Messages from our J at School Friends

  • J at School – JCC Chicago

  • Join our friends from J at School for a fun Trivia Challenge. Get ready to race for the answers!

    Message from our J at School Friends

    Dear J at School Families,

    I hope you and your loved ones are staying well and taking good care. While we fully respect the difficult decision to keep Illinois schools closed through the end of the school year, the news broke our hearts. We’re missing our J at School students every day and we’re disappointed that we won’t spend the end of the school year together.

    Your children are amazing! Through this most unusual experience, they will gain essential life skills including resilience, flexibility and creativity. Come this Fall, and the arrival of the new school year, our J at School staff, in partnership with the schools, will be ready to meet the children where they are to support their academic and social needs.

    Just prior to the announcement of school being closed for the school year our J at School staff put together some more activities for J at School students. Whether you engage your child in the activities or not, please let them know that the staff misses them. The J at School staff notes in the activity emails were done prior to the announcement of school closing for the school year. Regardless of the hope we had to resume the program the heartfelt notes do express how much we miss the children. We know that e-learning cannot be easy for families, but all of J at School staff is proud of our students and we are cheering you on every step of the way.

    We’re planning to open registration for J at School Before Care, After Care, Recess and Enrichment for the 2020-21 school year in July, so please look for information this summer. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the program, please contact our Customer Solutions team for any needs now or in the coming months.

    Please tell your children how much we are missing them!

    Take care of yourself and your families,

    Joan Beadle-Director, J at School

  • A Message from Ms. Gabriella

    Hey everyone! I hope everyone is staying happy and healthy.  Here’s a little fun activity to do while you’re at home.

     Homemade Playdough


    Flour, Salt, water, and food coloring

    Step 1: Gather flour, salt, water, and food coloring.

    Step 2: Watch the video

    Step 3: Follow the video step by step to make your playdough 

    Here’s a video from Ms Gabriella, Enjoy!

  • A message from Ms. Jamie

    Message #2

    Hi second graders! Hope you are staying healthy! 

     Four Corners 

    1 – A family member should number the four corners of the room you are playing in and put a sign up in each corner with the number (1-4).

    2 – A family member should make space at the sides of the room/clear the area near all four walls so children can move easily between corners.

    3 – A family member should ask for a volunteer to be “it.” The volunteer gets to stand in the middle of the room and count down from 20.

    4 – family member should explain the rules of the game (The person in the middle will stand with their eyes close and count down from 20 to 0, everyone else moves to one of the four corners very quietly, when the person in the middle finishes counting, they choose a number between 1 and 4 with their eyes still closed, anyone standing in that corner has to sit down, anyone who isn’t in a corner when they call a number also has to sit down.)

    5 – Keep playing with remaining people, play until there is only one winner.

    Hey guys! I hope you guys are staying safe at home. I will be looking forward to seeing you guys as soon as school starts again.

    Message #1

    Hello Second Graders! I hope everyone is enjoying their time at home and keeping up with school work as much as possible. 

     I know it can be a little boring to be stuck at home, so I wanted to give you something fun to do either by yourself or with your family!

     Go to this link: and listen to the story “A Bad Case of Stripes,” read aloud by Sean Austin. After you listen to the story, answer this question: How did Camilla change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story? Use at least two details to support your response. Send me back what you write!

     Something else that might be fun: With this link, you can watch the animals at the San Diego Zoo through live cameras!

     Hope to hear from you soon!


  • A message from Ms. Courtney

    Hello you all! It’s Ms. Courtney! I hope you all are making the best of your time and still having fun!

     Quick Catch

    Material Needed:

    Tape, Paper cups, Tennis ball 

    Step 1: Someone will lay out tape to represent students standing 3 feet apart, 5 feet apart, 7 feet apart, and 9 feet apart.

    Step 2: One person will first stand at the 3 feet apart mark on the floor holding one empty plastic cup in one hand (hold other hand behind their back).

    Step 3: One person will start the game with a tennis ball in their cup and will try to toss it into the their partners cup. If student makes it, the other student has to try at the same floor mark. (If either student misses they have to do 5 jumping jacks individually).

    Step 4: After both players achieve getting the ball into their partner’s cup, both will step back to the next marking.

