If you’ve been up at night trying to figure out the best ways to keep your students safe for in-person learning, you’re not alone. Teachers everywhere are finding clever ways to promote social distancing, mask wearing, and other safety precautions. They’re using all kinds of random materials from zip ties, photo albums, and shoe organizers for storage that complies with CDC guidelines and to make sure students don’t share materials. As always, teachers are putting their creativity and resourcefulness to keep their students safe.
Here are 23 back-to-school hacks that teachers are raving about!
Just so you know, we may get a small share of the sales made through the Amazon affiliate links on this page.
1. Prevent condensation on desks and make sure those water bottles don’t touch anything they shouldn’t!
Don’t want to invest in a shoe organizer? Plastic cups from the Dollar Tree and zip ties will do the trick!
2. Turn your dividers into something more attractive, like Jeeps!
The teacherbehind this awesome classroom used lamination, cardboard boxes, poster board, and card stock to turn her students’ desks into Jeeps! She’s also created a free template for other teachers to make their own. You can download it HERE.
3. Use caddies to separate clean and dirty shared supplies!
Get your caddies at Target or grab a set on Amazon.
4. Create a safe zone space where students can take mask breaks.
On rainy or cold days when we just can’t get outside, the kids will still need mask breaks!
5. Create welcome bulletin boards that also remind students of the new expectations
Check out more bulletin board ideas for your classroom here!
6. Send postcards/letters to students to welcome them to the new school year!
7. We may not be able to pop into our colleagues’ classrooms leisurely anymore, but walkie talkies will do the job to ensure communication is always available!
You this set of 3 walkie talkies on Amazon!
8. When teaching in-person and virtually, create an easy system for families to pick up materials once a week while also dropping off completed work!
9. Put social stories into Dollar Tree photo albums for students who need a better understanding of new safety precautions.
Find those at your local Dollar Tree or grab a set of 5 on Amazon for under $10.
10. Create your own sanitation station out of inexpensive PVC piping.
Even though districts are required to provide sanitary products, we could always use another DIY project!
11. For our virtual teachers, use tap lights to set expectations when teaching remotely!
This teacher used a Cricut to label her tap lights. If the lights are on, it means mics and cameras should be on. If the lights are off, mics and cameras should be off! You can also use tap lights in-school to display voice-level expectations.
12. Hide prizes inside soap to encourage hand washing!
Some teachers have been hiding mini erasers inside their bars of soap. Others, like @Happi Crafts create them with bracelets or other prizes inside! Each student receives and stores their own bar (no sharing!) Hand washing just got super fun!
13. Use zip ties to attach baskets under chairs for extra storage
14. Quarantine books for at least 72 hours in between student use with this bin hack.
You can purchase those labels and up to 30 different designs here!
15. Give students all of their logins on a key ring that can be brought between home and school.
In case of an emergency shut down, it’s important students are able to access all of their online learning tools. Having login information at home is essential!
16. Hang up a sign on your door before beginning to record a lesson or hosting a live meet.
17. Create individual early finisher activity boxes.
Get these fun labels HERE.
18. Bedazzle your face shields because we still deserve to look our best!
19. Use tape to show where desks need to be to ensure at least 6 feet between desks.
Check out these genius washi tape hacks for your classroom!
20. Create a sanitation station to keep all your cleaning supplies in one place.
21. For teachers who are traveling this year from classroom to classroom, use a small cart on wheels to cart around only the essentials
22. Use Dollar Tree containers to separate students’ manipulatives
23. Teacher mask tip: Order these silicone mask brackets ASAP to help you breathe and make your voice more clear under the mask.
Order them hereand also check out these 20 fun teacher masks to add to your school wardrobe!
Just like every other school year, there’s so much to prepare for a new start. Hopefully, these hacks make your life easier going into this uncertain year ahead!