Learning Games for Kids

Education games can be great review activities for kids.

I am not a big fan of kids on the computer, so you can guess my thoughts on remote teaching this semester! However, we are all learning to adjust in these pandemic times. There are, however, some great review and reinforcement learning games that will keep kids engaged and having fun. Check out the games that I listed below. They are teacher-created, and Grandchildren approved.

5 Great Learning Games

PBS Kids Games

I have recommended this site in different posts, but it is worth the mention again.  Games are organized by subject area and have many popular literature characters included.  Who does not like Curious George or The Cat in the Hat?

Funbrain

Created for kids ages preschool through grade 8.  Interactive games that develop skills in reading, math, and literacy. 

Academic Skill Builders

Online educational video games in language arts, vocabulary, thinking skills and math. Repetitive, timed learning drills that give scores. 

Mr. Nussbaum

Greg Nussbaum, a teacher created the site with a wide variety of learning games that are organized by subject area and grade level.  Although it looks like there are no games for preschoolers, there are!  Filter to the lowest level.  I found some alphabet games that are appropriate for kids as young as 2!  Teachers it can be used on a tablet and is a great resource for interactive whiteboards.  

ABCYa.com

Educational games and activities for elementary students (lower grades) to learn language arts and math.   Teacher-created and recommended by New York Times.

National Geographic Kids

Over 100 fun, engaging and interactive science games and quizzes. 

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.


Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Lesson Fillers in the Classroom

Lesson filler activities Part II for all ages

In the classroom, it is important to make every minute count.  In the remote teaching world, it is important to give the “teacher” a few minutes of downtime to catch her breath or a sip of coffee.  So, lesson fillers can be used to keep  kids engaged, learning, and having fun. 

Classroom Filler activities are dependent on the age and interest of the kids.  So, having a variety of activities ready to go is ideal.  Many of the activities can be adjusted to be repeated multiple times with a few small changes.

More Lesson Fillers

Pass the ______- Give the class a topic and ask each student to add to the answers without any repeats (Ex: Name a state, name a color). Give the answering child something to hold when the answer and then pass the item to the next child that answers.

Line Up – Ask students to line up by a characteristic (birthday, color shoes, # on house) 

Hot Seat – A student stands with their back to the whiteboard.  Another student writes a word on the board that was taught in class (you may want to give them a word list) and the first student tries to guess the word by asking questions with “yes” or “no” answers. Give a maximum amount of questions that can be asked.

How long is 1 minute? – Ask students to close their eyes and when they think 1 minute has gone by to raise their hand. This gives students practice in the dimension of time.  Vary times as students’ progress.  

Silly Story – Challenge students to take turns making up a story. Have them sit in a circle, and one by one add a sentence to the story. For example, the first student would say, “Once upon a time there was a little girl that went to school, then she…” Then the next student would continue the story. Encourage children to stay on task and use appropriate words. This activity is the perfect opportunity for students to develop and use their imagination and creativity. This can also be turned into a longer project in which students collaborate on a digital project.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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  • Lesson Filler Activities

October Learning Activities


October learning activities gives relevance to historical dates.

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help parents and teachers engage students in valuable learning activities. Check out October learning activities.

October 2020

5 World Teachers Day – Write a description on what you would do if you were a teacher.

12 Columbus Day (US) (2nd Monday in October) – Read a story about Columbus and/or draw a picture of his 3 ships.

15 National Grouch Day – Draw a picture of a grouchy animal or person.

16 World Food Day – Draw and write about your favorite food.

20 National Fruit Day – Describe your favorite food.  

26 International School Library Day (4th Monday in October) – Create a book jacket of a book you have read recently.  Be sure to include 5 facts about the book.

27 Make a Difference Day – What can you do in your house to help someone that would make a difference?

28 State of Liberty dedicated, 1886 – Find a picture of the Statue of Liberty and try to draw it yourself.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Critical Thinking Activity #2 for Kids

Critical thinking activity #2 helps to get kids THINKING.

Problem solving and critical thinking refers to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems. Teaching kids to THINK is important in school and in life.  Kids need opportunities to think about things to make them “make sense”.  Check out critical thinking #2 below to challenge your child.

Critical thinking activity #2 is perfect for a challenge activity, time filler, brain start, reward or extra credit. Once your student figures out the answer, challenge them to create their own example that can be solved in the same way.

WHEN DID IT HAPPEN?