    Step 5: If either player miss getting the ball into their partner’s cup at the new marking, they have to do 10 jumping jacks or 5 push ups. (Each marking has a new rule if you miss).

    Step 6: Once the new marking is achieved, students can step back to new marking further away from each other. 

    Here’s a video from Ms. Courtney, Enjoy!

  • A message from Mr. Felipe

    Message #2

    Hey guys! I hope you guys are staying safe at home. I look forward to seeing you as soon as school starts again.
    Cereal puzzle

     Material Needed:

    1. Scissors 

    2. Empty cereal boxes (at least 2 different kinds)

      Grab Scissors and cut cereal boxes in to triangle pieces. Then scatter the pieces on table. Allow the children to put cereal boxes together 

    Here is a link to give you a little more information. 

    Message #1

    It’s Mr. Felipe I hope all you guys have been staying at home and being safe. I hope that
    everybody has remembered to scrub and wash their hands and not touch their face because I
    want to see everyone strong and healthy when we get back to school. I hope that this virus ends soon so we can get back to school and finish this school year strong together.

     There’s plenty of things to choose from. It also contains instructions and materials. I recommend doing a family tree so you can find out about all your relatives you didn’t know about! Or you can create your own uno cards and play uno! These are just a few ideas so you guys don’t get bored.  Let me know how it goes!

  • A message from Mr. Jeff

    Message #2

    Hey J at School friends at Pulaski, Mr. Jeff here, I hope everyone is staying safe and still having fun. My nephew actually showed me a really fun activity he did at home. This activity could involve going outside. Please check first if you can go outside and make sure to take all the appropriate measures before and after. Enjoy and see all of you soon.

    Stamp With Real Leaves And Markers

     Material Needed: 

    Markers, Fallen Leaves, Paper, cards or fabric

     Note:When you’re looking for leaves for this project, try to find whole leaves that are pretty fresh. If they are too old,  they will be crunchy and won’t work. Also, try to find smaller leaves because if you use large leaves the marker will dry on the leaf before you have time to fully color it for stamping.

     It’s really simple to stamp with real leaves and markers! Start by picking out a leaf and the marker you want to use. Turn the leaf over onto a paper towel or piece of scrap paper, then color in the back of the leaf with the marker. You want to color on the back of the leaf because that’s where all of the veins are, and that will get you the most detail in your stamped leaf.

     Make sure to color the whole leaf, all the way to the edges, but don’t worry too much if you see bare areas around the veins where the marker didn’t reach; that’s what will make the details in your stamped leaf.

     Once the leaf is colored, turn it over onto a piece of paper or fabric, or whatever you want to stamp, and press down firmly with your fingers all over the leaf.

     TIP: Work quickly while coloring; you want the color from the marker to still be wet on the leaf before you turn it over to stamp with it. If the marker dries on the leaf, it will not leave a good stamped impression.

     Gently peel the leaf away from the paper, and you’re done!

    Message #1

    Hello J at School friends and families, 

    I hope you are all doing great during this time. I know this is a new normal for all of us, and having to stay home for such a long time can be difficult. It can also serve as a great time to learn a new skill or pick up on a cool hobby. Something I enjoy doing, which is fun to learn, is juggling. Juggling is one of the best gross motor activities for teaching hand-eye coordination, and there is no better time to practice than
    right now during our quarantine.

    WHAT YOU NEED: balls or small items with similar size and weight (I recommend a ball of socks)

    WHAT TO DO: The first step is to familiarize yourself with your tool. Toss it around and decide if the “ball” is the right size
    for your hand. (I recommend over your bed/couch so you don’t have to keep bending over to pick it up when you drop the balls)

    Step 2: Toss one ball for a while to get the feel of juggling. Start passing one ball from one hand to the other in the form of an arc. The ball should come to eye-height or higher. Your hands should not move very much, so aim to keep your elbows at your hips. Before you move to the next step, you should be able to throw the ball with a similar arc every time, and it should end up close to your hand. Make sure you can do this with both hands.

