Our mission at Oakwood is to provide a “multisensory educational program in which students with learning differences are guided to achieve their unique academic and social potential in a nurturing community environment.” (Oakwood Mission 2021)
But how do you stay true to this mission while navigating a myriad of COVID restrictions such as social distancing, wearing masks, adding air filtration systems, and other measures? COVID restrictions meant teachers were told that the typical classroom decor – rugs, bean bag chairs, and other cozy items couldn’t be used during this school year because of Covid. Desks had to be distanced, and classrooms stripped down, which created a more sterile environment. Although these measures helped mitigate the spread of Covid, we know that a soft, comfy, and cheery learning environment helps our students feel secure and safe.
The good news is that Oakwood teachers are creative innovators. It was at this point that our Team 7 teachers, Tamara Gordon and Patricia Stock, began to develop a plan to, not only make their middle schoolers more comfortable in the classroom but encourage them to meet the challenges of Covid with a positive attitude.
Thus “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade” was born. According to Tamara and Patricia, “We just started looking at themes and found that one because we thought it was perfect for the Covid year….. it’s how you can reframe something, put a spin on something and make the most of any situation.”
The teachers decorated their classroom in bright yellows, blues, and other hues, all around the theme of lemonade. The teachers also created shared experiences for the entire class and were even able to incorporate a COVID-safe multi-sensory component to some of the activities.
“We decorated the room, and we had experiences we could share because we were in person. We even made lemonade, where they each had their own individual bottle and packets to transform bottled water into lemonade. “Other lemonade-centered activities included making lemon playdough and incorporating Lemonheads in our estimation jar.”
While this was undoubtedly a challenging year for everyone, we are proud of the hard work and creativity shown by our entire staff and teachers to make this year such a resounding success, in spite of COVID19.
Learn more about how we help students with learning differences and how Oakwood faced this unprecedented year in Oakwood Does What it Takes.