Directions:  Read each statement and decide if it happened in the past, present, or future. HINT: Look for the clues that make the sentence “make sense”. Extension Activity:  Can you reword the sentence to change the meaning to be a different time? Time is divided into 3 categories: past, present and the future.

  • The past is time gone by.
  • The present is this moment in time.
  • The future is time that has not yet happened.
  1. He is on first base and it is the ninth inning.
  2. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.
  3. Declan got out of bed.
  4. Will you go dancing with me?
  5. The lake froze last night.
  6. My sister is at the store getting a new cellphone.
  7. Dinosaurs became extinct because the earth’s temperature cooled.
  8. I am wrapping the gift now.
  9. I washed the dishes after breakfast.
  10. We are going on vacation after school is over.
  11. My birthday party invitations went sent out yesterday.
  12. I hear the dog barking inside the house.

Answers

  1. Present
  2. Past
  3. Past
  4. Future
  5. Past
  6. Present
  7. Past
  8. Present
  9. Past
  10. Future
  11. Past
  12. Present

 Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

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US State Flags Trivia for Kids & Adults

September Trivia: Learning, Fun and Memory booster.

Trivia questions can be fun for kids and adults.  Monthly, we’ve looked at questions in many categories: General Knowledge, movies and World History & Geography and US History. Now it’s time for US State Flags trivia. A popular trivia category for my Wizard teammates. Practice time! Next month: Part II.

Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4
Question 5
Question 6
Question 7
Question 8
Question 9
Question 10
Question 11
Question 12
Question 13
Question 14
Question 15
Question 16
Question 17
Question 18
Question 19
Question 20
Question 21
Question 22
Question 23
Question 24
Question 25

Answers

  • Question 1 Connecticut
  • Question 2 Delaware
  • Question 3 Alaska
  • Question 4 Georgia
  • Question 5 South Carolina
  • Question 6 Arizona
  • Question 7 Ohio
  • Question 8 Louisiana
  • Question 9 Michigan
  • Question 10 Rhode Island
  • Question 11 Tennessee
  • Question 12 Hawaii
  • Question 13 Wyoming
  • Question 14 Missouri
  • Question 15 New Mexico
  • Question 16 Alabama
  • Question 17 New Jersey
  • Question 18 California
  • Question 19 Massachusetts
  • Question 20 Washington
  • Question 21 Montana
  • Question 22 Oklahoma
  • Question 23 Kentucky
  • Question 24 Colorado
  • Question 25 Minnesota

If you enjoyed these trivia questions, be sure to check out next month US Flags: Part II. 

Check them out and have some fun!

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Best ELA Apps & Websites


Best ELA Apps & Websites

High School students need to develop analytical skills in all subject areas. In the ELA classroom students need to learn to be independent thinkers, encourage appreciation for literature and express their opinions through writing and discussion. Finding resources to get your secondary students excited about English is important.  But, when it also makes your life easier, it is a goldmine!

6 Best ELA apps and websites

  1. New York Times – NYT and Verizon have teamed up to offer every high school student in the U.S. free access to the New York Times. Students can educate themselves to better understand the pandemic and other events going on in the world. Resources are up to date and available in all subject areas.
  2. Newsela – Newsela is an online news-as-literacy platform that features high-interest articles on everything from current events to myths and legends and from literature to science. Users can choose a free account (which just features news and current events) or paid subscriptions that include daily news story updates and subject-specific products for ELA, social studies, science, and SEL.
  3. CommonLit – CommonLit is a free digital library of leveled texts: news articles, poems, short stories, and historical documents. Articles can be filtered by collections by grade level, Lexile level, theme, genre, literary device, even Common Core State Standards. There are over 2,000 high-quality free reading passages for grades 3-12 that also include aligned assessments.  
  4. Teaching Tolerance – Teaching Tolerance is “a place where educators who care about diversity, equity and justice can find news, suggestions, conversation and support.” This is a great resource to include social awareness. 
  5. Purdue OWL – Great site for clarification in grammar, style, or proper citations to develop good writers. Includes printable and online practice.  It was my “go to” site for my dissertation. 
  6. UNC Writing Center – Handouts and videos for many writing issues. Extensive resources that are easy to use and ready to start today.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Lesson Filler Activities

Lesson filler activities can be FUN!