    Step 3: Once you have mastered the toss, it is time to try two balls at the same time. Start by throwing a regular toss from one hand to the other, just like in step 2. This time instead of just catching the ball, you must throw the second ball with your other hand. The hard part of juggling is not to panic and make a bad throw. Be calm and make a regular throw just as the first ball passes the top of its arc. Now just catch the second ball, and you have successfully mastered the only step in juggling. Practice until it is second nature.

    Step 4: Now that you have mastered an exchange, it is time to try three balls. This takes time and patience, but eventually, you will get it. It is the same as step three, but this time, you have another ball. Start with the hand that has 2 balls in it. Now instead of catching the second ball, throw the third just as you did the second (unless it was a bad throw). Now catch the second ball. Then repeat all these steps as if ball three were ball one. Juggling is a simple pattern repeated over and over again. You can now juggle! If you have gotten this down congrats, but if you don’t do not feel sad. Continue to practice and eventually you’ll get it. Once you learn how to juggle 3 balls, you can move onto different patterns and even onto various objects.

    I encourage you to capture the concentration and determination of mastering the skill of juggling in a picture or video and send it to us.

    Can’t wait to juggle with you very soon,
    Mr. Jeff

  • A message from Ms Denise

    Message #2

    Hi girls and boys, I hope you’re all doing really well.  I know it might be a little bit boring sometimes because you’re not seeing your friends!  I found a really neat project that I think is very cool!  

    Origami Star

     The easiest and best paper to make this star out of is a recycled gift bag, because it is just the right thickness, and usually it will have a beautiful design and color on it.  So, one large-ish gift bag, a pair of scissors, and some school glue (in the demo, they use a glue stick, which would work great.  That’s all you need!

    It’s six simple steps!  I’ve attached a great video that demonstrates the process perfectly.  I have made lots of these stars myself!  I made a bunch of these and hung them from the light fixture over my dining room table.  It’s a really pretty, simple decoration.

    This activity is great for children who are a little bit older, as it requires a bit of manual dexterity.  But with mom or dad’s help, it could be fun for a child of any age.

    Message #1

    I want to say hi to all the boys and girls who are part of the After School Program at Pulaski! So…”Hi!” I hope you are all finding cool stuff to do, and having a lot of fun! I really miss seeing you (and I miss seeing all the other teachers, too!) Since I’m always drawing pictures, you know that I love art. In fact, I like it so much, that I have gone back to school to become an Art Teacher. For me, this is lots of fun, because I always liked school, and I really love drawing, painting, sewing, really anything that is creative. I LOVE working at J at School, mostly because I enjoy talking to kids. I have learned more from you boys and girls in a few short months, than I have learned in college. Haha! Well, maybe that’s not quite true! But the stuff I have learned in college is really kind of boring, compared to the things I have learned from you. 

    I devised a project for you boys and girls. It’s an easy way to make your own coloring sheets. All you need are a few items from the recycling bin (or the kitchen cabinet,) a sheet of blank paper, a pencil, two markers, and a pair of scissors. 

    I have listed the supplies that I used (and some substitutes that will work great, too!) 

    I hope you will try this project! If you decide to do it, I would love for you to send me a picture of YOUR completed coloring sheet. Then I will color in your drawings! That’s right, this will give me a lot of work to do, but I will enjoy it! I hope everybody has a great weekend. 

    -Ms. Denise 

    1. I definitely have NOT forgotten about our 3-D city garden project! I’m hoping we will get to do that in person! 

    Make Your Own Coloring Sheets

  • A message from Ms. Jazmin

    Message #2

    Hello students, I have found a link to making your own egg carton flowers. This activity plan is great for your mother for Mother`s Day. With the help of your parents, it shouldn’t be too hard and I guarantee it will be fun to make and pretty as can be for a home decoration.

     Supplies you will need: 

     – Acrylic Paint

    – Egg Carton (not foam)

    – Paper Straw

    – Pom-Poms

    – Scissors

    – Glue

    – Paint Brush

     Step 1:First, have an adult cut out four containers out of the egg carton. Cut around the edges so that it gives it a rounder shape for the petals of the flower. 

    Step 2: Squirt some acrylic paint colors onto a paper plate and paint the flowers. Use any colors you’d like or use a pastel color which you can get at a craft store or that you have at home.

    Step 3: Once the paint has dried you can stick the paper straw with glue or clear tape onto the back of the painted dried flower.

