Math and Science Centers in the Socially Distanced Classroom

Hey, y'all. Social distancing has put a damper on this whole teaching littles thing. But you don't have to give up your centers yet. There are some work arounds.

Math Manipulatives:
The first obstacle is student manipulatives. Normally, I'd just put them in tub and students would get what they need. Now that students are going to need their own, it's time to divvy them up. But how to store them? 

I've seen people use three hole pencil bags in a binder for their manipulatives. I priced them and I'm just too cheap to purchase that many pencil bags for my students in addition to the binders. I just don't see them holding up. BUT I did find these awesome storage containers from Amazon. 

There are six in a set. I'd use 3 per student: one for snap cubes, one for base ten blocks, and one for pattern blocks or mini erasers. Students wouldn't have to have them all in their desks at once. I'd store one or two sets to keep things low-clutter. You could even have one per student, you'd just have to change them out mid- year. 

Science Tools:
When my students visit science stations, I usually have supplies set up in the station and students take what they need. Since they can't share supplies this year, plastic baggies are going to be my friend. I prep items for whole class lessons in advance and put student supplies in baggies in advance anyway. (It saves on time spent passing things out.) Now, I'll be doing it for their science centers, too. 

There are a couple of options with this: you could use sandwich bags and toss the each time you use them, you could write their names on the baggies and reuse them as many times as you can (you'd just have to make sure they stay clean), or you could use the boxes above for math manipulatives. You could write student's names on the outside and spray them with Lysol (or have the kids wipe them with wipes) when you collect them to refill them. 

In the past, students would pick up their recording sheet for their centers when they went to each station. But in order to minimize students touching things and spreading viruses, I'll be passing out papers before we start "stations" and students can put them in their notebooks before they get down to work. 

Directions can be done in a few ways. You could do one station at a time whole class so all students get the directions at the same time. You could go over the directions before students begin and leave the direction cards displayed with the document camera. You could make copies of the directions for each student and slide them into the baggie with their supplies or just pass them out. This last way makes it easier for students to work at their own pace and refer back to directions as often as needed. 

Classes this year will look different, but you don't have to give up on all the things that make your classroom fun and engaging. Students may not be able to physically go to different stations, but that doesn't mean the stations can't go to them. It's just going to take a little creative thinking. 

For more information about stations, you can check out my first grade math stations here, second grade math here, and science stations here. I'm always adding new resources, so check back often. 

What else would you add to this list? How else could you modify stations without making a million copies of everything? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found some new ideas for your classroom this year. Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon. 

 Stay sweet,