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2 Florida Teachers Cleverly Transform Students’ Desks into Fun, Socially-Distanced Jeeps

In-person learning just became more fun for kids, despite the coronavirus restrictions.

Ann Moises

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  • Two first grade teachers from DeLand, Florida decorated their students’ desks into mini jeeps.
  • Their goal was to make the classes fun and comfortable amidst the pandemic, while still adhering to health and safety protocols.
  • The teachers spent a week working on the desks, which were inspired by an Instagram post by a kindergarten teacher from Texas.

Going back to in-person classes amidst this pandemic may have made teachers and students anxious. No one wants to jeopardize their own health, but following the new norms could also be a bit restrictive.

Group activities and play won’t be allowed, especially for very young children. With the guidelines set to safeguard the health of the entire class, this might be upsetting. Moreover, sitting behind a desk with barriers might be intimidating.

Patricia Dovi and Kim Martin decided to make classes fun for their first grade students despite the restrictions. Spending $200, which will later be reimbursef, and using the plexiglass provided by their school, they transformed study desks into fun-looking mini jeeps.

Dovi and Martin, from St. Barnabas Episcopal School in Florida, spent a week working on the desks.

In an interview with CNN, Martin said, “Our school gave us plexiglass tri-folds, which we felt would overwhelm our little ones. So we took the design and turned them into little jeeps.”

The plexiglass serves as a windshield, side windows and sneeze guard. They used colorful construction papers for the tires, headlights, and license plates.
Now, the desks look less intimidating yet safe for the children. The socially-distanced jeeps are also the only place the students can remove their masks.

They are really kind of utilizing the concept of a vehicle for safety rules,” Martin told Fox News. “No one else can be inside your car, keep hands inside the vehicle … It’s a way to make them feel playful rather than imprisoned.”

Many students were excited when they handed them the fake keys to their jeeps. They asked where the ignition was so they can take it for a test drive.

“We had a little meet-the-teacher session and we gave them keys to their car and told them just like in a motor vehicle, you have to stay in your car at all times and wear a mask when you get out in case you come across hazardous conditions. So we’re playing on this vehicle concept to turn social distancing fun and more kid friendly,” she said.

Dovi and Martin, whose classrooms are connected by an adjoining door, said they they got this idea from a kindergarten teacher in Texas.

Jennifer Pierson, the teacher, posted this picture on Instagram. Martin thought it was a remarkable idea to make the plexiglass look less scary for the students.

View this post on Instagram

Jeep Kindergarten @jeep

A post shared by Jennifer Birch Pierson (@jenniferpierson11) on

All of us have some sort of anxiety about going back to school. It’s going to look 100% different than it’s looked in my 20 years of teaching. But our goal is making our kids happy. The playfulness will help them cope,” said Martin.

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