    Step 4: Then glue the color pom-pom to the center of the flower so it can come to life. You can share it with everyone in your family or give it to your mom on mother`s day. 

    Here’s a link to help you out

    Message #1

    Greeting students!

    We`re all probably thinking the same thing, we`re all bored and have nothing to do, except watch tv and movies all and looking at the news about the corona virus, but I`m here to let you know  you shouldn’t be sad or bummed out about having nothing to do at home, just remember everything will be alright in the end, and that there is activities you can do at home, such as tie-dyeing you favorite white hoodie or white t-shirt.  You can also use chlorine but with the help of your parents and remembering to use gloves, so it won’t transfer onto your hands and so forth.

     I’ll be putting some links to easy at home crafts that you and your family  can do.  There are easy step by step instructions, along with the supplies you need. Most of the supplies can be found in your home.   This will pass the time, and allow you to have fun at the same time. I hope you all can try these and try them, even if you don`t like them at first, but I can tell you from experience and that I tried doing one of these activities at home and they were quite fun to do and to pass time every day of the week. In the end, I hope to see you all very soon, and be safe while at home, and remember that all that is happening in the world will pass by and we will all be able to see each other soon!

    Sincerely, Jazmin Cruz


  • A message from Ms. Jocelyne

    Mesage #2

    Hi First Grade! I hope you’re all doing well. I’m writing to you to send a new activity to try. Hopefully you try it out and enjoy it.  

    Treasure Hunt

     Material: 10-20 house hold items that can be easy to hide, someone to hide things from you or someone you can hide things from

     This activity is called Treasure Hunt.  You will ask someone to hide multiple objects and you will have to hunt for them. This can keep you occupied for quite some time. You can also do this indoors or outside in your backyard. 

    Message #1

    Hello J at School friends and families,

    I hope this finds you well, and I hope you’ve been keeping entertained. I know it is tough for all of us to be home for so long without becoming bored, but it’s what we must do. If you’re having trouble finding things to stay entertained, I’ve discovered two activities which I hope you will enjoy.

    The first is an active game that is sure to get you moving and on your feet. You will need a deck of cards as well as a open space in which you can move. 


    Shuffle your cards and stack them somewhere easy to reach. Make sure you stretch and warm up first.  Once you’ve warmed up, flip the first card and do the exercise that corresponds with it (see below). You can continue this process of flipping one card and completing the activity until you go through the whole deck or until you run out of energy. Move through the exercises as quickly as possible with little to no resting between if you can, for each card/move. This will keep your heart rate up and help you burn more calories!

    The Exercises:

    Every symbol in the deck of cards represents a different exercise, and the card value equals the number of reps.

    • Spades: jumping jacks
    • Hearts: Push-ups or assisted push-ups
    • Clubs: knee highs
    • Diamonds: side hops

      Example: You flip over a 10 of hearts… you do 10 push-ups.

      For all face cards, you do 20 reps of each.

    • Jacks: 20 jumping jacks
    • Queens: 20 butt kicks
    • Kings: 20 arm circle of swings
    • Aces: 20 mountain climbers

      If your inner scientist is eager to complete an experiment, you can try one called “does it sink or float?”

    In this activity, you will make predictions about what objects will sink or float. You will test your items and record your observations. You will need at least five small objects such as an ice cube, orange, nail, coin, tennis ball, feather, a block of wood, a candy wrapper, an egg. Also, water and a container or a cup and a piece of paper and something to write with.


    Make a three-column chart on paper. Label the first column “Objects,” the second column “Predictions,” and the third column “Outcomes.”

    Display the objects you have collected and write each object in the first column. In the second, make a prediction or guess if the object will sink or float. Place each object in the water one by one and observe as it sinks or floats. Write the outcome in the third column of the chart. Think about why some objects floated, and some sank. You’ll be surprised at what kind of things float and which ones don’t!

    These activities are easy for you to complete alone or with your family. I encourage you to write a note back letting me know if you tried these activities and what the outcome was, I can’t wait to hear from you!

    Stay safe, I can’t wait till we go back to our regular schedules. I miss you all!

    Yours Truly,

    Ms. Jocelyne Davila

  • A message from Ms Ellie

    Message #2

    Hi friends! I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying spending time with your families. 

