Educators cannot assume students have specific items at home--what if there was the ability to create "to go" boxes of creativity items?
Tell us about your idea
Pre-remote learning, teachers were able to control the materials students used in projects--collecting toilet rolls, getting donated items, having classroom markers and scissors. With the move to at-home learning, teachers cannot assume that these items are available at home. Even asking students to use "low cost" items such as spaghetti is assuming that the family has access to it and that food insecurity is not an issue in that home. How can teachers do hands-on, creative learning with ALL learners, not just those who have ready access to "extra" materials?
What if the teacher could partner with a company or a community-organization to create to-go bags that supposed hands-on learning. Our community has an organization where companies donate unneeded items (which often tend to be odd--like 300 foam cup-holders). Similar to a Donor's Choose model, what if teachers could "order" kits of items for their students to use -- 30 plastic tubes, 90 coffee stirrers, etc.
Important to consider
How might ALL students get their boxes? Would this be able to be tied to something else? Book exchange? Little Free Library? Grocery store? Brought to home? Pick up at school? How might we ensure that we are not adding a learning/access gap?
Some organizational possibilities:
A spreadsheet where donations were organized: teachers could pick up to a certain number of items to be added to a box (or other container) for their students. Thirty students, thirty boxes.
Containers could be arranged with items for a grade level span: these types of items are for kinder- grade 1, grades 2-5, etc. The teacher would request one type of box.
Containers would have a certain number of items but the actual items would not be determined ahead time. Students could either get different boxes (from each other) or everyone could get the same random assortment.
Boxes would be arranged by a theme or even a specific project. Order this box to get materials that can be used to create chain reactions; order this box to get materials to study electricity.
Partner with an organization like Mystery Science but help supply the "at home" items.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.
Our specialists have really struggled with not defaulting to the lowest common denominator with a focus on online materials rather than hands-on-- art on the computer, using digital maps etc.--because they knew that not all students had materials. We've even had students say that they are running out of paper.