home learning, Maker Space, Teaching

Unplug Your Home Learning

Home Learning is every teacher’s dream! We have the opportunity to show the learner how to apply their knowledge to their everyday environment. Once the environment is incorporated into the learning on a continuous basis, students will start to practice this type of thinking even when the assignment is long gone.

  1. Use Maker in Your Curriculum– make the most of home learning by asking students to create with household recyclables and trash. ‘Making’ may seem like craft time, but there is research to prove that the process of creating helps the brain synthesize information.  Psychology Today notes the importance of this-

Physical acts are a way of working out our thoughts. Psychologists are now recognizing something that artists have intuitively always known, that we think with our hands as much as our brains.

Here are a few Maker activities that can align with your curriculum.

  •  Read a story aloud, stop after the problem, and then ask students to build something that solves the problem in the story using household trash and recyclables.
  • Write like a serial killer by cutting words out of packaging and creating a motto for the protagonist in the book you’re reading.
  • Symbolic thinking requires more brain power- find 5 things in your house that represent the downfall of the Nazis in WWII, explain your thinking for each.
  • Nonfiction articles about world events can be more meaningful when you have to create the solution to the problem in them. Use found objects to create a solution to a worldwide problem. Write a paper to give more information.
  • What’s the motivation for the villain? Make a vision board for the antagonist in your book or the bad guy in a history lesson using cuttings, scraps and drawings. 
  • Model it! Sometimes there’s a need to represent and manipulate events to understand them. Make a 3-D representation to create a better understanding.

2. Create a Comic Book about a history assignment. History can be hard to place all the actors, settings and main events. What better way to remember than to draw them all out and put them in order in a comic book?

3. Play Word Games using only the words on a household object- got a bottle of shampoo? Have students write the title of the object on their paper and challenge them to use the letters to create as many new words as possible. Working on a word family? Tell them to highlight these words in their list of created words and give themselves double points for every word family word.

4. Math is Everywhere– 

  • Find all the items that are squares in the house, then use them to build a castle!
  • Use the labels from packages to calculate the number of calories in the entire cupboard.  
  • Create a survey on any topic and ask family members to answer- noodles, bread, or dumplings, which is better?  
  • Decide which room in the house has less right angles- justify.
  • Where did all the time go- write out a daily schedule, then notate how long each activity took.  
  • Who’s the tallest in their family? Who’s the shortest? Measure everyone’s heights, then convert their heights to another unit. Add up their heights and draw a new family super hero who towers over others.  
  • How many Cheerios are in a box, measure 1 oz. and then estimate.   How many apples would it take to fill up your entire fridge, find the volume of your fridge and the “volume” of an apple, then estimate.

5. Write a Mystery– A home can have adventures in it waiting to happen. Mom is in the kitchen, Dad is in the living room, kids are in the bedroom…… there’s a crash by the front door. Who Done It? Investigate the whereabouts of all parties and give a mystery analysis Clue style.

6. Draw a New Reality– Students draw a picture of a room in their house, then imagine it in another landscape.  Add a desert to the middle of the kitchen or a rainforest, perhaps outer space would look good in the bedroom closet.  Imagine and draw.

7. Book Spine Poetry– use the books around your house to create poetry. Stack the books flat with the spines aligned. How can you rearrange the books to create a poem?

8. Sketchnote! This is a powerful visual notetaking process that engages the brain. Sketchnoting is different from just drawing a picture about the book at the end of the story. Sketchnoting asks the artist to constantly add to their drawing to show progression of learning. Read a few pages of a book, then draw a few pictures to show the concepts learned, repeat.  Here’s a quick video to show you this learning process. 

9. Create Art using inspiration from packaging. Students find elements of art in packaging around their house that they’ve studied, then use those elements to create their own art.

10. Create a Playlist for a character in a book. What songs best represent this character and why? Go old school and write it all down on paper.

Bonus– multiply by friendly numbers! Ask students to work with numbers they know. They write down their parent’s phone number, then multiply each number by the next= 134-678-9101 is 1x3=3x4=12x6=72 etc. Find out which is larger, the sum of their parent’s phone number or their friend’s. Then multiply those sums for some serious practice.

