September - An Idea for Every Day - 1

Three and a half days. That’s all the Mr. was given to set up before the first day of school. In a new grade level. In an unfamiliar teaching format. Challenge accepted. Blessing acknowledged. You know, I’ve heard story after story testifying that when God moves, He waits until what seems like the very last minute. This was precisely our experience of Him.

At the end of last school year, the Mr. decided he wanted to secure a job with the district in which we live, thereby affording him the opportunity to insert himself in the activities of the community (the district in which he taught previously was a 45 minute drive – hardly conducive to community engagements). We held our breath all summer as interview after interview came and went with no admittance into the local school district, even though many seemed promising. Finally, with 3 ½ days before school started, the Mr. was hired as a third-grade online teacher in our local school district.

A challenge? Yes. But one for which he’s infinitely grateful and ready to accept head on. Of course, if you’re a teacher, we’re willing to listen to all the knowledge you’re willing to offer. If you’re a parent, we’d love to hear what matters most to you regarding teacher-student interactions. If you’re a student, now or previously (which, well, that’s all of us), we’d love to hear characteristics of teachers that most impacted your life. We know there’s always room to grow when you're learning to lead.

And that’s what we’re here for, leaders: to learn so we can lead. We hope to inspire you likewise. Our goal is to help you learn to lead so you can raise your littles from learners to leaders. One way we aim to help is by offering engaging academic activities that complement daily holidays for your Preschool to Sixth grade learners. Learners work harder and show greater growth when engaging in high interest opportunities. These high interest opportunities are what we seek to provide. Exposure to diverse content creates more passion-finding and leadership-building opportunities in your learners.

Here’s a glance at our featured activities for the week of August 30 to September 5 (click the link for more details regarding the selected day).

  1. Beach Day (8.30.20) - Participate even from home.
  2. Trail Mix Day (8.31.20) - Math (counting; one-to-one correspondence; number recognition; comparisons; addition; subtraction; equations; fractions - addition, subtraction; comparisons; measurement; generating equivalents; ratios and proportional reasoning)
  3. World Letter Writing Day (9.1.20) - Writing (formal and informal letters, determining an audience)
  4. World Coconut Day (9.2.20) - Science (five senses, observations); Math (geometrical attributes, shapes, measurement, comparisons, fractions, elapsed time, estimation, precision, conversions); Cooking (following a recipe, mixing, baking, choosing produce, preparing produce); STEAM 
  5. Bowling League Day (9.3.20) - Math (subtraction, counting, equations, adding more than two numbers); Physical Education (throwing, aiming, gross-motor skills, approach)
  6. Wildlife Day (9.4.20) - Science (animal classification, animal traits, animal conservation); Research Skills
  7. Kentucky Derby Day (9.5.20) - When and where to watch. The history.

Here, at Wolfe Stew, we believe in options. So, we’re plating our ideas in a variety of ways for you. Choose the idea delivery service that best meets your needs from the following menu.

And now, without further ado, check out the activities we’ve been stewing on for you.


Sunday, August 30, 2020 – Beach Day

Have one at home!
Beach image by Sean O. via Unsplash

Just the idea of relaxing on a beach sounds nice, doesn’t it? The problem for us is: we live no where near a beach, like a real beach. We live near a lakeshore, but it’s not the same. If you live near a beach, plan for a beach day with your family. If you don’t, check out these stewed-upon ideas we have for you.

Consider making a beach at home indoors (with Caitlin Gallagher via Pop Sugar) or outdoors (with Stacy Teet via Melissa and Doug). Our favorite indoor tip: find a way to go swimming. At Caitlin’s house, it was spraying each other with spray bottles. What might it be at yours? For an outdoor tip, we like Stacy’s idea of a beach in a box. Inside, we’d make sure to store sand and seashells. What would be in yours?

We’ll admit, a made-at-home, make-the-most-of-it beach does not even compare to the real experience. Nonetheless, we hope it brought smiles, laughter and perhaps a little relaxation.

“To escape and sit quietly on the beach – that’s my idea of paradise.” 
– Emilia Wickstead

 

Monday, August 31, 2020 – Trail Mix Day

Related learning activities for preschool to sixth grade
Trail Mix image via PXFuel


Do you love trail mix? I do. Of course, sweet and salty is my favorite snacking combination. If you’re anything like my nephew though, you’ll believe in this saying on a meme we found: "Trail Mix? Oh, you mean M&M’s with obstacles." It’s true, too. He’ll always pick trail mix as a snack, so long as M&M’s are in it. Try handing him trail mix without M&M’s and he’ll quickly reject it. In fact, while camping, he and his cousin sweetly decided a friendly chipmunk was in dire need of their trail mix; they quickly agreed, however, that the M&Ms would not be good for the health of a chipmunk. So, they sacrificed and ate only the M&Ms themselves, feeding everything else to the chipmunk. The good thing about trail mix: whether you’re the chipmunk or the human, there’s likely something mixed in that appeals to you. Likewise, we encourage you to choose the appealing activities (and throw the rest to the chipmunks) from these trail mix learning activities we’ve stewed on for you.

