Staying Connected to Learning

Week 4 - April 13-17, 2020

Keeping students happy, healthy, and learning at home

Each Monday while schools are closed, St. Clair County RESA will share a collection of high quality engaging educational resources organized by content area and grade level band, with clear guidance for parents supporting their children's learning. To subscribe to the newsletter, submit your email address using this form. You can find past editions linked at the end of this newsletter. Contact Rachel Verschaeve with any question you might have at

Reading and Writing

Reading Strategy for Parents and Children: R.E.A.D. - Grades K-5

Snuggle up and bond with your child while developing his/her language and literacy skills. The R.E.A.D. strategy is easy to remember and powerful for young readers. Here's how:

1. Watch the PSA Video about how to use the R.E.A.D. strategy to read aloud with your child. R.E.A.D. stands for R-Repeat the Book, E-Engage and Enjoy, A-Ask Questions, and D-Do More.

2. Watch the R.E.A.D. strategy read-alouds and practice along with them.

3. For extra practice, show “The Little Engine That Could” read by Dolly Parton (if needed). You can subscribe to “Goodnight Dolly” for more read-alouds.

4. Select a book to read-aloud together to practice the R.E.A.D. strategy. Be sure to stop and

5. Use the R.E.A.D. bookmark.

6. Help your child practice each step of the read strategy.

7. Help your child to fill out the K-3 Journal or 4-5 Journal pages. (Feel free to download and print or just make your own journal at home and use the linked journal to help guide you).

8. Be sure to remind your child to use their writing non-negotiables (Capitals and periods).

9. Repeat the next day with another read-aloud.

10. Continue practicing the R.E.A.D. strategy with your child using all types of text (books, movies, Twitter postings, news reports, etc.)

For more read-aloud fun, check out this collection of famous people reading various texts aloud or the Big List of Children’s Books: Read-Alouds.

For more literacy activities to do every day of the year, check out our Student Success Calendar.

Volume and Fluency in Reading and Vocabulary - Grades 6-12

Curl up with a classic book, poem, or short story available for free from Lit2Go, while improving reading fluency and vocabulary. This website has hundreds of books and poems and short stories available in an audiobook format or a pdf. Parents and students can search this site by author, specific book title, genre, or readability, then make their own selection and listen to the audio version while following along with the printed version.

Writing Notebooks/Journals: Generating Ideas- Grades 6-12

The best way to learn how to write is by writing. To motivate your child to write, provide plenty of opportunities to write about topics that are meaningful to him or her. Once way to generate meaningful writing prompts is through the exploration of Writing Territories.

Writing Territories are areas in your life that you want to write about. It can include people, places, events, passions, hobbies, worries, dreams, milestones, and other subjects that are close to your heart. They can be a list in your notebook or they can take on a more visual display. Have students generate ideas to write about by creating at least one “writing territory map.” Here is one strategy to help kids explore ideas of interest using their own hands:

1. Tell your child to draw or trace around his/her hand and in that hand, write/draw things he/she has held or touched that mattered to him/her. See if he/she can land on some rich memories that can spring specific concrete details

2. Have your child select a topic to write about in greater detail in his/her notebook/journal

Writing Notebooks/Journals: Writing Fluency and Character Study - Grades 6-12

While your child is experiencing current events through his/her own lens, while staying at home, there are people still going to work everyday to be sure the rest of us have healthcare, are fed, receive communication, and have household necessities like water and electricity. Help your child step into someone else's shoes and tap into his/her own imagination by writing a scene from the point of view of a particular "character" during this time of social distancing. Not only does stepping into someone else's shoes help develop a character for writing, it also enhances students' empathy skills. Here is how to get started:

1. Have your child think, and step inside the thoughts and lives of a particular person during this time of staying at home. Some suggestions are: a nurse, doctor, grocery store worker, mailperson, parent, etc.

2. Then, have your child write about a day in that person’s life from their perspective. Have them imagine and create what it would be like to be living their life and write from that point of view.


Data and Measurement: What's Going On Outside Your Window? - Grades K-8

Look no further than outside your own window to collect data and truly see what is there, possibly for the first time. Here's how to engage kids of all ages in gathering data and visually representing their findings:

1. Have kids think about some of the things you might see outside your window - people walking by, cars driving by, birds flying by, trees blowing in the wind - whatever you might see

2. Choose a time of day (and a number of days) to keep an eye out the window - it could be for 5 minutes, an hour, a full day, or another length of time

3. Record your observations in a notebook

4. Make the data visual - choose a graph that will best communicate findings

5. For extra fun, share your findings by using #YoucubedAtHome on social media

Basic Facts: Math Cards - Grades 3-8

Kids can practice their number sense and multiplication skills by playing a card matching game. This activity encourages students to make connections between different representations of numbers and gain flexibility with multiplication. Here's how:

