8 Unique Math & Reading Activities for Digital Learning Day

Digital Learning Day (February 23 this year) is a fun one for us here at eSpark—a time for teachers to come together and celebrate the interplay between technology, innovation, and personalized learning experiences.

Online activities are not nearly as hard for the discerning educator to find or vet as they were when #DLDay was launched, but they do come in a much wider variety of shapes and sizes. We’ve sampled eSpark’s curriculum library and pulled out eight examples of the different kinds of ways digital learning experiences can supplement your lessons, including instructional videos, games, interactive stories, and music.

The following skills and grade levels are covered in this article. Click to jump to the relevant content:

Instructional Videos

YouTube has become one of the most important fixtures of digital learning in the 21st century, with millions of students learning from (and even contributing to) the world’s most popular video repository. eSpark leans on this content for two purposes: to introduce the lesson and set expectations via an explicit instruction Framing Video at the start of every quest; and to deliver direct instruction on the skills and subskills that lead to standard mastery.

Math Example: Elapsed Time on a Number Line

In this ~5-minute video, students participate in a hypothetical class trip to the local aquarium, then learn how to solve real-life examples of elapsed time interval problems using a number line.

Reading Example: Ask and Answer Questions About Unknown Words

In this minute-and-a-half video, our narrator models the kinds of questions readers should ask and the context to look for when identifying mystery words.


Games and gamification represent two of the great frontiers of digital learning even now. The concept of merging what students do for fun with what students are expected to learn is a timeless one, and the wide world of gaming is an obvious starting point. eSpark seamlessly weaves games into student Quests for the purpose of providing fun practice opportunities and entry points beyond just the typical drag-and-drop or multiple-choice formats.

Math Example: Area Adventure

A cat archaeologist stands in front of a dig site to introduce this game

Our intrepid ar(cat)aeologist needs your students’ help to identify the area and perimeter of his dig sites. Students will solve problems to uncover hidden treasures below the desert surface.

Reading Example: Olive vs. the Dragons

Olive the knight stands in full armor selecting short or long vowels to repel a dragon attack

Olive is a valiant knight charged with protecting her castle from invading dragons, but she can’t do it without your students’ help. Thankfully, these dragons have a weakness in the form of correctly identified long and short vowel sounds.

Interactive Stories

There was a time when digital learning seemed like it might pose a risk to the joys of reading. It’s still true that the younger generation is spending more time in front of screens and less time flipping through books, but the digital medium does present fascinating opportunities to bring stories to life in ways not possible on the page. eSpark’s interactive stories include beautiful animations and interactive elements so students can engage with the material on an even deeper level.

Example: The Dog and the Reflection

A dog standing on a bridge above its reflection in the water

A dog gets greedy and tries to steal a piece of meat from its doppelganger, only to lose the treat it already had. Students interact with this story and answer questions at key checkpoints to ensure a thorough understanding of lessons and morals.

Example: Heartbeat of Bahia

Townspeople dancing in the street while a page of a story is read aloud with highlighted text

One day in Bahia, local shopkeeper Mister finds a dundun “talking” drum. Although he never does identify the original owner, the drum does end up providing the town’s heartbeat in the wake of disaster. Featuring interactive and/or animated elements on every page, this story comes to life in the hands of your students.

Music Videos

Remember the song we used to memorize the states? Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas… Or how about the famous Hello, Goodbye, and Cleanup songs reverberating through so many elementary hallways?

Music has a way of resonating with us in ways that other forms of communication cannot. Catchy beats and clever lyrics can embed concepts so deep in our minds that we are able to recall them out of the blue decades later. eSpark’s music library continues to grow—stay tuned for more from this digital discography.

Math Example: The Power to Know the Hour

If you’ve been following along these past few months, you’ll know a thing or two about the Minute Monsters by now. The Power to Know the Hour is the third song from their Time Party album, featuring the most action-packed video yet. Working on telling time at a different grade level than this? Check out the full library here to find the right fit.

Reading Example: What’s the Story

Watch this one at your own risk—once you’ve made it through the chorus a couple times, it’s nearly impossible to get out of your head. This song calls on a variety of genres to help us remember the structure of a story. Beginning, middle, and end, and now I know more!

Have a Delightful DL Day!

Whether you’re a seasoned eSparker or just visiting us for this annual event, we hope you’ve found some great ideas to spark a love of learning in your classroom. Digital learning may be far more prevalent than it was when this day first entered mainstream consciousness, but it’s nice to reflect on the impact technology continues to have on learning (and teaching) experiences in the 21st century.

At eSpark, we look forward to the continued evolution of the modern classroom, and we’re happy to provide eSparkers everywhere with a unique, student-centered approach to supplemental instruction and practice. Click the Sign Up Free button at the top of this page to claim your account and start assigning our pre-built lessons today.

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