You’re likely working on counting, one-to-one correspondence and number recognition with your Preschool or Kindergarten learner. If so, then this Number Trail Mix idea from Playdough to Plato is perfect for you! Gather a muffin tin, cupcake liners, a permanent marker, trail mix ingredients, follow Malia’s directions and you’re good to go! What’s even better: you get to choose the mix-ins. So, provided you choose ingredients your learner loves, your learner is sure to gobble up this activity. If you’re teaching across grade levels, invite older learners to add all the numbers together, mix and match operations to write equations that total a target number or write related story problems.

For First through Third Grade Leaners working on addition and subtraction, Smart School House has the ideal trail mix math opportunity for you! Using a printable math mat and trail mix, your learner represents equations using trail mix as the manipulative. Choose from open-ended exploration, dictate a sum, model fact families or find the missing number. If teaching across grade levels, older learners might turn the missing number into an algebraic equation, and then generate equivalent equations, while younger learners count (or compare) the number of pieces placed in each circle.

Is your Fourth or Fifth Grade learner practicing multiplication and addition of fractions? If so, Parkway Schools has an appetizing trail mix activity for you! Your learner will record fractional amounts of used ingredients, measure out the recorded amounts and add the fractions to find the total amount of trail mix they made. Finally, they’ll practice doubling, tripling and halving the recipe. If teaching across grade levels, practice measurement or ordering and comparing fractions with younger learners and finding combinations of fractional ingredients to reach a target number with older learners.

Sixth Grade learners will love working on trail mix proportions with Ms. Harlan-Smith’s activity via Teachers Pay Teachers. After calculating how many cups of trail mix are required so the whole class gets a serving, they’ll use proportional reasoning to write a new recipe, resulting in the required amount to feed the whole class. Finally, they’ll use the new recipe to calculate percentages and ratios of varying ingredients. To use with multi-age learners, have younger learners practice comparisons, measuring ingredients, ordering fractions, and adding.

So, we’re curious: what’s in your trail mix? Describe it, if you’d like, as a ratio of M&M’s to obstacles in the comments below.


Tuesday, September 1, 2020 – World Letter Writing Day

Related preschool to sixth grade learning resources.
Letter image by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

This day was chosen by our nephew; so letter writing’s not a lost art - even learners still appreciate it. Perhaps because it is personal. There are so many opportunities to write letters and so many audiences that would love receiving them. Consider family, friends or a Global Pen Friend. Next, teach and use letter writing techniques with these stewed-upon resources.

Does your learner need a lesson on letter writing? If so, check out the applicable one below.

  • Preschool to First Grade learners will adore this teddy bear writing lesson from This Reading Mama, and, as an added bonus, it will fit right in with their letter writing template. Oh, and did we mention Teddy Bear Day is coming (September 9, 2020)? So, the teddy bear theme will certainly be put to good use. We like This Reading Mama’s lesson not only because of the friendly teddy bear (although it does help), but also because of her hands-on approach and opportunities for practice. Your learner will associate the parts of a letter with parts of a teddy bear by recognizing letter parts on a teddy bear diagram, labeling the teddy bear with corresponding letter parts and finally, naming the parts of a letter on a sample letter.
  • Give your Second to Third Grade Learners an introduction to letter writing by My Child Magazine via Reading Rockets. Not only does it ask learners to consider what’s so special about letters, but it also provides learners with plenty of opportunities to write letters. This resource covers formal and informal letters, and even first teaches which type to write.
  • Likely, your Fourth to Sixth Grade learner only needs a review on letter writing. If that’s true of your fourth to sixth grader, have them watch this 2-minute YouTube video as a refresher course by Andie Worsley. It covers determining audience, deciding what type of letter to write (formal or informal) including the five necessary parts (date, salutation, body, closing and signature).

When your learner’s ready to go with letter writing, consider using one of the following formatting guides to help them along the way.

  • As promised, your Preschool to First Grade learners will write directly on a teddy bear using this template from Paula and Palmer via Teachers Pay Teachers. The template has two options: with or without labeled letter parts.
  • Second to Third Grade learners, have a cute, but more grown-up option with this template from First Grade Friendly Frogs. These lined templates promote good penmanship, set up proper letter formatting and come in several variations: letter parts labeled, a corner graphic, or just the formatting - all in triple-lined or single-lined options.
  • Your Fourth to Sixth Grade learner is more than capable of using lined paper, but might need a reminder of the necessary components. Third Grade with HK (via Teachers Pay Teachers) created a simple, friendly letter components reference that fills exactly that need.