Lesson filler activities are great learning opportunities whether a lesson finishes early or our students just need a Brain Break.  Finding ones that engage students that require little little or no preparation is great.  But finding ones that are FUN…. even better!  Check out these ideas:

10 Lesson Filler Activities

Mystery BoxHave a shoebox ready with some items that can be put in for students to guess what is inside.  Limit the number of questions that students can ask and be sure that the questions can only be answered with a “yes” or “no”. Encourage them to use all their senses. Once they figure out what the item is, open the box and let them see it.

Sticky NotesCreate sticky note “pairs” by writing pairs of words (opposites, compound words, vocabulary word and meaning, math problems) on post its. Distribute a post-it to each child and have students find their “match”.  An alternative activity is to distribute the post-its around the room and have one student match all the pairs.  Add a timer to add to the challenge.  

Current Events – Read a headline aloud and ask the child what they think the story was about.  Adaptations is reading the headline independently and/or working with a partner to discuss the story possibilities.

Sign Language – Kids love learning sign language.  Show kids some basic signs and have them practice with each other.  Need link

Follow the Directions – Create a list of 3-5 step directions.  Read a set of directions aloud and then ask children to do the activities in order.  Ex. Stand up, say Happy Birthday, touch your head, turn around, sit down.  Be sure that you write the directions down because they are easy to forget! 

I have a Number – Prepare a setof cards from 1 to 50 with math problems and 50 different answers.  Examples:   I have a 5, who has this number plus 10.  The child with 15 says, I have 15.  Who has my number minus 12?  I have 3.  Who has my number plus 25?  I have 28.  Who has my number minus 2?  I have 26.  Who has my number plus 20? 

The Price is RightHave them play the popular game show by guessing how much an item costs.  Show them a flyer with items and cover the cost. For younger students you may have to give them a range that it could cost until they understand prices.

What’s My Number?  Write a number on a piece of paper and tell students you are thinking of a number between ____ and _______.  For younger students, using a number line to add their guesses will help them understand greater than and less than.

Give me FiveChallenge students to name five things that are alike.  Choose a student to answer and if they get the 5 items, they can call on the next person to try another challenge.  For students playing alone, set a timer to see how fast they can do it.

__Things Found on a ____Name a place that students are familiar and ask them to name things they would find there.  Ex:  Things on a boat, on a farm, at the zoo, in the kitchen etc.

Next Month: 10 more lesson filler activities

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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First Grade Reading Overview

First Grade Reading

First grade reading and writing curricula looks different in different states, countries, and classrooms.  However, there are some basic expectations and ideas that can be used to support learning.

Building reading skills is an essential part of a first grader’s learning process and academic success down the road. Even when students are not specifically learning “reading,” they are constantly using this skill to learn other subjects—which is why it is crucial for your child’s success in all subjects. As first graders develop their reading comprehension, they will talk more about certain topics and gain a deeper understanding of what they read. 

14 Skills for First Grade Reading

  1. Knows the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
  2. Compares different characters, events, or texts.
  3. Discusses books with an understanding of plot, characters, and important ideas.
  4. Identifies sentence features (i.e. punctuation, capitalization).
  5. Recognizes the spelling and sound of two letters that represent one sound, such as thchwh (these are also known as digraphs).
  6. Can read sight words in isolation and in text.
  7. Reads regularly spelled one-syllable words.
  8. Understands how an “e” at the end of a word changes a vowel within the word.
  9. Talks about and answers questions about the text they read.
  10. Reads texts aloud at an appropriate speed and with expression. This is called fluency.
  11. Breaks up longer words into syllables to read them.
  12. Grade-level words with “irregular” spellings are included in their reading vocabulary.
  13. Understands the purpose of and uses common features in a book, such as headings, tables of contents, and glossaries.
  14. Begins to read grade-appropriate poetry and identifies words and phrases that relate to emotions and the senses.

First Grade Reading Activities

Poetry Recitals: Read small and simple poems together and talk about the feelings they convey. Allow, your first grader to try writing their own poems about people, places, or things. Allow their creativity to shine.

Put on a Show: Encouraging your child to read a favorite story or poem using different voices for characters is both beneficial and fun. Do not be surprised that you might have some “actors in your classroom.”

Create A Personal Dictionary: Keep track of your child’s new words in their own notebook.  They can write the word, add an illustration and the meaning.  They can also add a sentence using the word.  Each of these additions can be added to the dictionary at different times.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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First Grade Learning Standards

First Grade Learning Standards

This resource consolidates all New York State first grade learning standards into one document (2019). It was intended to be used as a reference tool by teachers, specialists, and administrators responsible for designing programs for second grade students. However, during the current COVID-19 crisis, it is helpful for homeschooling families and parents supporting remote learning.

