What is your favorite season? If you’re like many teachers, it’s Fall. Why Fall? Fall for teachers is like January for many others. Everything is NEW. A new school year, new lesson plan book, new crayons, and, most of all, new students!
With the pandemic, things are a bit different this year. Nonetheless, the enthusiasm surrounding Fall hasn’t dimmed. So whether your students are right there in front of you, learning remotely, or a combination of the two, refresh your memory about why Fall is so awesome by using the following ideas with your students!
Language Arts Fall Activities for Distance Learning
Apples are shiny reminders of Fall in red, green, and yellow. What a great jumping-off point for reading and writing. Young readers are looking for something engaging and exciting to keep their interest during reading.
While studying apples, we can learn about the folk hero Johnny Appleseed. This is my favorite book about Johnny Appleseed. The illustrations are superb. Would you like some crafts, reading passages, and games? Why not learn about Johnny Appleseed through a video read-aloud, too?
Now that we’ve learned about one folk hero, we can learn about another: Paul Bunyan!
With his blue Ox, Babe, at his side, Paul had many adventures living life in Minnesota. Whether fighting fearsome creatures or helping clear trees from the land, Paul Bunyan was never idle and bigger than life.
Another tall tale, about folk hero Pecos Bill, tells all about the cowboy’s heroic activities during Westward Expansion of the U.S.
Talk about the tall tale as a genre using this article! Still hungry for folk heroes? Check out John Henry, Davy Crockett, and more.
Teach Comprehension Skills
While you’re studying about tall tales, explore the differences between a folktale and a fable with students or practice key reading comprehension skills like compare and contrast or making connections between texts or between texts and the world.
Do you need to teach students how to make connections between a series of historical events? I have a great lesson related to the events leading up to the first Thanksgiving. It explores a timeline, builds vocabulary, and helps students see how events are related to one another. While it is a print resource, you can easily read the books online and have students manipulate and create a digital timeline in Google Slides.
Science Fall Activities for Virtual Learning
Apples are perfect for learning about science and a great springboard to deeper science concepts. Here are some ways you can teach about life cycles and plant growth using apples.
Explore Plant Growth & Life Cycles with Apples
Want to explore how apples grow? Check out this video read-aloud.
And while you’re at it, enjoy non-fiction author Gail Gibbons’ detailed book about apples.
Is your mouth still watering for even more knowledge about apples? Crunch through this informative website.
Science Stations about Plant Growth and Reproduction
We have science stations for second through fifth grades all about plant growth and plant life cycles. Use the above videos and books above to begin a study about plant growth and reproduction, then move onto a more detailed study using these science stations that are are available in printable PDF and digital Google Slides.
While our Fourth Grade Science Stations do not have a plant growth unit, we do have a station that explores photosynthesis in our Structure and Function Unit. This station is an extension of a third grade unit that explores pigments and chromatography.
More Science Ideas for Distance Learning
Did you know that San Francisco’s Exploratorium has a robust website full of science activities for children? Learn about easy science activities you can do at home including using recyclables and even cooking! Take a look at their apple-free-apple pie recipe here!
Another great resource is National Geographic Kids. Whether you’re interested in science, social studies, or reading, you’ll find it all right here. Studying the solar system? National Geographic Kids has tons of information, as well as online quizzes.
Social Studies Fall Activities
One of the social studies units I teach every fall is about life Long Ago and Now. We explore how objects and experiences were different 100 or 200 years ago and students learn to write compare and contrast paragraphs with scaffolded sentences and paragraph models.
Fall + Social Studies = Thanksgiving
Before diving into that turkey leg, find a plethora of Thanksgiving games on this website. While you’re there, investigate the story of Thanksgiving, including the role of Native Americans. Learn about cultures and customs, and play a few games along the way.
It certainly wasn’t easy starting a new settlement in the New World. Wondering whether or not you would have survived in Jamestown? Investigate these additional resources!
Learn about the History of the Macy’s Day Parade
Still not stuffed from Thanksgiving? Since 1924, Macy’s has held its Thanksgiving Day Parade for all to enjoy. Whether you think it’s corny or fabulous, learn more about the history of this American spectacle here. You’ll watch that parade through a different set of eyes after learning all the behind-the-scenes history.
Balloons Over Broadway is an excellent picture book to read aloud during this time as well!
Learn about the Election and Government
We can’t mention Fall without noting that 2020 is an election year. What a great opportunity to learn about the political process of our country! Find tons of resources about voting right here!
Math Fall Activities for Distance Learning
The key to being good at math is practice – whether via flashcards, paper, and pencil, or even the use of manipulatives. Luckily, there is a wealth of free, engaging websites out there that offer fun and interactive options for math practice.
Want to practice fractions through an engaging game with super graphics? For free? Funbrain is the site for you.
Social-Emotional Learning Activities for Distance Learning
Teachers and parents know too-well how stressed out our kids are. Certainly, our temporary situation with COVID is a source of anxiety, but this is nothing new. For adults and kids alike, life can be challenging. Here are some free websites that offer online games and other resources for children.
PBS Kids is always a winner when it comes to entertaining children while helping them learn something new. This story creator is sure to be a hit with young learners who want to express their emotions by writing.
Trouble recognizing emotions? This memory game gives fun practice connecting an emoji with its matching feeling.
In this activity, players connect human faces (choose girl, woman, man, or all faces) with very specific feelings, including disgust and fear.
There are countless quality, free opportunities for online learning for kids. Enjoy these offerings with your kids, and you’ll doubtless stumble onto a few new activities while you’re exploring!
Social-Emotional Learning Craftivities
While these aren’t digital activities, my Fall Leaves and Thankful Tree Craftivities are great for SEL as are my fun Halloween Crafts. These can easily be copied and sent home with students as well.
Other Fall Activities
Do you need some in-person ideas for fall? Check out these resources that will meet your needs during this changing time.