1. View the video explaining and demonstrating the activity

2. Read the activity directions

3. Download and print the cards

4. Begin matching!


Observation: The Magnification Observation - Grades PreK-3

Kids learn how to make careful observations using a magnification lens, and then draw what they see. Here's how:

1. View the video instructions

2. Find a magnifying glass, or other magnifying lens; here is a video showing one way to create a magnifying glass using objects from around the house or this DIY project using common household items

3. Gather drawing materials: paper, markers, pencils, other

4. Pick up the lens and begin magnifying! Look through the glass at your hand. What do you notice? Observe the details, then draw your hand

5. Observe those you live with - look at their eyes and ears - what do you notice? Draw what you saw

6. Explore the world around you through the lens. What do you see? Draw your observations.

7. Head outside and find some bugs or other small items. Draw what you observe.

Austin's Butterfly

In addition, parents and kids can watch this video together to learn how to give feedback and reflect on scientific drawings. The video takes you through one child's experience of the different drafts of a butterfly drawing.

Earth Day: Clean Water Challenge & No New Water- Grades K-5

Use the activities below to explore why water is important to keep clean and conserve:

1. WaterSense for Kids - learn about the importance of conserving water

2. Clean Water Challenge - utilize common household objects to "clean" dirty water from a local pond, muddle puddle, or other dirty water source

3. There's No New Water - learn how much water is on the planet and where it is found

Experiments & Collecting Data: Science Journal by Google - Grades 6-12

If your family has a smart phone, chances are, you have a collection of high-tech science tools available in the palm of your hand. The Science Journal by Google app allows you to collect science data using the sensors in your cell phone. Here's how:

1. Download the Science Journal by Google app from the Apple Store or Google Play

2. Once inside the app select “Find Activities to Try”

3. Browse activities by level, equipment available, time available, location (indoors vs. outdoors)

4. Select any activity and follow the instructions

5. Have fun!


Engineering: Build a Robotic Hand - Grades 4-8

Does your child have an interest in solving problems and helping other people? This activity will engage future engineers in creating a robotic hand that can pick up small objects, much like a prosthetic hand. Following an engineering design process, students will modify, test, and improve upon the design, to build a better hand and explore the many challenges of creating one that is perfect for people in need. To get started, head to the activity Summary page, then continue to click through the Materials, Instructions, and Explore More tabs. This activity requires various household items.

Other activities to try:

Robot, Make Me a Sandwich! - a funny activity to understand how complicated it is to make robots do simple actions

Mars Rover Obstacle Course - a glimpse into what it is like to help a robot navigate unfamiliar terrain

Robotics & Coding: Amazon Future Engineer - Grades 5-12

Get your future engineer ready for the world of robotics and coding with free courses from Amazon Future Engineer. Although courses are free, sign-up is required, and your child will need a Chromebook or laptop, as recommended. Choose from the four available courses:

  • Elementary Grades - Coderz Adventures

  • Middle School - Cyber Robotics 101

  • Middle School - Cyber Robotics 102

  • High School - Python Gym

Career and College Corner

College Exploration: Explore Michigan's Colleges and Universities - Grades 6-12

Do you and your kids know how many colleges and universities are located in Michigan? The whole family can engage in this challenge to test your awareness of the colleges and universities in our home state. Here's how:

  1. Challenge 1-10 friends or families (in-person, phone call, FaceTime, etc.)
  2. Gather materials for each participant: pen or pencil; piece of paper; MLive article
  3. Follow the instructions on the Michigan College & University Challenge Guide

Mindfulness & Self-Care

Understanding and Managing Anxiety in Healthy Ways - Grades K-12

Anxiety is something that many of us experience from time to time, and with good reason. Its purpose is to function as a protective alarm system to alert us to danger and to help us stay safe. Sometimes, however, our alert system can go into “overdrive” which can make it difficult to get things done, and can impact our relationships. The current situation facing our country and community has, understandably, led to an increase in anxiety in both parents and children alike. The linked videos below can be used to explain anxiety to your child or teen in an age-appropriate way. In addition, a list of coping skills is linked with suggestions to address anxiety specifically related to COVID-19. Finally, as parents and caretakers, this can be a particularly trying time. St. Clair County Community Mental Health has developed a support line dedicated to helping individuals cope with the emotional challenges related to COVID-19. Phone, text and e-mail options are available. This is a challenging time for everyone, so please don’t hesitate to reach out for support.. We’re all in this together.

Grades K-5

Explaining Anxiety to Children (video)

Resources and Coping Skills for Calming Anxiety in Children

Grades 6-12

Explaining Anxiety to Teens and Adolescents (video)

Grades K-12

Coping Skills specific to COVID 19

For Parents

St. Clair County Community Mental Health Covid Support Line

Past Editions of Staying Connected to Learning

Staying Connected to Learning Weeks 1-3

Week 1 - March 23-27, 2020

Week 2 - March 30-April 3, 2020

Week 3 - April 6-10, 2020