Snow Day Activities and Resources

snow-woman-1224043_960_720Snow days are great when you’re a kid—a day off from school to play in the snow! But for a parent, it can be a challenge to keep the kids busy throughout the day. Edutopia has resources for teachers and families to turn snow days into learning opportunities. Here are some highlights.

How Snowflakes are Formed

You may have watched a TED talk or two, but TED-Ed talks are short videos from educators brought to life by professional animators. If you’ve ever had a child ask how snowflakes form or why they are shaped the way they are, this five-minute video on the science of snowflakes answers those questions and more. To go beyond the video, the National Snow & Ice Data Center has a Snow Science page that explains even more about snow (e.g., the types of snow crystals, the types of snowfall, and the types of snow formations), with lots of pictures to go with the easy to understand descriptions.

Do Some Science Experiments

The Exploratorium in San Francisco was one of the first hands-on science museums. The museum also provides Science Snacks on their website—short, easy to do experiments that use common household items. There are well over 100 experiments on the site, so find one or two that interests your budding Einstein.

Snow Day Bingo

Edutopia created a Snow Day Bingo card with items to check off throughout the day. It is probably not an accident that “Watched Frozen” is on the card twice.

Don’t let a snow day be just shoveling and worrying about how to keep the kids entertained. Check out the full article for over a dozen activities to fill a snow day with more than just playing video games and eating snacks.


New Guide Helps Hispanic Families Navigate the College Application Process

graduate-2-0-cover-spanishLatino students are graduating high school and enrolling in college at the highest rates in our history, and they are now the largest minority group in our nation’s colleges and universities. However, only 23% of Hispanic adults 25 and older have an associate degree or higher, and only 12% have a masters or doctorate.

In order to better support Hispanic students in completing high school and enrolling in college, the US Department of Education released ¡Gradúate! 2.0: A College Planning Guide to Success on October 11th. The guide is a follow-up to ¡Gradúate!: A Financial Aid Guide to Success. Both guides are available in English and Spanish and are useful to all families. The new guide outlines the steps that students should take through high school up through heading off to college, including:

  • Preparing for College
  • The Process of Applying and Enrolling
  • Paying for College
  • Preparing for the First Semester of College

Students who are the first in their family to go to college face challenges that those whose parents went to college don’t deal with and may need extra support, whether it is taking the classes needed to be accepted into college, understanding the application process, or applying for financial aid. This new guide will provide these students and their families with information and resources to navigate the process of going to college.

Turn Your PTA into a Social Media Powerhouse

aa9076cd-banner2-300dpi_0qo0ae0qo0ae000000Social media is the place for PTAs and other organizations to engage their members. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or some other platform, social media lets PTAs keep their members informed about events, share information, and connect in ways that printed newsletters in backpacks never could. Now, Skills Platform and several nonprofit social media experts have collaborated to create The Charity Social Media Toolkit.

The toolkit is a free online resource to provide not just the fundamentals and tactics for social media use but also inspirational case studies from across the nonprofit sector. The toolkit will help your PTA develop a social media strategy, determine what platforms to use, and leverage those tools to benefit your PTA. Chapters include:

Each section or chapter concludes with three top tips and three links to further reading on the subject. Check out the full toolkit and turn your PTA into a social media powerhouse.

New PTA Election Guides Help PTA’s One Voice Be Heard—Add Yours

takesactionheader_final_1050px-crop-2Election Day is November 8th, and given the state’s budget crisis, your school district may have a referendum on the ballot. Your PTA may also want to ask candidates about their positions on education or other issues affecting children. Illinois PTA has covered the do’s and don’ts of elections for PTAs, and now National PTA has teamed with Nonprofit VOTE to create election guides and other materials to help PTAs navigate the legal ins and outs of nonprofit election laws.

These new resources include a timeline to help your PTA organize itself for its election-related community engagement activities, as well as:

Nonprofit VOTE has also created a series of webinars and a wealth of election-related resources to help explain the details of nonprofit election activities.

For over a century, PTA advocates have changed the world for children, from child labor laws, to the juvenile justice system, the school lunch program, and more. Add your voice to those who have raised theirs before. Advocate for local issues with your PTA, join the Illinois PTA Takes Action Network to stay up to date on Illinois issues, and plan to attend Illinois PTA Advocacy Day in Springfield on Tuesday, November 15, 2016.