Changing times often come with different ways of teaching elementary students about safe health practices. For Northern Hills Elementary teacher Rikki Waters, she took up her drawing skills to achieve this.
Waters adapted the popular children’s book “No David” and “David Goes to School,” by author David Shannon, and created “No Covid,” a Northern Hills Elementary Edition.
“I tailored it to our school,” Waters said. “Making it personal helps the students understand it more.”
Each drawing in the book was done by Waters on her iPad. She completed all the drawings and story within two days before the school year began.
“I saw famous books that could be made into parodies and thought the ‘No David’ book would be a really fun one for the kids,” Waters said.
Whether it is what to do when a child has a fever or tips on handwashing, Waters made sure the book was simple to understand.
Waters spent hours researching proper procedures from the Center for Disease Control on COVID-19 and made sure the book covered all of the topics of staying safe.
“This is such a creative way to communicate to our families about the health challenges we are facing this school year,” said Michele Milner, the principal of Northern Hills Elementary.
This is the first time they have created a book parody at the school and Milner hopes this is not the last time.
“That was our first but hopefully it will not be our last,” Milner said. “Our kiddos have been doing great this year.”
In total, the book is eight pages and all digital. By having it digital, Waters said the students did not have to share copies of books and could easily access it on their iPads or Chromebooks, limiting any potential spread of the coronavirus.
Breck Brady, a student of Waters, said he enjoyed reading the book and liked that it was based on a book he had read before.
Throughout Edmond Public Schools, other teachers and administrators have been coming up with creative ways to keep elementary students engaged even while they must remain socially distanced.
“Keeping students in cohorts when playing on playgrounds allows students the ability to exercise while keeping the possibility of spreading COVID-19 down,” said Cara Jernigan, the executive director of elementary education.
Jernigan said one challenge has been teaching young students about “personal space bubbles.”
“Social distancing runs counter to how schools normally operate but our staff has been amazing at helping kids understand the necessity for it and have done so in a fun and creative ways,” said Jernigan. Many schools are using colorful signage like circles on the ground to remind students to keep adequate space between themselves and their classmates. Now students enjoy “finding their circle.” When students walk down the halls, they extend their hands out in front of them. Some even sing catchy jingles while they walk that were written by their teachers.
“This simple technique reminds them not to get too close to their classmates,” said Jernigan.
Simplicity and consistency are key for elementary students in 2020, she said.
“Teachers and administrators have adapted beautifully to these challenging times and are coming up with their own methods and techniques that work for their particular students. Every change in procedure has been about one thing-keeping students and staff safe.”