When you return to the classroom this fall, you’ll be faced with all new challenges due to COVID-19. Daily temperature checks, social distancing, mask wearing, quarantines — a lot of new rules! It’s enough to make anyone overwhelmed.
Whether you agree with masks or not, many of us now live-in parts of the country where masks are required in the classroom. When you’re focused on your lessons, it can be difficult to encourage students to keep their masks on all day long — especially the younger kids. Thankfully, there are some fun, creative things you can do to help motivate your students and keep everyone safe and happy.
Kids love to match some of their favorite things. Urge parents of your students to help them create masks at home that match their favorite shirt or favorite stuffed animal. They can do this using a t-shirt or other materials. There are even free, printable patterns online. Having a matching mask can help motivate the kids to keep them on throughout the day.
Masks can be pretty boring. Ask the students what their dream masks would be and what elements they would include. For instance, many children enjoy wearing animal masks or themed masks. Having them dream up some ideas and sending them home can give their family an idea of different styles to look for to motivate them to wear their mask in class.
Create a Story
Your students and superheroes now have something in common: they both wear masks. Help them create stories about heroes in masks. Then talk about how they can be heroes in real life by wearing their masks in the classroom. This will help encourage them to stay masked up in school so that they can live up to their story.
Using a little imagination can go a long way. Just like creating superhero stories with your class, you can talk about the real-life superheroes that wear masks each day. Talk about doctors, firefighters, EMTs, and other heroes in the community. Then have your class pretend that they are one of these heroes and wear their masks throughout the day. It will also help them with their storytelling abilities.
Set a Good Example
Always set a good example for your students. If you expect them to keep their masks on all day, you should keep yours on too. Kids often want to do what grown-ups are doing. As their teacher, it’s good practice to display the behaviors and actions you want them to follow. When you set a good example, they are more likely to follow suit.
Last but not least, if your district allows mask breaks, take advantage of them. If your district allows you to get outdoors, that’s even better. If it’s a sunny day, take a walk outside during class and give everyone, including yourself, a well-deserved mask break.
Did we miss any?
If you have any creative solutions to helping students keep their masks on throughout the day during mask mandates in schools, please share them below! We’d love to hear your ideas.