As this school year kicks off virtually for my class – and for many students and teachers – I wanted my students to have hands-on learning tools right at their fingertips. I needed a way for them to still use manipulatives during math, work on fine motor skills, and build literacy foundations. Cue in … virtual learning bags!
What to Include in a Virtual Learning Bag – Math
Each student received a bag containing items that would assist them during our live lessons and while working on independent assignments. For math, I included dice, red and yellow two-sided discs, mini erasers for counting, unifix cubes, a number line, and a ten frame. I chose apple erasers to go along with one of our themes for September and plan to change these out for different themed erasers each month. The apple erasers go hand in hand with the mini apple eraser activities created by Katie Mense from One Chip Edu. We will use these tools for counting, addition, subtraction, ways to make ten, learning about greater and less than, fact fluency, and much more!
What to Include in a Virtual Learning Bag – Literacy
For literacy, I added a Really Good Stuff Spaceman for writing, an alphabet line, an extra pencil and mini pencil sharpener, and a Really Good Stuff word tracker. We have been using the reading tracker every day to keep our place while reading. The kids LOVE the different-sized corners that they can use to point to the text.
What to Include in a Virtual Learning Bag – Fine Motor Skills
Along with academics I wanted students to have a way to strengthen their fine motor skills. For this skill, I included tweezers and a jumbo push pin. The kids will use the tweezers to pick up and manipulate the mini erasers. The jumbo push pin can be used to work on pinching and gripping their fingers as they push the pin into the paper. I found some engaging push pin activities made by my friend Katie Mense from Little Kinder Warriors that can be found in her TPT store!
Providing students with these materials is a way to bring a touch of the classroom into their homes. They can participate and interact with each new lesson presented to them, in a hands-on way. I just love how these bags turned out, and so far the kids do, too!
By Erin Kassly
Erin Kassly is a first-grade teacher in Illinois. She is also the CEO of Erin’s Ink, a teacher resource and accessory company. She received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Illinois State University. Her education experience includes nine years in first grade, two years in Kindergarten and one year in fifth grade. She creates teacher resources for TPT and designs accessories for teachers including bracelets, earrings and stickers.