How in the world am I supposed to run centers while social distancing in kindergarten? Is that a thought that you’ve had this summer? COVID-19 has left us with a lot of known for next year, and one of the questions I keep seeing is, “How can I have centers with no shared supplies in kindergarten?”
I will be the first to say I don’t have all the answers. This is a new situation for all of us. However, this blog post will to show you a few ideas I have been running through my head for the upcoming year.
Book Boxes With Independent Student Supplies
The first choice that you have is to put your students’ centers in their book boxes.
Before I show you what that would look like, I want to show you what else we keep in our book boxes:
Math Tool Kits
We will be keeping our math tool kits in our book boxes. Students will be able to pull these out for our math lessons and use them during math centers as well.
The math tool kits will have manipulatives like cubes, counters, and spinners that students can use with the binder centers shown below, too.
You can read more about our math tool kits here.
Individual Student Supplies
I think one thing most people have agreed on is that we will need individual student supplies next year. Unfortunately, community supplies most likely won’t be a reality for a while.
Since our math tool kits are in pencil boxes, I prefer to have our student supplies in pencil cases. This will be easy for them to pull out and it fits nicely in their book boxes.
Clipboards and Dry Erase Boards
I want my students to be able to take clip boards outside to learn and use dry erase boards to practice writing, but I don’t want them all thrown back into the same container. Germ city!
This year, I am going to have each student keep a clip board and a dry erase board in their book box. This will be their’s to use all year.
Notebooks and Folders
We will also be keeping a notebook and writing folder in our book boxes.
The writing folder will be used during Writer’s Workshop daily. We use the notebook for a variety of things including RACE writing and our weekly sight word fluency sentences.
Individual Student Letter Boards
I still want my students to be able to practice making and manipulating words, but I don’t have the money to buy each student individual magnetic letter boards.
These individual student letter boards are easy to make and will easily fit into student book boxes. You can attach each letter to the board using velcro dots.
You can grab the letter boards as a freebie here.
Classroom Library Books
If students are unable to use our classroom library, I will still want them to have access to our classroom library books.
I am going to let my students books shop weekly for books to keep in their book boxes. At the end of the week, those books will go in a bin to sit for the next week to let any germs die.
You can grab a free Book Quarantine label here.
Why not just wipe down the books? My thinking is that students will be touching every single page and who knows what else. The easiest way for me to ensure they are germ free is to just let them sit.
Binder Centers while Social Distancing
One of the easiest ways to do centers while social distancing will be to create individual student binder centers.
Grab the FREE binder covers here.
Simply fill the binder with page protectors and then slip print and go centers into each page. I created print and go math and literacy center mats that are perfect for a binder of centers!
Grab the math and literacy center binders here.
You will most likely not want to switch these out often so I suggest filling them with as many hands on centers as possible. I will most likely switch out activities once every few weeks or once a quarter.
Don’t want to buy a class set of binders? Poly folders with brads would work just as well and be a lot less expensive! They just will just fit as many activities.
Poly Envelopes for Individual Student Centers
If you want to keep just a few matching type centers in student book boxes, you can use letter-sized poly envelopes and plastic baggies. Just keep 2-5 in the envelope and switch them out every so often.
The binder and poly envelope could easily be used in unison! They both fit nicely into student book boxes.
Individual Student Center Baskets for Social Distancing
Another choice that you have for independent centers while social distancing is making individual student center baskets. This is a more expensive option, but the pros are that it can store away more easily and you can fit more.
Here are some ideas of what to keep in your independent student center boxes:
You can let students keep centers in their independent center baskets. Each center can be stored in it’s own plastic baggie.
You will just need to teach students how to open and close the baggies.
Math Center Mats
You can keep math mats in the center boxes. I used a brad and paperclip to make a spinner on this math mat, but you can also give student transparent or clip in spinners.
This mat is also from my math and literacy centers binder. You can laminate them instead of putting them in sheet protectors!
This is another math center mat. Another pro of individual student center baskets is that there is more room to keep manipulatives like snap cubes.
Grab the binder of math and literacy centers here!
Literacy Center Mats
These magnetic literacy center mats would also be an easy choice to keep in either your center binders or center baskets.
Students can use the free printable letter boards from above with these mats.
You could also keep activities from morning tubs in your student center boxes. Just add in fine motor supplies like playdough, tweezers, and Dollar Tree clip lock containers to hold smaller items like beads and pom poms.
I hope this blog post is helpful when planning for next year! This isn’t the way any of us want to run centers, but I hope these ideas can make the thought of running centers while social distancing a little more doable.
Writing Center Folders
Still want to have a writing center? You can easily make writing center folders to keep in with student supplies!
I printed the vocabulary cards from my Themed Writing Centers 4 to a page and put them in page protectors:
You can read more about how to create an independent writing center here.