Comet Chronicle, Jr.

May 28, 2021

Great Board Games and Family Activities to Help Young Learners Build New Skills

As I was cleaning the game cabinet at my house, because basically the door no longer shuts, I was making a pile of games to get rid of that my kids no longer use. You know the ones: CandyLand, Go Fish, 9 bajillion Memory Match games of every variety. Then a light bulb came on and I thought why not repurpose them as ways to work on skills they need over the summer? I mean who really outgrows Connect4 or CandyLand anyway? So, off to the land of Pintrest I went and found these fab ideas.

CANDYLAND: To build letter-sound relationships, add individual letters or letter clusters to the CandyLand game cards. Following the game’s rules, each player takes a turn. The twist of stating the letter names and sounds correct before moving the game piece on the board will help develop fluency and automaticity in letter identification as well as letter-sound relationships. Be sure to listen for the correct articulation of the sounds, too!

CONNECT4: This engaging two-player game is easily adapted to review language skills. Using a permanent marker, like a Sharpie, write on the red and yellow game pieces. Add letters to practice letter-sound relationships, or add phonetic and high-frequency words. As an alternative to writing on the game pieces, create letter cards or word cards. Players must read (or spell) the word correctly to add a piece to the game board.

GO FISH: Do you have a house full of card players? Add words (or individual letters) to a deck of playing cards, and play go fish! Remember to ensure there are pairs or sets of 4 matching words in the deck. Elevate the rigor by mixing the new sets of 4 among the suits (diamonds, spades, clubs, and hearts). Rehearse phonemic awareness, too, by “fishing” for words that end in /d/ – which could speed up the game, too!

HOPSCOTCH: Fresh air + physical movement + rhyming practice = WIN! Grab your sidewalk chalk or painter’s tape and draw a series of squares on your sidewalk or driveway. Any design will work, so get creative! Toss a beanbag or small rock onto the board. Given a word or syllable, the player must call out a rhyming word for each space up to the one with the beanbag & back again. For example, given the word “cat” by player 2, player 1 tosses the beanbag onto the board. It lands on #7, so player 1 jumps on #1 (hops on one foot) and says “mat.” Player 1 continues: jumps on #2/#3 (both feet) and says “sat,” hops on #4 and says “bat,” and continues up to #7. Then, player 1 turns around in square #7 while hopping on one foot, and repeats it return to the start. Additionally, players could fill the hopscotch board with words or syllables, and read the words as they hop, skip, and jump through the board.

I SPY: This timeless, no-cost, hands-free game is always a hit! While working on visual awareness, incorporate phonological awareness skill-building. Instead of spying a color, give clues that identify the number of syllables or the first sound in a word. For example, “I spy with my little eye something that begins with /b/.” Guesses might include (1) bark on a tree, (2) blue sky, (3) baby doll, or (4) backpack. Layering the clues could further support young players. For example, “I spy something that begins with /b/, and the word has two syllables.” The only option would be the backpack.

MEMORY MATCH: This familiar family favorite is easily recreated with paper and pen to review phonetic words, irregular (high-frequency sight) words, and vocabulary words. Beware: The marker may give away too many clues if it soaks through the paper. To prepare, cut paper into small squares or rectangles of similar size (perfection not required!). Write each of the selected review words on TWO paper pieces. Place all paper pieces face down. Players take turns flipping two-word cards in an attempt to match the words. Every pair is a point, and the player with the most points gets to choose the next game!

Take advantage of family time this summer and up your game! Tailor games from your shelf or create some new ones to develop literacy skills for young learners. Get in a workout, too! GAME ON!

*Games taken from the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education by Ginny Simank

-Mrs. Vanderboegh

School Social Work Scene

6 Tips to Reduce Children’s Screen Time

Summer is a good time to re-establish tech rules you might have let slide during the COVID-19 pandemic. While screens are a part of today's culture, there are health benefits related to reducing screen time, including improved physical health, decreased obesity and more time to play and explore. This is especially true for children spending considerable time learning on computers and tablets. That's why it's more important than ever to reduce the use of electronics the rest of the day.

Screen time affects adults the same as children. Too much screen time puts everyone at risk of obesity, and it's linked with sleep disturbances and can affect relationships. For kids, especially teens, there are studies concerning the negative effects of screen time and its relationship to anxiety, depression and attention span.

The average time spent on screens is 7 to 10 hours. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for an acceptable amount of screen time are:

  • No screen time for children under 2

  • One hour per day for children 2 to 12

  • A maximum of two hours per day for teens and adults

Limiting screen time also helps parents keep a closer eye on what their children are experiencing on social media and the internet.

