Tag Archives: Parental Partnership

10 Fun Snow Day Ideas for Parents

By Zemen Marrugi, M.Ed.


Everyone loves an unexpected Snow Day every now and then. However, it is easy to run out of ideas on how to keep your children busy throughout the cold day, while at the same time keeping the content educational. Here are some fun activities to do with your children on the next unexpected Snow Day.

Crafts Corner
Take some construction paper, glue and markers and get creative with your child. If you are short on supplies, recycle old newspapers and make a papier-mâché project. Another inexpensive project would be to make a snowflake banner out of copy paper. Have a conversation on why it is important to recycle.

Couch Potato Movie
Get a couple of blankets and enjoy a movie of their choice. If you have more than one child, have them each add a movie title in a cup and randomly pick one for the whole family to enjoy. Use this moment to review their elapsed time skills. If we start the movie at 3:00PM and it will last an hour and a half, then when will the movie finish? Also, if we only have three hours before dinner, then how many movies can we watch?

Baker’s Delight
Nothing says snow day like the smell of freshly baked cookies. Have your child help you make breakfast, lunch or prepare the table for dinner. Utilize this time to review their measuring skills by using related vocabulary throughout the whole process like cups, quarts, gallons, etc. Do fun things like encouraging them to figure out how many cups are in a quart by pouring liquids from one into the other.

Write a Letter
Help your child write a friendly letter to their grandparents or a friend that moved away. This will help them practice what a friendly letter includes and also give them a great opportunity to keep in touch with a loved one. FYI-A friendly letter includes the date, heading, greeting, body, closing and signature.

Virtual Museums Tours
Some museums have virtual tours on their websites. Take a tour and learn something new with your child. Parents should also monitor local museums for any special exhibits coming to town regarding their child’s area of interest and grade level content.

Spelling Word Games
Keep a folder of your child’s spelling words for the whole year and review them throughout the school year. On days like this, take out the words and make a game out of them. For every word spelled correctly, they can earn a minute towards an incentive of their choice like playing their video games. Also, you can also place each word on an index card and have them practice putting them all in alphabetical order.

Make a Snow Man
Bundle up and let Frosty greet all of your neighbors with his corncob pipe and button nose. Have fun making a snow man and snow angels with your children and remember to take lots of picture because these are the moments they will cherish for many years to come.

Snow Candy
Growing up, my siblings and I loved eating the snow. Drizzle some syrup on the white snow and have fun comparing old fashion candy with today’s traditions. This can be a great lesson on discussing how modern technology has changed the way candy is made today. You can also take this time to add a quick Science lesson by analyzing the tiny snowflakes. Get a magnify glass and have your children critique different snowflakes and before you know it, they will realize that no two snowflakes are alike.

Flash Cards
Flashcards are easy and inexpensive to make and can be used for review of alphabets, vocabulary, colors, and shapes. Regardless of your child’s age, flash cards are a great way to review grade level content material. Place a vocabulary word on one side and the definition on the other side.

Educational Websites
Most schools are purchasing online subscriptions for their students to websites like studyisland.com, Accelerated Reader, Accelerated Math, etc. These websites provide personalized assignments to students based on grade level. A personal record is kept of each student’s completed assignments so parents can monitor growth and give their child an opportunity to complete additional work for much rigorous instruction.

Snow Days can be unexpected, but if you prepare some of these projects in advance, then it can also be a great opportunity to teach your child something new.  I recommend you complete some of these items in advance and store them in small plastic bags. These activities can also be fun during the weekends. Remember, above all things, keep it fun, keep it educational and keep taking those pictures because these are priceless childhood memories that they will love to look back on when they get older.

About Zemen Marrugi

Zemen Marrugi is the Founder/President of Those Who Can, Teach! and an experienced teacher and national presenter.  Marrugi has worked as a classroom teacher and has presented workshops on topics like differentiated instruction and the writing process.  In addition to working with elementary/middle school teachers, Marrugi has also presented workshops for college activities personnel at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Association for Student Advancement and the National Association for Campus Activities.  Click here for more information on Zemen Marrugi.

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Filed under Classroom Curriculum, Classroom Resources, Classroom Teachers, Curriculum, Education, Elementary, Middle School, Parental Partnership, Parents, Snow Day, Snow Day Ideas, Teaching

Teaching about the Presidential Elections

By Zemen Marrugi, M.Ed.

Yesterday, I started my Social Studies lesson with the question, “Is there a possibility that a Romney/Biden Administration can get inaugurated in January, 2013? If so, how?” I told the students to pounder on the question and to write their reflection on their papers. I was so impressed with all of the answers my students gave me.

I gave each student a ‘I voted’ sticker after our mock elections in class. They were very proud to voice their opinion and vote for their favorite candidate.

As a class, we have been huge fans of the Presidential Elections. We watched all three Presidential debates and analyzed the candidates’ behavior, response, and debating skills. We discussed the role of the popularity vote and the Electoral College and how the two influence the Presidential Elections. We read magazine articles on the different candidates and compared their tickets. Last year, my students even compared the four remaining Republican candidates and made our predictions on who was going to make it to Tampa, FL in August for the Republican National Convention. We also discussed the possibility of having a split vote in the Electoral College and what would happen if each candidate did receive 269 votes. As a teacher, I was so impressed with my students’ ability to have such educated feedback when so many higher-order thinking questions were tossed at them.

As the campaign trails come to an end, it is very important for educators to bring the role of the elections in the classroom. Having the students watch the debates and discuss them in the classrooms not only brought the curriculum to life, but also increased parental partnership because there were so many households where the parents watched the debates with their children. That powerful classroom that took place in their living rooms made the lessons even more productive because the information was reiterated by their parents and the students took ownership of the information they learned by sharing their opinion.

I have truly enjoyed following this year’s presidential elections with my students and encourage all educators, despite grade level, to always think outside the box when it comes to teaching. When your classes resume tomorrow, talk to your students about your voting experience and ask them questions about their relatives’ voting experience on Election Day. All depending on the age level, you can even discuss the different types of voting ballots from absentee to day of elections. Have a mock election where each student can vote for their favorite candidate. Make it fun, educational, and mostly importantly, relate the curriculum to the role it plays in their everyday lives. Here are some other ideas of how to incorporate the elections into your curriculum.

Lower Elementary

  • Students can color patriotic pages
  • Students can write friendly letters to local, state and federal election winners

Upper Elementary

  • Students can compare the popularity votes between states
  • Students can discuss the role negative advertisements played in the elections

Middle School

  • Students can review all of the different proposals and make predictions on why certain proposals were not passed
  • Students can discuss the role of the Electoral College and how the numbers are allocated between states

High School

  • Students can review a sample voting ballot from their local district and discuss how larger ballots can impact a voter’s frustration at the polls
  • Students can discuss why so much campaigning took place in the Swing States

To answer the question I asked my students yesterday-Yes, a Romney/Biden Administration can get inaugurated in January, 2013. To have this take place, an exact even split of 269 Electoral votes must first go to each candidates. The decision would then be sent to Congress with the Senate deciding on the President and the House of Representative deciding on the Vice-President. This means that the Senate can pick either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, while the House of Representative can pick either Joe Biden or Paul Ryan. This may result in either a Romney/Biden or Obama/Ryan Administration to be inaugurated in January, 2013. My students loved learning about this law

Teaching is always so much fun!

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