     Fingerprint Tree

     Material: scissors, white paper, colored paper, paint, paintbrush, tape

     Step 1: Take the colored paper, have someone draw an outline of your hand, and cut it out. This will be the tree trunk!

     Step 2: Next, the students will tape their tree trunk (hand cutout) to a piece of white paper using rolled up pieces of tape.

     Step 3: This is where things get fun! Take your different colors of paint, dip your finger in, and dot fingerprints all over the page. You can use green for grass, blue for the sky, and pink for cherry blossoms on the tree. Have fun and be creative with it!

     Step 4: After you have finished decorating the page with all of your thumbprints, let the paint dry. Once the paint has dried, you can gently remove the tree trunk template (your hand cutout).

     Step 5: Lastly, fill in the tree trunk with brown paint. Now your Fingerprint Tree is complete!

    Message #1

    Hi friends! This is Ellie. How is everybody doing? Are you keeping busy and doing some learning while we’re not in school?

    I’ve been thinking of you guys and and I wanted to share an activity you can do at home. Spring is coming soon and it makes me think of sunshine, flowers and cute little animals. What kinds of animals do you like? What kind of animals remind you of spring? I love bunnies in the springtime, so I found this cute craft you can do at home.

    I would love to see a picture of your bunny if you make one. You can even give him a name! I’ll send you a picture of mine too if you send me a picture of yours. 

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you! Everyone take care.

    Ms. Ellie

  • A message from Mr. Matt

    Message #2

    Hey everybody! Hope you are all staying safe and riding out this storm. I miss teaching and all my kindergarteners! Here is something fun to try!

     Straw flute!

    Materials: Straws and Scissors

     You can make a flute out of a straw! All you need is a plastic straw and some scissors. Cut a point at the top shown in this video. You can change the length as you want to make different sounds high and low! Remember a shorter straw means a higher pitch!

    Here’s a video to help you out

    Message #1

    Hello everybody! I hope you’re all doing well. I’m Mr. Matt from J At School and I just wanted to try and share a little positivity and a little activity with you all. I know it can be hard to be stuck inside all day, but I hope you’re making the most of it! I recently created a video about a fun and musical way to wash our hands. It’s meant to encourage you to properly wash their hands(in accordance with the CDC guidelines). It’s a song that is to the tune of “Row, Row Your Boat”, and goes like this: 

    Wash, wash 
    Wash your hands, 
    Till they’re all soapy, 

    Bubbles bubbles everywhere, now our hands are clean

    Make sure you get your palms, thumbs, back of your hands, and under your fingernails! I hope I can get this song stuck in at least a few people’s heads. Please let me know if your kids liked the song or video! As well, if you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us back. Thank you and stay safe!

  • A message from Mr. Harry

    Message #2

    This is Mr. Harry,  wishing you nothing but safety and happiness and good vibes. Here’s a fun game to try.

     Night at the Museum

     Step 1: Decide who the night guard is that goes around the museum looking for anything suspicious.
    Step 2: The guard covers their eyes and counts until 10 and waits for the other kids to freeze and pose becoming statues
    Step 3: The guard must walk around seeing if the statues are “alive” and moving
    Step 4: The statues can move, but if the guard sees them, then they are caught and out the game.
    Step 5: The statue who is the last one wins the game and can become the night guard for the next game.

    Message #1

    Hello all JCC participants and parents of the JCC participants,
    This is Mr. Harry here, wishing you all protection and positivity during this crisis we are experiencing. I hope you all are safe and staying home. Since we are not able to meet at the moment, I thought it would be nice to give you an activity that you can do with your parents. This way, we will be staying connected to each other during this time. An activity you can do at home is virtual reading. This website has many stories to choose from. The story that I want you to look at is “Carla’s Sandwich.” This story is about a girl who makes a sandwich and thinks it’s unique for her. I would love for the family to watch the video and have a family discussion about the story. I find this to be an essential way to keep your mind stimulated.

    You can go to this link:

    We want our kids to remain sharp during this time. I also added another link below to help guide you through the discussion. wish you all the best during this time in our lives.
    Parents, here’s the link to the pdf:

    With care,

    Mr. Harry