Letters are indeed personal. They take time, care and planning to write. Did you know YOU are a letter?

You are a letter written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, a letter written not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3 GW

Think on that. God took the time, care and planning to write on the tablet of your heart. One version phrases it as “letter of recommendation.” What do you think yours says?


Wednesday, September 2, 2020 – World Coconut Day

Related learning activities for Preschool to Sixth grade
Coconut image by Anastasia Sidorova via PXFuel

Did you know there’s a dispute about where coconuts originated? Some people say India and others say South America. When I think of coconuts, I think of South America. What about you? Regardless of their origin, coconuts are fun … fruits? nuts? seeds? … to explore. While doing so, we suggest a math learning focus using these ideas we’ve stewed on for you.

With your Preschool to Second Grade Learners, Fun-A-Day guides you through coconut exploration using all five senses. Although, as fair warning, you might want to check out Teach Mama’s experience with opening a coconut first. Both experiences state opening it was the most challenging part. Of course, you could always challenge your learners with devising a plan to open the coconut (see “Fifth to Sixth Graders” activity description below). Once armed with a coconut-opening plan, you’re ready for five-sense exploration. We also suggest pulling in some math vocabulary as you’re exploring it. Words like sphere, three-dimensional (solid), sides, corners (vertices), circumference, measurement, inches, weight, ounces, how much, more or less, bigger and smaller etc. would weave in nicely here.

Whenever food is involved, cooking is always an option. So, lead your Third to Fourth Grade learners into the kitchen and get to cooking (and learning) with coconuts with Kids Cooking Activities by your side. Begin by reading some facts about coconuts. A new fact for us: coconuts’ peak season is in October. Using the information provided, have your learner help you pick out a coconut, store it correctly once home, and follow the directions to open and cook it. Make sure to sample the coconut along the way. Next, choose a recipe to try. The choices provided at Kids Cooking Activities include coconut macaroons, coconut pumpkin bread, coconut cream pie or coconut chicken balls. While cooking, math comes into play. You get to talk about fractions, measurement, elapsed time, estimation, precision, temperature, and depending on whether you change the recipe or not, conversions. Cooking and math go hand-in-hand, as I’m positive you already know.

If you read the Preschool to Second Grade section, then you already know opening a coconut is a bit of a challenge. Propose the problem to your Fifth to Sixth Graders and have them devise their own plan (a Wolfe Stew think sheet) to open the coconut safely. The provided think sheet walks them through the STEAM process, which might play out something like this:

  • Ask – Learners write a question that describes the problem they are trying to solve. (How can I open this coconut?)
  • Imagine – As STEAM projects are learner driven, let your learner lead. If they suggest finding a video on the internet, let them. Otherwise, see what methods they dream up on their own. Or, if they are really struggling to brainstorm solutions, ask leading questions to get them to research. (When we don’t know the answer to a problem, what steps can we take help solve it? What resources do you have around that might help you solve this problem? When you don’t know how to do something in a video game, create a craft or make a new recipe what do you do?)
  • Plan – Using a method (or combination of methods) from the imagine step, learners draw a diagram or write a step-by-step list explaining how they’ll open the coconut, making sure to include a list of needed materials. This is the step where they’ll incorporate some math vocabulary. Depending on their plan, angle, height, tool size, or speed measurements might come into play.
  • Create – They’ll carry out their plan and evaluate how it worked.
  • Improve – Think of ways they could make their plan even better, even if it worked. The idea here is, there is always room for improvement.

What did you discover about coconuts? We’d love to know! Leave us a comment, shoot us an email (mr@wolfestew.com or mrs@wolfestew.com), or message us on social media (buttons below).


Thursday, September 3, 2020 – Bowling League Day

Related learning activities for Preschool to Sixth Grade

Bowling image by Joseph Costa via Unsplash


There was a time that I loved bowling. Nowadays, it’s a struggle to keep the ball out of the gutter (even on the wii). However, that doesn’t mean I won’t choose bowling learning activities for the littles in my life who love it. And, we’ve uncovered resources that turn bowling into amazing math learning activities. So, choose your ball, set the pins, perfect your approach, throw the ball, watch the pins fly, then get ready to work with these activities we’ve stewed on for you.

