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Friday, March 13, 2020

Helping Kids Learn From Home

As I write this, a small percentage of K-12 school across the US have already made the decision to close schools for several weeks.  In the days to come, I am sure a great many more will also reach such a decision.

Many online learning companies are now offering their services for free to schools that are facing these situations which I think is great but not all of our students will have the same level of access to these things.  I also do not know how much elementary schools will expect from kids and teachers in terms of at home learning.  I do know I want to create a culture of learning and provide opportunities for my students to continue learning while they are away from school even if this time isn't going to "count" toward school days for teachers or students.  I also know that if I am in a situation where I have to stay home with my own children for an extended period of time, we are going to need some school like stuff in our days to keep us all sane and happy.

Here are a few little things that you can do now that will help give your students some offline learning opportunities if you are required to go on an extended break.

Send Home Books

  • Your school library is full of books!  Relax guidelines on limits of books checked out and let them borrow more!
  • Many schools have a free book shelf or area.  Make sure that kids get some time to go through these books today!  You know which kids need these the most, make sure they get the first look! 
  • Look for other books in your school that are no longer being utilized like they once were and add them to the free book shelf!  You know there are some books in that science unit box you haven't taught in 5 years and there are always books that can be culled from the multiple copy area in our school!

Card Games


  • Math Coach's Corner again hits it out of the park with a free easy to print booklet offering dice games.  These can be played with an ordinary pair of dice, which many kids probably already have at home but again you may need to send some from school.  If you have time making origami dice can be a fun way to provide dice for home use. 
  • Here is a post about using dice K-6 to promote additive reasoning.  Might be less printer friendly but offers suggestions for every grade level.  

Math Practice

  • We have structured our math classes to include more hands on learning and less worksheets but there is still plenty of written practice that comes with our math program.  We take a sampling of that written practice and make individualized mini math practice books for kids that we tend to use in class once a week or so or in place of main lesson when a substitute is in charge of the class.  If we get the word that we are going on an unanticipated break, these will go home in backpacks.  Do you have some unused pages from your math curriculum that you could pull out of books or copy to send home? 
  • Bridges practice books: These a free and offered at K-5 levels.  Maybe you have time to print 15 pages for each kid.  Try to find things that are at kids independent level


  • I found this great post which I think is the perfect way to handle something like this if you have time with you class before the break starts.
  • This writing bingo looks like fun and is just a one page printable!
I know you probably won't have time to do all the things but these are the quicker and easier ways I have been thinking about this week.

Good luck to all my fellow teachers as we tread into this uncharted territory.

I just  saw this list of 25 ways to practice math at home

1 comment:

  1. I love the ideas you posted for offline learning opportunities. Unfortunately some students aren't able to get online and work from home so I think it's a great idea for teachers to keep this in mind and provide alternatives. I have seen several posts on Facebook about parents upset about their children missing out on learning due to lack of internet at home. One parent even stated she was advised to sit in the school parking lot with her 3 boys and use the internet to complete assignments. I suppose that would be a good idea as a last case scenario, but if the boys were sent home with the needed materials from their teachers, the internet wouldn't be needed. While the internet provides an abundance of learning material, I find it upsetting that people don't know how to cope without it.