One of the most important things to remember is, Home Learning is not going to look the same as learning done in class.  We can work on the same standards and objectives, but the learning should take advantage of the environment. I’m not saying that all learning can be done this way, but certainly many lessons can.  The advantage of home learning is that the learning will be more authentic to the real world and will help students to connect their learning to everyday situations. Essentially, home learning makes it easier for teachers to connect learning outcomes with life, which is our real goal in education.

I would love to hear the ideas you come up with for connecting curriculum to unplugged learning at home. Tweet me @1hightechteach

“Think With Your Hands”. Psychology Today, 2020, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/connect-creativity/201408/think-your-hands.

Images.App.Goo.Gl, 2020, https://images.app.goo.gl/LYQR1BYzVz3GrjZv8.

“Image: Mini Sketchnotes Tutorial – Sketchnote Love”. Images.App.Goo.Gl, 2020, https://images.app.goo.gl/HkqqVuQsJmLCwXLV7.

Teaching, Technology Integration

10 Tips for Home Learning with Seesaw

Coronavirus, Snow Days, Monsoon season, rained out? Educators everywhere are trying to provide a quality education for their students. While nothing is as good as in person, we can make home learning meaningful by following a few tips while using Seesaw.

  1. Make it hands-on-  The need to manipulate, observe, and experiment don’t go away just because students are at home. They do hands on learning at home all the time through their natural world.  How can we, as educators, capitalize on their home environment to bring forth quality learning?
  2. Use the camera- Ask students to take pictures of their hands on learning. Use the SocialMediaLittleFox_17camera feature to inspire students to find connections to their learning in their environment at home. We know students need to practice their presentation skills, ask them to give their book report or biography through video.
  3. Involve the parents- Parents want to know what their students are learning. Asking parents to play a game with their student or build a terrarium allows students to learn with the most influential person in their lives.  Capitalize on their time with loved ones by assigning an interview, encourage them to share 5 fascinating facts about their relative.
  4. Relevancy- Studying multiplication facts? Learning about patterns? So many of the items in a household can be used for learning. Asking students to create groups of their favorite toys, take a picture, and then write a word problem about it will engage them more authentically than any worksheet.  Their own backyard holds Science lessons waiting to be discovered.
  5. Keep it simple- We all want to do the cool projects. What a great time to have students try that new app! No, this is NOT the time for new apps and cool tools! This is the time for consistency and routine.  Students should be using familiar technology so they can learn new content. If you introduce new technology and the student does poorly, you won’t know if it is because of the comprehension of the content or the ability to use the new tool. Not only could this be bad for comprehension, it may frustrate the parents at home who are helping their students learn.  Some parents are not tech savvy and do not understand new technology. 
  6. Multiple Page Documents- Are you uploading a multi-page document for student SocialMediaLittleFox_7work? Make it difficult for students to forget about the next page.  On each page, insert a text box or symbol that reminds them to go to the next page. A big box with NEXT PAGE—> should do the trick. Also, know there are limits to multi-page uploads. 10 pictures, 1 pdf (can be multipage), 1 Google slides/doc/sheets, or 1 video.
  7. Activities- Seesaw activities are amazing! Make sure that you, as the teacher, try any activity you assign. Some activities have directions that are not clear, you may wish to make an instructional video for these activities.  Also, if students have never used Seesaw activities, it may be difficult to obtain quality work. Teaching students routines when using Seesaw activities and the kind of quality you expect, may be something that is challenging for the first time remotely.
  8. Collaborate-  Encourage students to comment on each other’s work. Ask them to go SocialMediaLittleFox_29further than simple compliments. Providing sentence stems like, I see…, I think…, I wonder…, can assist students with quality feedback.  If you haven’t ever tried the copy/edit feature, this can also be a valuable way for students to learn from each other and extend on each others’ knowledge. Ask students to create a visual word problem using toys, money, the clock, etc. Then have another student copy/edit a peer’s word problem and solve.  What a great way for students to learn from each other and with each other.
  9. Reach out– There are Seesaw classrooms all over the world! Use the blog feature SocialMediaLittleFox_38for students to connect and learn from others, no matter the time zone. Find a classroom to blog with here.


10. Set a goal!- At home learning can be tricky! It is much harder for students to be focused at home (adults too).  Ask students to set a daily goal for their learning. Perhaps they aim to have all Math done before lunch time or they attempt to read over all their assignments for the day right after breakfast. Reminding students to set a goal for completion of work each day with help them create a routine.

Seesaw’s resource center is full of short, easy help videos. If you have a question, you can easily find an answer!