Prevent Winter Break Brain Freeze!

Hi PS11…even though Winter Break is upon us – there are tons of great EASY WAYS to keep our children’s brains engaged and learning while they are away from school!

1. Read, read, and read some more. Read anything! You could try:

  • Novels
  • Comic Books
  • Instructional manuals from your holiday presents
  • Holiday recipes
  • Magazines
  • Billboards on the road
  • In flight magazines

ANYTHING! Just read!

2. Do some Science Experiments. Below you will find a list of winter themed experiments.

3. Cook together to sneak in some math, science and more! In fact cooking doesn’t only help cognitive development, it helps social/emotional and physical development as well! You could talk about:

  • Number concepts
  • One-to-one correspondence
  • Simple addition
  • Patterning (layered salads, kabobs)
  • Measurement
  • Data collection, organization, and representation
    (voting on who wants a particular recipe or
  • Simple fractions (half, whole, quarter)
  • Consistency/Viscosity
  • The list goes on!
  • Here are some links to kid friendly recipes:

4. Play games that cause them to ask and answer questions.

  • 20 Questions:
    • Traditional: One person secretly thinks of either an animal, mineral, or vegetable. The other players then take turns asking yes-or-no questions, such as “Can it fly?” or “Does it grow in the ground?” After the players have asked 20 questions, each player gets a chance to make a guess.
    • Reverse 20 questions: 1 player chooses an place, item, animal, Minecraft character, Princess, Pokemon, etc. and gives clues to the other players and they try to guess what thing the player selected. “This animal lives in the sea. It has rows of sharp teeth. It has an amazing sense of smell.” (Shark)
  • The Animal Name Game: Ages 6 and up: One person names an animal. Then each person in order has to name another animal (no repeating!) that starts with the last letter of the previous animal named. There are no winners or losers in this game. With older children, try the game with TV shows, or geographical categories such as cities or countries.

December’s Book of the Month

One of the most powerful tools in the promotion of peace is education. Education can promote the values of tolerance, mutual understanding, and respect for others. It can unlock the peace that lies in our hearts.
– Richard H. Solomon, President of the United States Institute of Peace

A Little Peace is a visually stunning book with an important message. The spare, refreshing text winds its way around and through full-color photographs. Each vividly captures the universal emotions and peaceful pursuits of everyday people around the world: a young girl in Kenya smiling into a mirror; a group of waving schoolchildren in Bali; two old men relaxing in a marketplace in Afghanistan.”

About the Author
Barbara Kerley is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal and now lives in northern California with her husband and daughter. She wrote this book with a conviction that we each can make a difference: “I believe that peace doesn’t just rest in the hands of politicians and world leaders. We all have the power to make the world more peaceful.”

Here are some ways you could discuss this book at home:

1. Check out resources from Barbara Kerley’s Website:

  • Discuss ways in which people can spread a little peace.  Activities might include saying hello to a new student at school or child in the neighborhood, volunteering in a community group, or reading a book about a culture different than your own.  Then, ask children to make Peace Posters of different ways to spread a little peace.
  •  Discuss how learning about other cultures can promote tolerance and peace.  Then enjoy this National Geographic’s education website. It has lots of resources and lesson for students and adults.

2. Read an Interview with Barbara Kerley. 

3. Create Peace Poems and Picasso Doves (activity for 3-5)

4.Check out United States Institute of Peace

5.Check out Peace Corps Website

6.Recite this Peace Pledge

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7. Make a Peace Craft for example, this Gratitude Wreath ROCKS!


Multiplication Snowball Fight!!!

Hey upper grade students, here is a fun winter themed game to practice your 0-12 multiplication facts. It’s important that you know simple multiplication facts because knowing them makes it easier to solve more complex multiplication problems – so make sure you practice!

Families, for your reference I have included the January benchmarks for grades 3-5.

By the end of January….

3rd grade should be able to fluently multiply by 0, 1, 2, and 10

4th grade should be able to fluently multiply by 0-9 and 12

5th grade should be able to fluently multiply by 0-9, 12, any multiple of 10, and decimals by 10, 100, 1,000