WALDOBORO — Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in March, kindergarteners in Kara Paul’s class at Miller School in Waldoboro would sit together, usually in groups of three to five, at tables. A bin of shared supplies such as pencils, scissors and glue sticks dotted the middle of each table.
Center time, when students rotate through each table to complete different reading and math activities, was a major aspect of Paul’s daily instruction before the pandemic shifted instruction to a virtual method.
With in-person instruction returning in a few weeks, Paul is now tasked with altering the layout of her classroom to adhere to social distancing guidelines amid the pandemic, and has created a fundraiser to purchase some supplies to make the new layout a possibility.
“Last week, I went into school to set up my classroom in a way that will allow my students and me to keep a safe distance from each other,” Paul said. “Instead of sitting in groups at tables, each student will now have his or her own desk. Due to the new guidelines, having students rotate through centers in groups is not going to work at this time.”
Movement throughout the day for five year olds is important, according to Paul, to help keep the youngsters focused and motivated.
“Sitting in the same chair all day for a kindergartener is not developmentally appropriate,” she said. “Young students benefit from being able to learn in different areas of the classroom. Lap desks and clipboards will give my kindergarteners the opportunity to work in different parts of our classroom in a safe, socially distanced manner.”
As such, Paul worked this summer to devise a way to modify her instructional model to adhere to newly established health guidelines.
“After some brainstorming, I decided that getting a lap tray and clip board for each student would allow students to still have ‘independent’ centers,” she said. “Although they will not be moving from table to table for centers, they will still be able to have one center at their desk, one center at their lap tray, and one center with their clipboard. The lap trays and clipboards will also be easy for them to bring outside, where we will be spending more time doing lessons this year.”
Despite some slight challenges created by the pandemic, Paul is confident learning this school year can be approached creatively and is predicting a successful school year.
With 18 students in her class, Paul is seeking 18 blue lap trays and 18 clipboards with an open foldable storage area.
The fundraiser is being held through DonorsChoose and has a total project cost of $441.78. Donations to the campaign can be made by clicking here.