The San Diego Union-Tribune and San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) have launched Learning at Home Bingo, a partnership to support learning while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learning at Home Bingo will be available in paper format and digitally, since we not everyone has access to a device and the internet. The lessons integrate different content areas (math, science, English language arts, etc.) across all grade levels (K-12) so that the activities are accessible for all students and support teachers’ efforts.
"Our mission at SDCOE is 'Inspiring innovation in education,'" said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. "That doesn’t just mean we push technology into classrooms. It means we solve problems and work creatively to address challenges that keep students from getting what they need and deserve to succeed in life. In this case, the pandemic has closed campuses across San Diego County, but learning still needs to happen. We want to encourage students and families to continue learning with opportunities that support classroom culture and family engagement."
Jeff Light, publisher of The San Diego Union-Tribune, concurs. "Not every family has access to a computer. And not every family wants their kids on a computer all day. These are old fashioned word on paper. When combined with curiosity, creativity and critical thinking, they can make a big difference in people's lives. That is what learning is all about," he said.
Each bingo card presents five opportunities to engage in activities around a different theme (baking and beyond, indoors, nature, gadget, and outdoors), and each week will include a primary focus on a particular subject area. Our first week’s focus is science, but that doesn’t mean the activities are all experiments and formulas. The beauty of these activities is they let you see connections between subject areas, which don’t live in isolation in real life. So the first week’s lesson is on the science of melting ice, but the activities also incorporate art (drawing), writing (noting observations), and vocabulary (reporting results).
In developing the bingo cards, SDCOE experts intentionally included activities that can be done outdoors while following all the relevant public health orders. Taking time to get outside—whether it’s in your backyard, on a walk around your neighborhood, or on the porch of your apartment—is good for physical and mental health. Learning at Home Bingo uses the outdoors as an opportunity for students to notice what’s around them, sharpening observation skills and building language skills by having children describe what they see.
"None of us have lived through a situation like this before, so SDCOE’s curriculum experts got together to create an offering that would engage students and families in a way that is educational, but also fun and manageable," said San Diego County Board of Education President Alicia Muñoz. "We are thankful that The San Diego Union-Tribune is supporting our community in this way at a difficult time."
In addition to one task per letter, Learning at Home Bingo also includes extension activities that allow students and the families further exploration.
The cards give families and students some choice, whether that means doing the activities from B to O, or hopscotching around the card. The activities don’t require a lot of materials and equipment, and many can be done independently.
"The collaboration with The San Diego Union-Tribune has been a way for us to work together and support the families of San Diego County by providing lessons and activities that will help families unplug from devices for some quality family time and engage in meaningful learning related to the different content areas that their children study in school," said Dr. Shannon Baker, executive director of Curriculum and Instruction for SDCOE. "We feel like the activities are approachable by students and parents and encourage reflection and discussions amongst family members. Most of all, this collaboration is a way to get kids excited about learning during these difficult times. Our hope is that the lessons will inspire families to engage in these types of fun learning activities even when school is back in session."