By Jennifer Lee
Using Scholastic Online Learning with Kids at Home
Are you a parent in Singapore who has children at home because of the coronavirus? Are you looking for free and trusted resources online to help your child learn? Scholastic has been helping children learn for generations and has free resources for parents of children from preschool to high school available for free online! The website can be found here and parents start by choosing their child’s grade level.
What Happens Once I Click the Grade Level?
The Scholastic website will give you a weekly lesson guide on books, activities, and videos for your child. You can always add to the suggested material. For example, if you click pre-K for Week 1 you will get a suggestion on a theme involving rabbits. You can also supplement the theme by reading “White Rabbit’s Color Book”. Parents can springboard into a color changing activity for science after reading this book. Parents can find several fun color-changing experiments online. The Scholastic website offers approximately thirty days’ worth of material.
The material on Scholastic connects within the theme including not just reading and literature, but math, science and other subjects as well. For example, in Week 1 of pre-K, there is a math and measurement activity involving rabbits. Scholastic will provide the needed materials for the suggested activity.
In this particular activity the parent needs masking or painter’s tape and a measuring tape, and parents will help pre-K children (ages 3-5) understand measurement by introducing them to how far rabbits can jump! The parent will need an open space away from furniture. The parent can make “jumping stations ” for different animals using pictures for the various animals (rabbit, grasshopper and kangaroo).
The child uses masking tape to mark the starting point and the final distance for how far each animal can jump. The parent can use a tape measure to help the child measure the distance (4 feet for a rabbit, 5 feet for a grasshopper, 6 feet for a frog and 15 feet for a kangaroo). Parents can help their child compare their jumping distances to that of the animals (or comparing between animals) and introduce mathematical terms such as: compare, larger than, width, longest, shortest, measure, etc.
Using Scholastic with Upper Grade Levels
Scholastic isn’t just for younger elementary students, Scholastic has materials for parents that have children up to grade nine. When children are at this level of school, they can have interactive projects. Let’s examine week 2 for grades 8-9 (equivalent to Secondary 2-3), Scholastic introduces students to robot dogs vs. real dogs. The material introduces math, reading, and other materials.
Want to challenge your child? There are ways to use STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in this lesson. Have your child build a robot dog! You can order a robot kit from here. If you cannot afford to buy a kit, there is an easier DIY solution. Parents can bring in the mathematical and science concepts together for an all-in-one lesson! To challenge your child, have them write an essay on how they would build a robot dog. What would their robot dog do? Why? Challenge your child to invest in their robot dog by proving their point. How is their dog better than a real dog?
How can you relate the Scholastic materials with real life? Parents can have their child make a budget for their make-believe dog. What are the purchase costs, food costs, vet costs and other daily expenses? Do you live in an apartment with restrictions? Bring up possible pet fees or not being able to have a pet. How does having a robot dog compare? Are there benefits? What about the downsides? The entire unit is looking at how technology has changed human history and how rapidly evolving technology is changing even now. This can even be related to today’s events: the coronavirus. Because of the coronavirus, the need for remote technology is expanding rapidly. Will online vets be the next thing? Can vets diagnose dogs remotely?
During Week 3, the child will learn how television has changed people, including viewing habits. The parent can make a project by having the child create their own television show for today’s viewer. The parent can involve other parents to make it a group project. Let the children film their show and act it out. Have students figure out a potential budget for their show (prime time costs more than public TV). How much cost is needed for sets, cameras and film? What is the message and plot? There are many ways to tie in different areas into one lesson or unit.
Tie in Real Life with the Material
It’s important for parents to connect what children are learning with their everyday lives. The common refrain “when will I ever use this?” can be stopped if parents provide real examples of using the material.
For example, in Week 2 for grades 6-9, children are asked what personality type they are. Parents can relate this with not only their child, but themselves. For example, parents can tell children about the Myer-Briggs test, one of the oldest psychology tests to sort people into different groups. It’s from this test that the common words “extrovert” and introvert come from. These are important to know because a more introverted person would not want to become a public speaker for a living.
Parents can help children figure out their personality type so that they can achieve the best in group settings. A more extroverted child can be the group spokesperson, for example. Parents can also help children understand what it means to be productive. Parents can relate that knowing your personality can help when you get into the workforce by picking job hours that work best. People who feel the best at night will want a job with later hours.
Supplementing Scholastic Material
Even though Scholastic offers many resources, I would suggest supplementing the material. For example, in Week 1 at the pre-K level, students learn about rabbits. There are virtual field trips available from zoos and animal organizations. Take advantage of these! Find videos from rabbit or kangaroo experts. National Geographic has many resources available. Upper grade students can also take virtual field trips. Have students watch dog shows or other educational materials related to the unit. There are many great hands-on experiments for all grade levels widely available.