Helping Schools Re-Open More Widely with Physical & Social Distancing

As schools look towards re-opening more widely, we have been investigating ways to help teachers and children with physical and social distancing. Our background in primary teaching means we can empathise with the difficult decisions school leaders are having to make and the worries teachers – as well as children and their families – are having to overcome.

The latest guidance from DfE states:

  • Schools have the flexibility to decide how…physical activity will be provided whilst following the measures in their system of controls. 
  • Schools are able to work with external…organisations for curricular and extracurricular activities…
  • Activities such as…making lessons active help enable pupils to be physically active…
  • Outdoor sports should be prioritised where possible…

Bubbles and Pods

Naturally, we would expand on the use of the word ‘sport’ and replace it with ‘learning’. Why? Research demonstrates that taking the learning beyond the classroom works as well as plays – physically, emotionally and academically. Want to know more? Read on…

We looked through our existing platform of Physically Active Learning (PAL) games and asked ourselves:

  • “Which games and approaches will still work?”
  • “How can we adapt them so they follow guidance from DfE, afPE and others?”
  • “Can we ensure all our games are strictly non-contact?”
  • “Can we create new games using the tags?”

We KISS – Keep It Simple & Safe. Tagtiv8 approaches work and play with all children – in EYFS, KS1 and KS2 – encouraging them to ‘move & learn’ in Maths, English and other subjects. The eco-friendly resources include user-friendly planning for bubble teaching and opportunities to learn outside. The materials themselves are easy to wipe down and disinfect. Or as one creative teacher suggested, simply add a diluted sterilising solution to one of the eco-friendly containers – genius!

We also provide editable guidance and recommendations from afPE so that your school can deliver the activities safely. All Tagtiv8 games allow for physical and social distancing.

Movement in Mathematics

Our first reference point was a game from years ago called, ‘Tags in Trees’. Following conversations with the wonderful Cross Curricular Orienteering, we set about creating a series of Tree Tag activities. Rather than having the Velcro belts worn around the waists, let’s wrap them around tree trunks – or other items of playground furniture. Simply choose your focus in Maths, select your tags and away you go! 

  • 1 tag: How many Tens and Ones? Can you double/halve the number?
  • 2 tags: Can you add them together? What’s the difference? What’s the product?
  • 3 tags: Which number is the odd one out? Why?
  • 4 tags: Can you order them – smallest to largest?
  • 5 tags: What do they all have in common?

Children travel from one tree to another, solving the Thinking Challenges as they move. Talking of moving, we have created a whole section of ‘Grid Games’ guaranteed to develop fluency, problem solving and reasoning in Mathematics.

The planning and support means that teachers and children are soon up and running. Many schools have their bite-sized games emailed on a weekly basis. Just check out this tweet from Phil Robertson, Head Teacher at Kirkstall Valley PS in Leeds…

Or these tweets from the wonderful South Parade PS in Ossett…

Movement in English & Other Subjects

Many schools are using the Tagtiv8 letter tags in similar ways. The opportunities are endless:

  • CVC words
  • Spelling patterns and blends
  • Word families
  • Prefixes and suffixes
  • Homonyms, homophones, synonyms and antonym

Pioneering schools are also using the letter tags for other subjects too:

  • Science
  • History
  • Geography
  • French, Spanish, German – even Finnish and Swedish!

Looking Ahead

As Andy Gaunt, Head Teacher at Greengates Delta Primary Academy says in this video, “It’s just got so many uses, you don’t even realise until you get out the tags how many learning opportunities there are.”

According to Alun Davies, Head Teacher at Melton Primary School in Norfolk:

“Tagtiv8 makes it easy for teachers to introduce active learning into core subjects and the children love it!”

If your school is interested in finding out more about how we can help you with physical and social distancing, just give us a shout. Our approaches ensure that your children enjoy coming to school. We are here to help you – when it is safe to do so – with resources, planning and online support.

Then when things calm down, you can use your Tagtiv8 resources for more active and competitive approaches like these.

Thank you to Juliet Robertson from Creative Star for support and advice. Her books, ‘Dirty Teaching’ and ‘Messy Maths’ are exceptional – they will definitely inspire you to take your learning outdoors.

Looking at the Bigger Picture

It’s not just about Tree Tag and Grid Games – let’s mix and match our offerings! Here are just a few ideas to get you moving and learning:

As schools adjust to a wider return, we need to remember that there are still many children who continue to learn at home. Schools and education organisations are working tirelessly behind the scenes. We would like to give a massive BIG UP to various teams at BBC Bitesize, who have created and curated wonderful content for all ages across all subjects.

And to quote a certain ‘secret’ Head Teacher:

“Don’t forget the point of education won’t change in September. Engage them, help them love it and watch them go. You don’t need to change what you do day to day.”

Thank you!