Lesson Plans & Study AidsFun Learning Activities

teaching ideas

Talk about the structure of a good story: The BEGINNING--where people, problems, and places are introduced; MIDDLE: Where the problem becomes intense; END: the outcome/results. Ask: "HOW are the characters different (by the end) as a result of the problem and their own choices? Ask students to name a favorite book or movie; have them identify the big problem; how was/were the character(s) different by the end? What choices combined with the problem to cause the outcome? (A good story may not always have a happy ending, but there is always a connection between the outcome and the character’s choices).

While reading any story, stop at the climax and ask students, “WHAT do you think the character(s) will do next?” or “WHY do you think the character did that?” “HOW do you think s/he felt?” “WHAT do you think will happen next?” Write down how the students think the story will play out—see which ending is better!

Ask each student (age 10 & up) to write his/her life story as an essay—including any lessons they have learned (can be a single event). After you have reviewed the essays, ask the students to share them with the class (if the story has sensitive information—they can share someone else’s story, preferably that of a family member). THEN have the class write an essay on what they learned from their classmate's stories. THEN have each student interview a close relative and write his/her story—including any lessons gained—and share with the class. THEN have the class essay on what they learned from those experiences. THEN have students write an essay on a distant relative or ancestor (ask family about journals, records, genealogy. Search online: Familysearch.org) and share with the class. Finally, the class writes what they gained from these stories. HELP students become listeners—not just for info—but for understanding (and hopefully empathy).

For BUSINESS & CAREER IDEAS, see Learn & Earn (also, ChildrenEarn.com).

1.         Make treats together (lasagna counts is a treat!), smoothies—meals kids plan/prepare are more likely to be eaten. Let them play with it!
2.         Read aloud together; those of you who’ve done this know it gets especially fun as kids get older and texts more thrilling. Find and share stories from your family’s history (look online, ask relatives) or make some up.
3.         Don’t just watch a movie; pick a well-reviewed one that no one has seen, stop it half way in and have everyone write/say what they think will happen. See if your family can out-story the writer/director.
4.         PLAY! Card games/board games are often more fun than video games—and make for better interaction. Better yet, get out and shoot hoops, football, or catch, tag, hide ‘n seek, collect bugs; older kids can create an obstacle course or plan a foot race/treasure hunt.
5.         Drama night. Act out stories from your spiritual tradition, a one-act play, a family story, or a story written by the performers.
6.         Skills Night: Learn art, swimming, survival/emergency skills, auto shop, music.
7.         Wealth Night: Give each kid a quantity of cash, go to a store and comparison shop to learn budgeting, costs, and value.
8.         Talent Night: Share or teach art, vocal harmony, instruments, dance steps, drama
9.         Service Day: Bring treats or do yard work or other service for a single parent, an ill or widowed neighbor.
10.       Even chores can be a fun activity if adults participate (and there’s a known reward). Have a competition to see if child can pick up all clothes before adult/other child can pick up all toys (or trash). Do it to music. Prize need not be big (consider an outing with parent for a special job).

Ask About The Quality Time Myth.

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