Searching for work to send home with your students due to school closings? Learn about this four tier approach to home learning to make things easier on your students, parents and yourself. Includes free challenge and worksheets - share with co-workers!
Life and stuff,  Teaching Ideas

School Closing? Read On…

If you find out your school is closing on Monday for two weeks, and you need to come up with work for your students, you’re probably going to panic. Here are some things that I hope will help you out, particularly if you are a first grade teacher. Everything on this page is FREE – there are no links to paid items.

Send home a worksheet package

That’s a lot of gathering, printing and collating to do. I feel ya. I put together this FREE pack of 19 worksheets for ELA and math for first grade that might help you when you sign up to our newsletter. 19 pages isn’t going to be enough, I know that, but it’s a start. Don’t forget that Teachers Pay teachers has over 231,564 FREE resources for first grade alone! Remember, the quality of student work will be lower than you get in the classroom – some students will have no guidance at home, others no access to a pencil sharpener. Some students (you know who 😉) will fly through the worksheets in 10 minutes, others won’t look at them. I think allocating two to three sheets per day is enough and personally I wouldn’t give more than two a day. Feel free to share with parents, and other teachers.

Online Learning

Online learning is well established in our universities, colleges and even middle and high schools. But for lower elementary students the emphasis has and should be on pencil and paper, developing fine motor skills, co-operative learning opportunities and communication skills. Bear in mind that whilst students often have access to tablets and phones at home, we cannot be sure that all homes have a computer. That being said, here are some online websites that students with computers can access at home.

Many of the following companies are offering free access during any self-isolation period:

14 Day Challenge

This FREE 14 day challenge is a fun way to fill the days in addition to the work you set your students. 14 things to accomplish over the course of the two week period. It’s up to you how much you expect from them, but this is a layer on doing worksheets at home. I would personally ask them to work on the first box – ‘Design a daily schedule for yourself that includes time for school work, play, exercise and chores’, and maybe let parents know in an email that the optimum time for student work is in the morning, and holding to some kind of schedule will be so beneficial. And maybe mention that screen time doesn’t happen all day in school, and could be held off until 3pm during this period. Who knows, someone might take that onboard!

Project Learning

This is my favorite kind of home learning scenario. Pick an area and let your students complete a project around it. And wouldn’t it be neat if it was something we don’t learn about in school, but that would still encapsulate math, science, reading, writing and research? For instance a topic on back yard birds would be perfect for gathering, coordinating and researching data in math with tallies and bar graphs; experimentation with bird feeders and different seed types, the role the weather plays on a bird’s habits; drawing with pencils, pastels, multi-media collages; writing observations and researching a particular bird online. How much or little you expect is up to you, but I think having a more open-ended type of work for lower elementary is going to have a bigger engagement than mundane worksheets (even if I made them!).

Here are some project ideas:

  1. Birds (my personal favorite, can you tell?)
  2. Trees/seeds/acorns/plants
  3. The history of a sport
  4. A musician (from today or the past, classical or modern)
  5. Ancient Greek Gods
  6. Dinosaurs!
  7. A novel study
  8. Writing letters/invitations/recipes for fairy tale characters
  9. Open-ended (Let students decide on the project for themselves. So what if it is about Zion Williamson, or Fortnite? If they are researching, writing, reading, doing math and are engaged for a purpose, it’s a win).

I think you have to hold your hands up and go with the flow. We are in this together. I hope you can find something here that can help you. I wish you and your students the very best over the coming weeks, and I am as excited as you are for this all to be over with soon!

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