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Is Your "Back to School" on a "Coronacoaster? Part 1: Establish Routines!

We are hearing so much conflicting information about the start of school this year because of COVID19. Here are some of the options I've been hearing about:
  • full time in the classroom
  • full time remote learning
  • the hybrid model: a little of each
  • a variety of the above

With all this uncertainty, how can teachers plan for this Coronacoaster? It's pretty scary to think about all the planning that has to take place, "just in case..." but honestly, there are several things you can start planning that can happen in the classroom, through distance learning, or a combination of both. I'm sure you'll agree these things need to happen no matter where or how you are teaching.

Is Your "Back to School" on a "Coronacoaster? Part 1 Establish Routines! The uncertainty of "Back to School" is making it difficult for teachers to plan. Here are some ideas that will help you establish routines, no matter where your class will be!

Today is Part 1 in a five part series about returning to school during this Coronacoaster!

Is Your "Back to School" on a "Coronacoaster? Part 1 Establish Routines! The uncertainty of "Back to School" is making it difficult for teachers to plan. Here are some ideas that will help you establish routines, no matter where your class will be!

Establish Routines!

Establishing routines make children feel safe. It takes the "guesswork" out of each day when students know what to expect and what is expected from them. It makes children (and adults) feel secure when they know what is going to happen.

I like to start each day with a morning meeting. I typically have a question for discussion that's based on that day. These Morning Meeting Greeting Activities and Calendar Writing Prompts are perfect for displaying whether you're having a morning meeting in the classroom or virtually.


Each month comes with daily pictures/ prompts for display, plus matching text for writing answers. These can be easily sent home electronically or in paper packets. This is a great routine that could be started in the classroom, then followed through at home, if needed. The opposite could also be true: start by sending these home, then continue the routine in the classroom when it's safe to return! (These monthly sets are updated each year.)

Math facts are an important part of the math routine, as research tells us these should be practiced a little bit each day. I swear by this system, which gives the students a small amount of fact families at a time to master. It's very easy to differentiate, as they can move to the next level as soon as they show mastery. Plus, there's a digital component for practice and/ or assessment! Math Fact Fluency Systems for Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division Fact Fluency.

For years, I have started the beginning of the school year by teaching these Six Strategies for Success. We recited them (along with gestures) every morning during Morning Meeting. Six Strategies for Success in School: Activities, Booklets, and Posters

Another routine to start is regular communication with parents. Here's something that will make your life easier! (The Back to School edition is free, if you want to check that one out!) Parent Communication Monthly Brochures

I If you have some time in the classroom at the beginning of the school year with yoru students, starting Writer's Workshop would be a top priority! This resource will help you get going. Writer's Workshop Starter Kit. Once the students learn the routine, they can practice at home. For more about Writer's workshop, see this blog post: Writer's Workshop.

Here are a couple more resources to help you get started on some important beginning-of-the-year routines:

These are perfect for learning and spelling sight words: Research Based Sight Word and Spelling Activity Cards.

Research tells us that sight words are best practiced in phrases. I've used these Warm-up Phrases as a warm up to my reading groups for years! It's great for building fluency! The first in the series is free: Dolch Warm-up Phrases: Pre-primer Level.

I imagine you're thinking of more routines that will be important, whether or not you're in the classroom. I hope you'll share some of these in the comments below.

Be sure to read the next four parts of this Coronacoaster Back to School series:


https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xdIkHlyfwMc/XxcgaYqkxyI/AAAAAAAAhKQ/qZAzYl0qQ7AVEZeM2GVycuJEi2uBIOvuwCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Preview%2BTemplate%2B7A.jpg   https://www.elementarymatters.com/2020/07/is-your-back-to-school-on-coronacoaster_24.html 
 https://www.elementarymatters.com/2020/07/is-your-back-to-school-on-coronacoaster.html  https://www.elementarymatters.com/2020/07/is-your-back-to-school-on-coronacoaster_42.html

Is Your "Back to School" on a Coronacoaster? Part 1 Establish Routines! The uncertainty of "Back to School" is making it difficult for teachers to plan. Here are some ideas that will help you establish routines, no matter where your class will be!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Sally! I love your question-of-the-day idea, and it's so great that you inserted yourself into the slides! What an amazing idea.
    Our summer goals are quite similar. I've been making digital materials for my class, too. Your spiral review looks great, and your training sounds really good. Our district has been doing writing workshop for a few years, but we wrote our own curriculum. We've been doing reading workshop for a couple years (and we wrote our own curriculum). I'm reading The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo, and it really is as good as everyone says. I bet you're enjoying your pool in this heat.
    Laughter and Consistency


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