Many thanks to educators around the State who’ve so generously shared resources. This list is adapted from resources collected from educators across the State and shared by the Maine Department of Education and by the Maine Curriculum Leaders Association.


   On the shortness of life

Things that are always great!

  • Read, read, read! Read fiction, read news, read upside down, read non-fiction, read together, read get the idea!

  • Write and draw!

  • Play board games and card games! Games are powerful learning, and lots of great practice for problem-solving, communication, strategy, and use of numbers.

  • Make recipes! Lots of great learning about nutrition, and also about ratio, proportion, scale, mixed numbers, and fractions!

Other Ideas:

  • Advocate for an issue you care about

  • Play Stratego with a deck of cards

  • Play War or Peace with a deck of cards (flip two cards and add, subtract, or multiply them to find your number to compare)

  • Play board games

  • Make BINGO boards and calling cards with equations, equivalent fractions, or inequalities

  • Practice math facts

  • Go outside and take a notebook. Draw and write about what you find.

  • Play Concentration with cards

  • Make a collage with different magazine cutouts

  • Play Guess My Number by doing greater than or less than a number guessed...using integers! (your number might be 25, 73, or -2,436,739)

  • Write a personal narrative about that time school was closed and you had to do schoolwork at home!

  • Read, read, read! When you read, think or write about questions like: Who are the characters? Where does the story take place? What happens in the beginning? Middle? End? What’s the problem in the story? Solution? Does this book remind you of another book you’ve read?

  • Write and draw your own book about your class, your family, your favorite things to do!

  • Find five new words, and learn what they mean!

  • Play Hangman (or play by building a snowman—guessing it before all parts are drawn on the snowman) with mystery words, mystery numbers

  • Play Twenty Questions

  • Draw or write about what Maine will be like in 100 years. What will you do to make that happen?

  • Write or find a poem and draw an image that reflects the main idea

  • Play HEX (use two colors - take turns marking spaces - the goal is to make a path linking your two sides of the board before the opposing player does).

(image from HexWiki)

(image from HexWiki)

Plan to interview someone about what life was like when they were little. Write down 5-10 questions that you will ask them. Take notes about their answers. Then, write a story about life as a kid in their time.

  • Create a junk sculpture using whatever found materials, write a page or two on what it means or represents (trash to treasure).

  • Create an image or write a creative description of Spring and the return of outdoor life.

  • Make a shoebox diorama to illustrate a concept you learned in Science, or an event you learned about in History/Social Studies, or a scene from your ELA fiction book.

  • Read an entire novel (either a class read or a self-selected book would work). Then write a review including the following sections (each of which should be labeled).

    • Overview: 5-7 sentences that "sell" your book to other potential readers. This should be your version of what might go on the back of a book to attract readers. You want to include the major characters and conflict but DO NOT give away the ending.

    • Intended Audience: what group or groups of people would you say the author wrote this book for? The options here are nearly limitless, but include some details/evidence from the text. Explain WHY you think an audience is most appropriate.

    • Opinion: what do you think about this book? Was it good? What did you like or not like? Be sure to use details/evidence here as well. There is no wrong answer, but support your ideas!

    • Theme: what is the underlying message of the book? What is the author trying to say about life or about how the world works?

  • Favorite Books: Reread a favorite fiction book from your own collection.

    • Jot down details/ideas/events you missed from previous reading(s); and/or

    • Share your observations with someone who has not read the book & encourage them to read it. After they read it, compare thoughts about the book: the characters, the setting, the plot, the theme, etc.; and/or

    • Using some character or place or event from the book and write a sequel; perhaps share the sequel.

    • If the book has no illustrations, draw/paint/or otherwise create a scene from the book.

  • Draw a floor plan that includes details and dimensions for both indoor and outdoor areas for a Wildlife Hospital or Wildlife Recovery Center. Consider designing the buildings and acreage for just one species (for example, just for giraffes) or for multiple species. Consider the needs of the animals, the human workers, and the human visitors.

  • As earth day approaches (April 22), your task is to interview an older adult about environmentally friendly ideas and/or programs that they witnessed. These programs may have been replaced with something else or may have been dropped altogether. Interview family members who are at least 40 years old (but the older the better) and ask them about things that have changed during their lifetime that were intended to help the environment. If they can't think of something, below are some things that may help stimulate their memory.

    • Many people associate the beginning of the environmental movement with the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson's groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, which spelled out the dangers of the pesticide DDT.