The Learning Standards are end of year expectations rather than a curriculum, assessment, or a set of teaching strategies. The resource provides a uniform format for learning standards in all content areas to make it easier for users to read and understand. Users that are looking for a higher level of detail can find it at New York State Education Department’s website. The site provides additional background information and shows learning progressions across grades.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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First Grade Writing Overview

First Grade Writing

Reading and writing curricula look different in different states, countries, and classrooms.  However, there are some basic expectations and ideas in first grade writing that can be used to support learning.

Once first graders master writing their letter and some basic words; it is time to watch the writing begin! First grade writers write longer pieces and try out new spelling words in a variety of subjects. This Septembers, remote learning settings will give first graders more opportunities to use technology rather than handwriting. This may help develop great writers who would otherwise be hesitant to write because of the extra work involved in handwriting. In first grade, students will be using their writing skills in all subject areas.

First Grade Writing Skills

  1. Writes with structure, including an introductory sentence, supporting or accurate details, and some sense of closure.
  2. Writes a variety of texts including, narratives, informational pieces, how to’s and opinion pieces.
  3. Contributes to a group writing with teacher help. 

First Grade Writing Activities

Write, Write, Write:  Find opportunities to allow your child to write.  Using their skills to label items, write directions, or draw a picture and write a sentence to explain their drawing are all great ways to practice writing.   Encourage them to read their writing to family and friends.  Practice, practice, practice.

Answer a Question: It is time to put your child to work to find the answers to their questions.  When a question comes up, encourage them to research the answer using a book or the computer.  They can share their answers verbally, draw a poster, or write a story.

Make Books:  Fold and cut 8.5 X 11 pages into halves and staple the pages together. Staple the left side of pages (3 staples: top, middle bottom) so that the pages can turn like a standard book.  4 full pages makes a book with a cover and back page and 14 pages to use for writing and/or illustrations. Add or delete pages as your child needs.  

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Grade 2 Writing Overview

Grade 2 Writing

Reading and writing curricula look different in different states, countries, and classrooms.  However, there are some basic expectations and ideas that can be used to support learning.

Second Grade Writers

Second graders write texts that are longer and include details which helps to refine their writing. They often use technology to publish their writing. Like reading, writing occurs throughout the day as students use it for a variety of subjects. 

4 Ways to Build Grade 2 Writing Skills

  1. Writes a variety of types of texts including:
    • Informative/Explanatory Pieces: Students introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a conclusion.
    • Opinion Pieces: Students state their opinions and provide reasons to support them, closing with a conclusion.
    • Narrative Pieces: Students write about an event, describing actions, thoughts, and feelings, and provide a conclusion.
  2. Research topics for individual writings or shared writing projects.
  3. Encourage revisions and edits to improve writing.
  4. Uses digital tools, with adult support, to publish writing.

Second Grade Writing Activities

Keep a Journal: Ask your child to write about their daily events.  Something special that happened, hopes, dreams, activities; anything that gets them writing.  Allow them to illustrate their entries. It sometimes reminds them of more details. On days where writing is difficult, they might try expanding one of their previous entries.

Give Your Opinion: Allow your child to express their opinions. Discuss with your child a topic and ask them their thoughts.  Explore their reasoning behind their thoughts and ask them to write their opinion.

Provide an Audience:  Who does not like to have an audience?  Ask your child to read their opinion piece out loud to an audience and take questions.  Of course, family members are perfect for being a “friendly audience. ”

 Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Grade 2 Reading Overview

Second grade reading and writing curricula looks different in different states, countries, and classrooms.  However, there are some basic expectations and ideas that can be used to support learning.

Grade 2 Reading

Second Grade Readers  

Second graders continue to develop their literacy skills as they learn more complex words and longer passages in different genres. Students can expand their reading comprehension skills by talking about what they read.  This helps them develop more advanced ideas around those topics. Kids get lots of reading opportunities throughout the school day by practicing their reading skills when learning other subjects.

11 Ways to Build Second Grade Reading Skills

  1. Self-corrects mistakes and re-reads when necessary
  2. Reads more complex words, such as two-syllable words.
  3. Begins to make connections within and between texts.
  4. Reads words with common prefixes and suffixes, for example: pre-re-un-, –able, –ad, and –er.
  5. Reads grade-appropriate, irregularly spelled words (consult your child’s teacher for a specific list of these words).
  6. Reads a variety of texts including fables, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
  7. Understands the structure of a story, specifically the purpose of beginnings (introducing the text) and endings (concluding the text).
  8. Understands the most important details of a text—its main purpose and the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how.” (see activity below)
  9. Talks about characters’ responses, main events, lessons learned, and important ideas or concepts.
  10. Compares at least two different versions of the same story, such as two versions of a classic fairy tale.
  11. Reads at grade level with correct accuracy, pace, expression, and comprehension.

3 Grade 2 Reading Activities

Give Attention to Prefixes and Suffixes: When your child uses a word with a prefix or suffix, occasionally stop to talk about it. Break down the word and say what the prefix or suffix and root word mean when they are put together, and brainstorm other words that have the same suffix or prefix. 

Make a “W” Chart: While you and your child read books together, make a “W” chart. Fill out the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how” of the book as your child discovers them.

Make Up Your Own Version of a Story: After your child reads a story, encourage new versions that your child may think make the story different. Perhaps they want to change the character, the setting or even the ending.  They may even want to use themselves or a family member be the main character. This activity helps them understand story structure and make comparisons.

 Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Second Grade Standards for Learning

Second grade standards

This resource consolidates all New York State second-grade learning standards into one document (2019). It was intended to be used as a reference tool by teachers, specialists, and administrators responsible for designing programs for second grade students. However, during the current COVID-19 crisis, it is helpful for homeschooling families and parents supporting remote learning.

The Learning Standards are end of year expectations rather than a curriculum, assessment, or a set of teaching strategies. The resource provides a uniform format for learning standards in all content areas to make it easier for users to read and understand. Users that are looking for a higher level of detail can find it at New York State Education Department’s website. The site provides additional background information and shows learning progressions across grades.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Sight Word Practice at Home & School

Sight word practice can help kids learn sight words.

8 Ways to Practice Sight Words

Sight Word Search – Let the child select a handful of sight word cards at random and ask them to find them around the house or classroom. (magazines, newspapers, books etc.)

Hide- and-Seek Sight Words – Hide ten-word card and let your child find them and read them to you.

What is on my Back? –  Trace a word on your child’s back and see if they know what it is.  Take turns with different words.

What is my Color – Have your child write their new sight words using different types of writing tools.  They might also want to try writing the letters in different colors.

Cupboard Search – Let your child explore the cupboard or pantry boxes to find sight words.  Often the item descriptions, and not the item name, are filled with sight words. 

Sing a Song of Sight Words – Practice sight words my replacing them into familiar songs.  Familiar songs can include but not be limited to Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Twinkle, Twinkle.

Spill a Sight Word – Put some of the cut-up words into a cup and spill the cup and ask your child to read the words spilled.  Extension activity is to use the word in a sentence.  

Find the Letter – Place scrabble letters on top of the letters in the sight words.  Ask child to say the word, say the letters and restate the word. Ex: Best is spelled B-E-S-T the word is best.  Extension activity is to use the word in a sentence.

The more sight words children know, the better readers they become. 

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Critical Thinking Activities for Kids

Critical thinking and problem solving activities gets kids THINKING.

Problem solving and critical thinking refers to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems. Teaching kids to THINK is important in school and in life.  Kids need critical thinking activities to make them THINK about “what makes sense”. 

The following thinking activity is perfect for a challenge activity, time filler, brain start, reward or extra credit. Once your student figures out the answer, challenge them to create their own example that can be solved in the same way. 

ONE LETTER CHALLENGE

Directions: Change one letter in each underlined word so that the sentence makes sense. Example: Ten take away one is none (the o should be an I so the answer is nine.

  1. Murphy, the dog, bowls at the moon.  
  2. A house ate the cheese.
  3. I caught the dish in the lake.
  4. I love refried beams.
  5. Is it a frog or a told?
  6. Glue is a color in the rainbow.
  7. I write that letter yesterday.
  8. The loon is the king of the beasts.
  9. Six plum three makes nine.
  10. She has a bad rough.

Answers

  1. Howls
  2. Mouse
  3. Fish
  4. Beans
  5. Toad
  6. Blue
  7. Wrote
  8. Lion
  9. Plus
  10. cough

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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