As we settle into the age of “social distancing” and #stayhomeminnesota, young families are surely still working out the details of what this looks like at home. As your school, RCLS is your grateful partner in education, and we’ve already initiated a Remote Learning plan that aims to stay on-track with the curriculum for as long as the school is closed. Teachers are also sharing resources with you for reinforcement of academic skills. Check your child’s Classroom Page for direct links to online tools that teachers use in the classroom. For example, on the Kindergarten Class Page, you’ll find access to ABCya, Turtle Diary, Scratch Garden, and Go Noodle, all with which kindergarten students are familiar.
For as long as this “new” normal lasts, we hope you’re able to establish a routine of learning at home. Even then, we know that without the normal rhythm of school and extracurricular activities, your children are likely to have more downtime than usual, so what you’ll find here is a list a teacher-recommended activities––digital and otherwise––that can help your child and family flourish during this uncertain time. It is, by no means, an exhaustive list, but these are resources and ideas that teachers have generated or discovered in the short amount of time since that long-ago day when Minnesota schools closed (as it just a week ago?). We hope you’ll find some options to build into your daily and weekly routines so your Bobcat can flourish in this unexpected downtime. Take a few moments over Spring Break to peruse this list for activities your child might enjoy in his/her rhythm of Remote Learning.
If you are a parent of a 3-10 year old and you’re not yet familiar with Go Fish (the music group, not the game) please do your children a favor and access the Go Fish podcast. Each podcast is a 10-minute devotional packed full of faith-encouraging words and music. Then, you’ll surely want to download some of their encouraging music. (My own children would tell you Go Fish is the soundtrack of their childhood. They can still sing every word!)
How about a Bible App for Kids? In the Bible App for Kids, “interactive adventures and beautiful animations” allow kids to explore the “big stories of the Bible. The Bible App for Kids promises “the beginning of a lifelong love of God’s Word.”
Loving2Read offers “an endless library of children’s books.” You’ll find dozens of books here for the PK-3 crowd.
The Rochester Public Library is closed, but there are a number of resources still available for use. We can’t say enough good about all that our local library offers. Try these:
-Popular Resources such as Libby (borrow ebooks and audiobooks), Creative Bug (arts & crafts videos) and more. You’ll also find links to popular databases (Academic Search Premier and more) and a plethora of options for educational learning.
-FB Live Storytime, 10am every day M-F
-Story time, Flannel Boards, and More: RPL YouTube
Most of your children will have plenty of math schoolwork to keep them busy, and teachers have already directed you to Xtra Math and other online resources that they use for enrichment in the classroom. We do want to remind you that math “happens” a lot in everyday life, too. Try block play with little ones, cooking with middle-grade students, and building something––measure twice, cut once!––with middle-school students.
Don’t forget about Legos for all ages. Here’s a great Lego Challenge line-up to keep your children engaged.
How about some card games that will “turn your students into math aces”? Bonus points for this online site that offers offline math learning and family fun at the same time.
The Cincinnati Zoo Home Safari has attracted attention for the quality of its virtual experiences. Their home safaris are broadcast on FB Live @ 3pm ET or on YouTube (safaris posted shortly after they air live on Facebook).
Oceans Initiative is offering Virtual Marine Biology lessons on Facebook and Instagram every Monday and Thursday at 11amPST. Check out their website for additional activities and information.
Our very own southeast Minnesota’s National Eagle Center offers lesson plans arranged by grade levels and aligned with MN State Learning Standards. Plans include Background information, Book recommendations, photos, activity instructions
We’re thrilled that Ranger Rick is currently offering free digital access to their archive of magazines. Check out this standard science enrichment resource for parent reading guides, outdoor activities, and more.
You might expect to be in for a treat when you can Skype A Scientist. Sign up to be on their email list to be notified of opportunities to learn directly from scientists online.
Among the greatest of American treasures, the U.S. National Parks boast the grandeur of the natural world (and the God who created it). In these days of limited travel, you can still virtually introduce your kids to the National Parks.
If there are any space enthusiasts in your home, you’ll love that NASA has opened its library of images to the public. There are some awe-inspiring photos here; check it out while you can.
Art & Music
The children’s book illustrator Mo Willems offers a child-friendly drawing and doodling lesson. According to his website, “Learners worldwide can draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually once a day for the next few weeks. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together. If you post your art to social media, be sure to hashtag it with #MoLunchDoodles!” New episodes are posted each weekday at 1:00 ET.
Draw an animal. This creative video was posted on Facebook just a week ago and already has 11 million views. The video offers visual instructions for “drawing” animals by first tracing the hand or fist. Even your young artists will enjoy this.
We really hope someone will try this: a “stained art” window for Easter. A little painter’s tape, a little paint…how incredible is this! (If you do this, post a picture and tag @rclsbobcats on IG or @rochestercentrallutheranschool on FB.)
Google Arts & Culture is a database, of sorts, of some of the world’s classic works of art and art galleries. This is a great opportunity for middle-grade and middle-school students to learn a bit of the world’s classic and modern art pieces and movements.
Oh, please encourage your young children to explore classical music. Start at Classics for Kids, which offers an introduction to all that is wonderful about the world of music.
Scholastic is one of education’s champions and a giant for children’s literature. They’ve assembled resources for children in Preschool-Grade 8, sorted by age and then subject area, and also presented in a day-by-day format. Books, worksheets, video clips, and more make up each daily unit of study.
Schoolhouse Rock set the standard for jingles that teach science, grammar, history, and more. “I’m just a bill, yes only a bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill…”––familiar to any of you? Classic! Check out a few of the videos here, then head over to Amazon to order the full 2-disc set. Your children will be better for it.
Field trip, anyone?
Visit art museums, zoos, historical sites, and more via the links assembled in this Adventures in Familyhood blogpost.
Just in case you virtually visit all the field trips listed in the blogpost above, try this Google Doc for additional destinations. This list is heavy on science-based learning opportunities.
And, wait, there’s more! Here’s yet another promising resource for virtual travel in March, April, and May.
Netflix is surely a go-to source of entertainment in most of our homes, but this blogpost details how to use the platform for education. With tips on how to protect your children while they use Netflix and a list of 150 educational shows, the author of this article on Homeschool Hideout shows you how to leverage the platform to support your child’s enrichment and education.
The Jesus Storybook Bible’s author, Sally Lloyd-Jones, has compiled a list of resources for learning and living at home. This lovely author loves Jesus and little children, so you’ll find faith-building, family-friendly story times, videos, activities, and more for children––and even a resource list for parents. If you aren’t familiar with Sally Lloyd-Jones, you might not know what you’re missing. She’s a wonderful partner for faith building and a most inventive encourager of childhood.
Family Fun Activities & Entertainment: We expect parents are looking for creative ways to enrich (and redeem) at-home time non-digitally, too. (We hope so!) Try this impressive list of more than 75 activities: engineering, art, math, language arts, and music activities are all included on this list.
Games for Kids: Remember the blog article that we published just before Christmas? It was full of teacher-approved gifts and games for kids. Now is a really great time to pull that out again.
Be well, RCLS. Grace. Faith. Learning for Life. At school, at home––for always. We’re with you!