These 6 tips can help you trim your children's screen time when not in school:

1. Be accountable. Set expectations with your kids, and set goals to be intentional about reducing screen time.

2. Be realistic. If your kids are spending a lot of leisure time on screens, including watching TV, start by setting smaller, more attainable goals. Instead of jumping right to the recommended one to two hours or less per day, start by cutting their current screen time in half.

3. Be engaged. After school or work, spend time each day talking face to face with kids and give them your full attention.

4. Put away hand-held devices.. During screen-free hours, put devices away or at a charging station in a common area so they're not attracting your kids' attention.

5. Create phone-free zones in the home. Making family meal areas a phone-free zone is an easy way to start.

6. Go outside. Putting down the phone and taking a walk or playing outdoors increases your endorphins and provides that feeling of happiness in your brain, boosting your mood and improving your physical health.

Reset pre-Covid tech rules. Use the start of summer as an opportunity to re-establish any tech rules you let slide during the pandemic, like allowing devices in bedrooms at night or allowing video games before homework or chores are done.

Instead of thinking about reducing family screen time as “taking something away”, think of it as an opportunity to get something back.

❤ ~Mrs. DeMercado, School Social Worker

Kids Read Now Books Are On the Way!

Kids Read Now has started to mail books to your students' homes. Books may take 10-14 business days to arrive, but we have seen many arriving much sooner. Each student will receive nine books this summer. If you have any questions, please direct them to Kids Read Now at:

KRN Phone Number: 877-536-0130



Link for families to update information:

Kids Read Now is mailing each family their Parent Guide as an extra engagement piece for the program. Click here to view the online version.

They will support you all summer long!

Attendance Matters!

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Symptoms Reminder

In accordance with Board of Education policies, our Return to Learn plans and direction from local, state, and federal health officials, if your student has any of the following symptoms, you must keep them home from school.

  • Temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher

  • Sore throat

  • An uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing

  • The onset of a severe headache

  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting

  • Unusual belly pain

  • New loss of taste or smell

Based on Board policies and written guidance from local, state, and federal health official, in order for your child to return to school after experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, a parent/guardian must provide the school with:

A negative COVID-19 test result


A doctor’s note releasing the student to attend school


Exclude from Coloma Community Schools for ten (10) days from the first day they had symptoms. They must also be fever free for 24 hours and/or their symptoms have improved after the ten (10) day exclusion period before they can return.

Reading At Home

Encouraging students to read at home is so important. We recommend creating a routine of reading (or reading to a child) at least 20 minutes a day. Take a look at the graphic below to see the impact of that routine.
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Dropping Off and Picking Up Reminder

When dropping off or picking up your student in the car rider lane, we ask that you:
  • Pull all the way forward so that we can unload/load as many students as possible. This will make the process more smooth and efficient.
  • Do not attempt to make a left turn into the car rider lane. Traffic is often backed up down S. West St. for drivers making a righthand turn into the lane. Instead, join the back of the line and make the righthand turn.

A safe and smooth process is our priority. Thank you for your support!

24 Hour Rule

When it comes to responding to calls, emails, or messages Coloma Elementary staff follows the "24 hour rule." In other words, we will make every effort to respond within 24 hours. We often do so before that, but sometimes our schedules can get busy. We appreciate your understanding.

Mask Care

Students have been given two face masks from their teacher. Per our Safe Return to School Plan reusable face masks must be washed daily. Please help us in our efforts to keep our students and staff healthy and safe!

School Messenger

Communication is a priority for all Coloma staff. We use SchoolMessenger to share information electronically with our families. Over the last few months we have received feedback from parents that they are not receiving emails with important messages, reminders, and newsletters. If you find yourself in that group, please reach out to our office staff to make sure we have a current email address in PowerSchool. If we have the correct email address, then the situation is that the parent may have changed their settings to have our emails blocked. If you would like to fix that, our office staff can help you with that too.

CARE Expectations

Coloma Elementary's schoolwide expectations for student behavior follow the acronym CARE. It stands for:
  • Come ready to learn
  • Always responsible
  • Respectful
  • Exceptionally safe

Expectations for the hallway, bathrooms, cafeteria, playground, arrival, and dismissal are posted throughout the school. We teach the expectations and review them throughout the school year. Students also earn CARE tickets when they follow the expectations. The office does a ticket drawing where students pick a prize from the CARE Box.

Stay Connected!

How can you stay connected to what's happening at Coloma Elementary?
  • Follow us on Facebook.
  • Make sure the office has your email address on file so we can communicate via SchoolMessenger.
  • Read the Comet Chronicle, Jr. (twice a month).
  • Read your classroom newsletter.

Box Tops

Check out how you can support our school through Box Tops for Education!
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