classroom germ free.
What do you do to teach your students about healthy hygiene during cold and flu season?
Is there a particular lesson that you love to share with them?
Leave a comment and let us know!