    • “Tetraethyl lead” was used in early model cars to help reduce engine knocking, boost octane ratings, and help with wear and tear on valve seats within the motor. Due to concerns over air pollution and health risks, this type of gas was slowly phased out starting in the late 1970’s and banned altogether in all on-road vehicles in the U.S. in 1995.

    • To improve fisheries and other aspects of streams and rivers, dams have been removed from waterways all around the world.

    • In 1978, the federal government banned all consumer uses of lead paint.

    • In Maine and other parts of the U.S, snow used to be dumped onto rivers because it was convenient and out of the way. Many places have made this illegal.

    • On February 12, 2002, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) announced a voluntary decision by industry to move consumer use of treated lumber products away from a variety of pressure-treated wood that contains arsenic by December 31, 2003, in favor of new alternative wood preservatives.

    • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are a family of chemical compounds developed back in the 1930's as safe, non-toxic, non-flammable alternative to dangerous substances like ammonia for purposes of refrigeration and spray can propellants. Their usage grew enormously over the years. One of the elements that make up CFCs is chlorine. Very little chlorine exists naturally in the atmosphere. But it turns out that CFCs are an excellent way of introducing chlorine into the ozone layer. The ultraviolet radiation at this altitude breaks down CFCs, freeing the chlorine. Under the proper conditions, this chlorine has the potential to destroy large amounts of ozone. As a result CFC use has declined significantly since the 1970s.

    • Here are some questions to ask your family members.

      • Describe something that was done in the past that was intended to help the environment? Can you remember why people opposed the change or were hesitant to change? In what ways was this a good idea? In what ways was this a bad idea?

      • Some people make environmental topics about politics, what do you think about politics and environmental issues?

      • Do you have any environmental concerns that you think are not being addressed?

      • How do you think the world would be different if there were no regulations that restricted human impact on the environment?

      • After the interview, write a couple paragraphs describing what you learned. Consider why you think people are often reluctant to adopt changes that are intended to help the environment. "

  • Develop an argument for the role of media in our society. Defend your ideas with examples and also include a counterclaim.

  • Draw a map of your favorite room in your house - or your dream home! Add all of the details that help make it your favorite room. Add measurements.

  • Create your own homemade microscope

    • Materials: Plastic cup (clear cup is best, though not required), clear plastic wrap, pair of scissors, rubber band, water, something to look at

    • Assembly:

      • Cut a small hole into the side of the cup (big enough to accommodate your specimen)

      • Put plastic wrap over the open top of the cup and use rubber band to secure it (should be tight across the top, like a drum)

      • Pour a little water onto the plastic drum at the top of the cup. There should be enough so there is a small pool of water.

      • Slide the specimen (i.e., leaf or twig or piece of yarn) into the hole at the base of the cup

      • Look through the puddle of water to see the specimen magnified

    • Questions for discussion: What did you notice? Did you see anything new? Why does this work? What happens when there is more light? What happens if there is more water or less water? What happens if the plastic at the top is not so tight, but is sagging?

  • Build a Rube Goldberg machine (complicated machine to perform a simple task) to solve a problem or complete a task (for example: turn off/on a light). In writing, state your task and keep notes on what you tried and revised about your machine. Take a picture or video if possible to share with your class.

  • "No screens challenge" Can you go an entire day without using any screen technology? Can you go 2 days? This means no electronic devices of any kind! After completing the challenge, write about your experience by doing the following: What did you think about this challenge? Doyou think it is a good idea to take a break from technology? Why Or why not? Make a list of all of the activities you did. What was most enjoyable? Why? What was the hardest thing? What made it so hard? Do you think this is something a child younger than you (think 2nd or 3rd grade) should also do? What is some advice you would give to a friend who wants to take this challenge?

  • Make a "bucket list" of the ten places in the world you would like to travel to during your life. For each location, write a summary of what you know about this place, what you want to learn about this place and why you want to go there. Draw a world map and with a series of arrows draw lines from one destination to another until you have planned your world wide route to all ten locations.

  • Research to compare/contrast viruses and illnesses in our history to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) now and how we are a community can help keep each other safe and healthy.

  • Emergence of Spring; observational journal writing and/or drawing regarding things outside the home, such as trees/plants/flowers, soil changes, animals appearing in the backyard, birds at the birdfeeder, and hours of light per day.

  • Create a quilt square (either 10x10 or 8x8) using paper or other materials, making sure to use a variety of colors and shapes. Mathematically describe the quilt square. In one paragraph, describe the quilt square using fractions, decimals, and percents. In the second paragraph, describe the pattern using shapes.