Bowling presents the perfect opportunity to practice subtraction and counting with your Preschool to Second Grade learners. Early Math Counts wrote a subtraction bowling lesson plan for precisely this purpose! While the lesson targets toddlers to preschoolers, we think your kindergarten through second grade learners will benefit too. Using Dixie cups, a tennis ball and the provided recording sheet (opens PDF), your learners will bowl, then create math equations to represent the results. Every row on the sheet begins with a diagram of the pins, so learners may cross them off as they fall down. Then, the second column features a math equation beginning with ten for the first throw and a second column with all blanks for the second throw of the frame. So, if your learner knocks down 3 “pins,” cross off three corresponding circles on the diagram in column one, record the representative equation 10 – 3 = 7 in column two, and write a 7 on the first blank in column three. Then, if during the next throw your learner knocks down 5 more pins, cross off the corresponding circles in the diagram of column one and finish the equation in column three with 7-5=2. You’ll change the level of expectation dependent 0n your learner:

  •  Preschoolers use the diagram to count the number of remaining pins as you talk them through writing (or even helping them write) the equations.
  • Kindergartners, at the beginning of the year, may need assistance in completing the equations. Once they’ve grown in recognizing patterns within ten, they’ll progress to independence.
  • First to Second Graders may not even need the diagram for assistance in recording their scores. For them, building subtraction fluency is the goal. For an added challenge, consider having them add the total sum of their final scores from each frame to calculate their game score.

Your Third to Sixth Grade learners are ready to hand-calculate bowling scores, and Education World is eager to walk them through the process. They’ll learn the scoring rules (from Live About) and practice calculating bowling scores (links to PDF) using a worksheet. Upon proving bowling score calculation proficiency, learners will bowl and keep track of their own score. If you can’t get to a bowling alley, Education World suggests bowling using emptied soda bottles as pins.

The Mr. was on a bowling league last year and they gave each other nicknames. Among these nicknames were, “The Whisperer” and “Domino.” If you had a bowling nickname, what would yours be?


Friday, September 4, 2020 – Wildlife Day

Related learning activities for Preschool to Sixth Grade
Bear image by Photo Collections via Pexels


What wildlife graces your neighborhood? In ours, it is multitudes of rabbits, geese, garter snakes, and less frequently, elk. We even were lucky enough to have a great horned owl nesting in our neighborhood this spring. Excite your learners with wildlife exploration using these stewed-upon resources.

At National Wildlife Foundation’s wildlife guide, your learner can explore national wildlife by type. You’ll first determine the class of interest (bird, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, or plants & fungi), which will then narrow it to another classification system. Within this classification system, specific species are listed. Choose a species to encounter a detailed description. Use the information in this description to communicate learning in one of the below mentioned options.

Perhaps your learner is more interested uncovering and preventing ways humans mistreat animals. If so, you’ll want to head over to National Geographic’s Wildlife Watch page. The mission of Wildlife Watch is “shining light on the exploitation of wildlife.” The day we viewed, we found articles regarding hunting of bears in dens, poachers of reindeer and why an alligator makes a terrible pet.

Use the information from your animal exploration to generate a report that reflects your learning. We’ve stewed on some report options for your consideration.

Report Options to Consider:

  • Keep it open-ended. Let the learner decide how they’d like to present the learned information. Just make sure they clear their plan with you before they get started.
  • Complete a draw-and-write activity (a Wolfe Stew crafted template). Draw a picture of the chosen species and write about it. Vary writing expectations by learner’s ability.
  • Use our Animal Profile (suitable for 4th to 6th grade learners) to guide animal exploration. For younger learners, we like this Animal Fact File from Sparkle Box.
  • Make an infographic (canva) or Google slides presentation to integrate technology.
  • Create a poster, painting, collage, or drawing to artistically integrate the learned information.

Which regional animal do you think is most likely to excite your learner? 


Saturday, September 5, 2020 – Kentucky Derby Day

Related learning activities for Preschool to Sixth Grade
Horse image by Daniel via Pexels


The Kentucky Derby normally takes place in May, but because of COVID (like many other events) they’ve had to postpone. Now, an event that normally would close your school year, opens it. If your family is interested in horses, racing or competition, you may wish to consider viewing the Kentucky Derby this year with the help of the resources we’ve stewed on for you.

For up-to-date streaming information, visit the Kentucky Derby’s official website. It appears to us that all options require access to a streaming service subscription (like NBC Sports Live or Hulu live) and no free, legal streaming services are available.

To learn the history, visit the Kentucky Derby’s official history page.

According to KentuckyDerby.com, the top ten contenders are Tiz the Law, Authentic, Art Collector, Honor A. P., NY Traffic, King Guillermo, Thousand Words, Dr. Post, and Max Player. Which one sounds like a winning horse to you?

 

That wraps up this week’s ideas for every day. We’re wishing you the best of all weeks with JOY tucked into every day.

At Your Service,


Interested in even more educational resources?  Then stop by our Learning Lab.  It's here where we store all the educational resources we've cooked up to date.




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