Staying Connected to Learning

Week 2 - March 30-April 3, 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. Contact Rachel Verschaeve with any question you might have at

Reading and Writing

Reading Strategy for Parents and Children: Making Predictions - Grades K-5

Besides being a powerhouse reading strategy, Making Predictions exercises readers' questioning, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. Give those brain muscles a flex by following the steps below:

  1. Watch the PSA Video on how to make predictions when you read.

  2. Select a book to read aloud together to practice making predictions. Be sure to stop and check to see if your prediction was right or wrong and make new predictions as you read throughout the book. You can also practice with the book A Bad Case of Stripes read aloud by Sean Astin.

  3. Discuss possible predictions you make with your child. Utilize the Making Predictions Bookmark for Parents for ways to prompt your child's predictions.

  4. Help your child make predictions.

  5. 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.)

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

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

  8. Continue practicing making predictions with your child using all types of text and media (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.

Writing Fluency: Capturing History as it Happens - Grades 6-12 (no-tech option)

We are currently living through a major event in world history, and the best way to for people in the future to know what really happened, and what it was really like, will be to rely on primary sources, those people who lived through and witnessed history, like us! Encourage students to use their writer’s notebooks to capture the events that are occurring now - in real time. Have them capture their thinking as it is happening, using the following prompts:

  1. What is this time like for you?

  2. What is your day like?

  3. What are your thoughts about your day?

The following poem excerpt was written by an Italian woman, Mariangela Gualtieri:

March the Ninth Twenty Twenty

It is extraordinary what is happening.

And there is gold, I believe, in this strange time.

Perhaps there are gifts.

Nuggets of gold for us. If we help one another.

Writing Fluency: Spring Break from Your Couch - Grades 6-12 (tech-enabled option)

Venture through fjords, volcanoes caverns, canyons, and coral reefs at five national parks to build background knowledge and find inspiration for writing. Have students capture their senses and in their writer's notebooks. Take their adventures a step further by utilizing their findings to write a poem, like the ones shared by the National Park Service.


Practicing Basic Fact Fluency: Get a Jump on It - Grades K-5 (no-tech)

All you need is a sidewalk or other outdoor area that would make a great hopscotch board, sidewalk chalk, and a small rock to get your kids having fun outdoors while practicing their math skills. The Get a Jump on It document has directions and visuals to get your family hopping.

Geometry Measurement Data Algebraic Thinking: Which One Doesn't Belong? - Grades K-12 (low-tech)

Challenge children of all ages with these thought-provoking math puzzles. There are many possible solutions, so kids have to explain their thinking and justify their answers. Here's how:

  1. Visit Which One Doesn't Belong?, where you will find three puzzle types: Shapes, Numbers, and Graphs & Equations

  2. Choose a puzzle type to discuss

  3. Ask your child questions and prompt discussion:

    1. Why do you think that?

    2. What made you choose that one?

    3. Is there another answer you can prove is right?

    4. Explain your thinking to me.

Problem Solving and Math Facts with Ken-Ken Puzzles - Grades 5-12 (low-tech)

Ken-Ken puzzles are similar to Soduko puzzles except that computational skills are also used in solving them. Puzzles are done in a grid, with increasing difficulty as the grids grow larger.

1. Download and print the KenKen Classroom puzzles.

2. Find the instructions on page 8, and answers are on page 9.

3. Have fun playing!


Environmental Education - Grades K-5 (low & no tech options)

Earth Day is April 22nd, but why wait until then to engage your family in taking steps toward a greener life and home? The following activities can engage children in learning about their impact on the environment and what they can do to protect Earth.

Kids vs. Plastic (low-tech option):
  1. Read the 10 tips to reduce your plastic use

  2. Have each family member choose one of the tips to reduce plastic trash

  3. Create a Single-Use Plastic Pollution Pledge family chart

  4. Watch the video on how to make a T-shirt tote bag. (reuse) Make one of your own!

How Big is Your Carbon Footprint? (no-tech option):

  1. Download or view How Big is Your Carbon Footprint? to complete the survey and color a footprint to show the relative impact of your family's impact on the environment
  2. Review the page 4 to see what your family can do to reduce your carbon footprint and to set footprint-reducing goals for your family


S.T.E.M. Activities to Practice Engineering Skills - Grades K-8

Grades K-5

Abdo Zoom is designed for early readers, and loaded with biographies, STEAM topics and animals. Here is one activity to engage your young engineer:

1. Go to Abdo Zoom, then click on STEAM - with each click you will notice the site reads your selection aloud before loading the next page

2. Click on Machine and Inventions

3. Click on Simple Machines and look at where kids will learn how pulleys relate to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, and there is an assistive read-aloud option, and a video to accompany the text

EIE Activities at Home presents a problem to students, then walks them through thee engineering design process. Students can draw solutions or make prototypes with what they can find at home.

  1. View or download Pass the Peppers! for instructions for your entire family, beginning as young as 4 years old, to tackle an engineering challenge together.

Grades K-8

Science Buddies has over 150 Activities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, where students begin by clicking on a topic of interest, then they will find activities are categorized by subject area. Each topic has a summary, a materials list, instructions and a way to explore the topic more. Get started with a recommended activity:

  1. Check out the Build a Hovercraft activity, and click through the series of instructions
  2. Once the hovercraft is built, students will be challenged to test and improve the design
  3. Check out the science videos of interest linked on the site

Career and College Corner

Family and Friends Career Interview - Grades 6-12

One of the best ways to learn about potential future careers is to talk to others about their jobs, and very few young people really know what they own family members do every day. By interviewing family members and friends, kids can start building their vision for a dream career (or ones to totally avoid!), and begin to understand the ins and outs of various career fields. As an added bonus, this activity connects kids to others - all they need is a phone or a visit to the next room over to get started. Here's how:

  1. Students select 1-3 family members, relatives, or family friends to interview. Some ideas for connecting with people outside the home include: phone calls, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts.

  2. Students interview professionals using 10 career exploration questions.

  3. After each interview, students use KWL-S to debrief.

Mindfulness & Self-Care

The last several weeks have been a trying time for everyone. There is so much uncertainty, and it is hard to know when things will return to “normal.” As parents, it is important to cut ourselves some slack, and embrace the fact that it’s ok to not be “perfect.” Practice kindness and forgiveness (especially towards yourself), and do what you can to take care of yourself in whatever way you find meaningful (i.e. going for a walk, taking a nap, watching a TV show, reading a book, etc).

Grades K-5

Younger children are like little “sponges,” and tend to absorb the emotions that they sense from the adults around them. It is completely OK to speak with your child regarding the Coronavirus in an age appropriate way. In fact, research shows that discussing the “scary thing” helps the situation to be less scary. In addition, engaging in relaxation activities with your child will help them learn to manage their emotions in a healthy way, while gaining coping skills to help them deal with stressful events. Daniel Tiger, Elmo, Curious George, and all your friends at PBS are ready to help your young child through tough topics:

Grades 6-12 (and college students)

Adolescents and teenagers will likely have a lot of questions regarding the current health crisis. This age group is particularly susceptible to receiving misinformation via social media and peers, and it is important to help guide them towards reputable information. Teens and adolescents may also struggle the most with “social distancing.” From a developmental standpoint, this makes sense, as the teen years are a time of connecting with peers and beginning to form an independent identity. Help your teen to find additional ways to connect with their friends--this could be anything from FaceTime to Skype to social media to writing letters. Here are some resources to help:

For Parents
And finally, this isn't easy for you either, so here are a couple resources to help you look after yourself during these unique times: