How many different kinds of animals are there?

If you’ve been following along this week with the Home Safaris at the Cincinnati Zoo, you may be wondering: “How many different kinds of animals are there?” Well, Mystery Science is here to the rescue with this lesson examining how scientists organize animals into groups based on their characteristics. Check it out!

Become a Math Ace

Math games with deck of cardsAlthough we have XtraMath and iReady at our fingertips for number fluency and math practice, I thought it would be fun to infuse some games into math while we’re away. After a bit of searching, I found several games that can be played with something you probably already have at home: a deck of standard playing cards! So, grab your deck, and let’s play!

Total of 10
In Total of 10, students are trying to find cards that total 10. The goal is to empty their total of 10 board so that they have no cards left. This game is terrific because it is a solitaire style game–it can be played independently or as a team. Visit First Grader Round Up to learn how to play and for two more fun and easy base 10 games!

Make a 10 (or a 15 or 20 or…)
One of the terrific things about math card games is that many of them can be customized for various concepts and skill levels. The original goal of this game was to look at the cards you’re dealt to find ones that add up to 10, but it can be changed to 15, 20, or any number you choose. You can also add to the difficulty by allowing addition and subtraction (for example, you could use 8+4=12 or 12-2=10). Get the rules and free printable mats here. Continue reading Become a Math Ace

Vooks Offers Free Read Alouds!

Feeling couped up? Try Vooks! Vooks is a great resource to use in the home with your children. Vooks is a streaming library of ad-free, kid-safe animated read-aloud storybooks, trusted by teachers and enjoyed by millions of children around the world every week. It is an entire library of storybooks, brought to life, to help encourage the love of reading.  You can sign up for Vooks and use the take-home resources to help keep your children reading during these extraordinary times.

Sign Up Link:

Take-Home Lesson Plans
Week 1
Week 2

Get Busy Bodies Moving and Learning!

As we keep seeing more and more school closures due to the Coronavirus, educational resource creators have been working to arrange for free, at home resources for families. They see how stressful this is on parents and want to help. Therefore, our friends over at Fluency & Fitness® are offering parents a way to sign up for FREE, unlimited access to their program for 3 weeks (after the time you register). Fluency & Fitness® lets students keep their skills fresh and get out that extra energy from being stuck inside, all while having some fun. To get access to this free resource, simply visit to fill out a form to get more details.

Join Make for Art Class Weekdays at 11am

Due to school closures, Make–an arts gallery, supply store and maker space in Puducah, Kentucky– will be offering free art lessons on their Facebook page each weekday for the next two weeks. These will be family oriented for a range of ages and utilize supplies typically found in your home.

Creativity can ease stress, expedite learning and allow us to see circumstances in different ways. Since we will all be home gathered together over the next few weeks unexpectedly, it is the perfect time to discover and grow new talent! Make’s creator will pull from her classical training as a BFA studio art major and 25 years as a professional artist to offer lessons. She loves to introduce process learning. In other words–she likes to show you how to do it AND get messy!

Join Make at 11am PST this Monday for the first lesson
Hint: For Monday, gather plain paper, a baking sheet, cooking spray/oil and pencils…we will be drawing faces!

Cincinnati Zoo Launches Daily Virtual Zoo Visits

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden knows now thousands (millions?) of kids are home from school, and while they are closed to the public right now too, they want to help make kids’ hiatus from school fun and educational. That’s why the zoo has announced that they’re hosting daily “Home Safaris” beginning today, March 16th, at 12pm our time every day. These Home Safaris will be broadcast live on Facebook and will feature a different animal and a related at-home activity. Be sure to follow the zoo’s Facebook page to be notified when the Home Safaris begin.

Miss the live videos? Find an archive of them here!

Lots of FREE Resources for Families

Following is a list of resources for your family that were passed along to me from a colleague I respect. Feel free to explore and share!

Media recommendations for entertainment
Hand-picked, age-appropriate media suggestions to keep the whole family engaged.
·         Best Music Apps and Games for Kids
·         50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They’re 12
·         Sibling Watch-Together TV
·         Best Documentaries for Kids and Families
Resources for at-home learning
Tools to help parents and caregivers keep kids focused and learning at home.
·         17 Apps to Help Kids Stay Focused
·         Apps That Act Like Math and Science Tutors for Homework Help
·         Free Educational Apps, Games, and Websites
·         Top Time-Management Apps
Stress-management resources
·         When everything feels overwhelming, check out tips for taking in rapidly changing news.
·         De-stress together with meditation apps for kids and families.
·         Get the blood flowing and elevate the mood with these 25 dance games 
·         Apps, websites, and video games that inspire running, jumping, and more to stay active.
·         Don’t forget to enjoy a device-free dinner or two.