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How to keep students engaged when learning centers aren’t allowed

No Learning Centers? No problem! 

Limited movement.
Seat work.
Teacher at the front, students in individual desks…
No learning centers?!

It’s almost like a manual of what NOT to do in the 21st century classroom! Thankfully, we have technology, and the innovations of teachers all across the globe, on our side.

There’s no way around it: school is going to look very different this year. Our go-to cooperative and interactive learning activities will likely be eliminated or severely limited with social distancing and health guidelines. Creating a socially distanced primary classroom sounds impossible—but as we all know, we teachers can tackle just about anything! 💪

With some creativity and the right resources, it IS possible to have fun and engaging activities while also complying with social distancing rules to keep students and teachers healthy. 

So how do we engage students in a socially distanced classroom?

TECHNOLOGY—used the right way!

We’ve gone from classic chalkboards to interactive smartboards with tons of digital features over the past few decades, so let’s use this to our advantage! Having this tool front-and-center in the classroom means we can bring our learning centers from the perimeter of the classroom to the forefront without sacrificing student safety.

By utilizing your smartboard and my digital learning resources, you can enhance the classroom learning experience by participating in games to improve student skills.

BONUS: even if your school will be fully or partially remote this year, these resources can still be used in the virtual classroom setting. 🏆

So how can you use technology in a socially distanced classroom?

I love using smartboards for whole class activities like Flash Phonics and Flash Math games. Normally, I would have students complete these in small groups that circulate through the classroom. Not possible this year, but that’s okay!

These games are perfect for distance learning. As students work individually at their desks, a set of 24 questions will autoplay every 20 seconds once started—no need for you to sit and advance the slide manually! By filling out their answers on recording sheets, students can record their answer to the questions shown on the screen. Once complete, they can individually check their answers for accuracy.

No need for breaking out the hand sanitizer with this activity! Students get engagement with the lessons and comply with COVID restrictions. WIN! 

With my Flash Phonics set, you get games that focus on the following phonics skills:

  • Beginning sounds – choose the sound
  • Beginning sounds – write the sound
  • CVC words – fill in the medial sound
  • CVC words – write whole word
  • Beginning digraphs – fill in the missing digraph
  • Beginning digraphs – circle the correct digraph
  • Ending digraphs – fill in the missing digraph
  • Ending digraphs – circle the correct digraph
  • Silent e – fill in the missing vowel

With my Flash Math set, your students can practice all these math skills, from their seats or from home:

  • Counting On
  • Addition 1-10
  • Addition 1-20
  • Subtraction from10
  • Subtraction from20
  • Comparing Numbers 1-20
  • Comparing Numbers 1-100
  • Skip Counting 2,5,10
  • Base-ten blocks (tens & ones)
  • Hundred Chart – ten more/ten less

UPDATE: because I know how much you need variety and flexibility this year! I’ve recently added these games to the Flash Math set:

  • Time (:00 & :30)
  • Time (5-minute intervals)
  • Fractions
  • Place Value: counting base-ten blocks with hundreds, tens, & ones
  • Place Value: Drawing tens & ones
  • Hundred Chart (more/less)
  • Decomposing a number
  • Geometry (shape names)
  • Symmetry
  • Even/Odd

Try my Flash Math digital resource for free!

If you’re still on the fence about how these fun and interactive games might work in your classroom, you can try out the game Addition 1-10 for FREE! I know how hard it can be to envision exactly how these digital resources can work in your primary classroom, so I’d love for you to download, try it, and let me know how it works for you!

Looking for other digital resources for the classroom? Visit my store for tons of ideas for engaging your socially distanced classroom.

Let me know in the comments how you and your students like these games! One thing’s for sure: the 2020-2021 school year will be one for the history books. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re all in this together, and we will come out the other side stronger as teachers!

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