Thursday, March 17, 2011

Google Art

WOW! A friend just showed me a neat website Art Project powered by Google. You can tour museums and see the art work. This would be a wonderful tool to use in the classroom. Just imagine schools no longer have to store paintings, teachers no longer have to search for the image to show their students because they are all in one place and just need to be projected on the wall. You can zoom in to see the individual brush strokes or walk through the museum and view all the paintings. They have a list of museums from around the world and a large selection or paintings to view.

Here is a Samples:

Van Gough's Farmhouse in a Wheat Field.

See how far you can zoom. You can see the individual brush strokes.

This is a great teaching tool for any grade.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

20 minutes of reading

I once had a parent tell me that it was very hard to get their child to read for 20 minutes because the parent didn't have a lot of time. She was a busy mom of 4with kids ranging from 5th grade to a new baby and she had to help 2 of the kids read because they were so young. Believe me I know it's hard. My son has just started reading and I want desperately to sit and spend 20 minutes a day just reading with him but it doesn't always happen. K- so I won't lie, it hardly ever happens. He is not in school yet but I know that I need to make time for this.
Here are my reading with your child tips.

Pre-School and younger
It is soooooooo important to spend that one-on-one time with your young kids. They need and crave it. My daughter wasn't getting much time because of all the kids at our house and a new baby so she started acting out. I decided that it would be best to spend time with just her to help her realize she wasn't being ignored or replaced by those in our house. I put her down for a nap a half hour earlier than my son so she would wake up earlier and we could spend that special reading time together. It really helped her behavior!

I am a believer that if you schedule a time to read you are more likely to do it. I like to read to my kids before bed. It helps them calm down and prepare to go to sleep quickly. I also recommend doing having a child read to you while you are cooking in the kitchen. Talk about killing 2 birds with one stone. You just have to makesure you can listen and check on what they are reading often. Stick them on the counter while you prepare the vegetables so you can look at the book once in a while.

This group can usually read to themselves but don't let them full you. I have seen many kids that are great at looking at the same page for 20 minutes just so they don't have to do it. Make sure you let them pick the books as much as possible. I'm not saying that all they read are Babysitter's Club (which was my series of choice) or Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Encourage them to read a variety of books. A fun way to do this would be through Reading Genre Bingo

1. Make a Bingo board on your computer.
2. Write in the book genres make sure you leave a free space.
3. Read and try to get a bingo!

Here's an example. You could also add Magazines and Newspapers if that is what your child enjoys reading.
I like to give a reward for getting a bingo. This could be a special activity with mom and dad, a friend party, ice cream cone. Anything that will help motivate your child. I also find that it is fun to read the same book that your child is reading. You can then discuss and point out things to them and you are also showing them that you also value reading.
No matter what you decide make sure you ask them about what they are reading and listen to their answers to make sure it actually goes along with the story they are reading.

The important thing is that they are reading. It can also be difficult to get them to read when they have just come home from school. Remember they just worked all day. I don't like working all day just to come home and work without a short break. Set a time that works for everyone. The goal is not to make reading a punishment, but a fun escape to a far off place.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hopping ThrougHistroy

This is one of the games on This site is highly educational. The games are kind of old fashioned but they are very educational. At first kids will look at them and think they are crazy but I enjoyed them.

Hopping Through History is a new take on Frogger. The goal is to answer questions so your frog can jump on a log and then jump and eat the bug. Each time you catch a bug you level up. The game is broken into chapters. I'm not sure how they got these chapters but they seem to go in world history order. This would be a great game for Jr. High students and older Elementary students because the question they ask are difficult. I was however able to answer many of the questions just by eliminating the incorrect answers and guessing so the questions just look intimidating when you first read them. It's really a fun way to practice your World History facts.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kids Numbers

I had a friend ask me to find some times table games to help her kids. Times table facts can be very difficult to memorize and the only way this can be done is through memorization and practice. It's not a lot of fun to sit and practice over, and over, and over again so lets make it fun.

Most teachers use flashcards to help kids memorize their facts. This is well, boring. It's not fun to practice the same facts. Make it fun. Have them race against you and see who can get the answer first. They can also beat the clock. Have them set a goal to and see how many they can get in a minute. If they reach their goal reward them with something like a piece of candy, a high five, extra TV or Computer time. Rewards definitely work better than punishing them for getting the answer wrong.

I also found this site which has games to help with addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, telling time, geometry, and algebra. Each unit has a week by week lesson along with a group of games. I haven't played all the games but I found that some of the games and lessons were good and fun, and others I didn't like so much.

Here are some of the games under the multiplication tab that I like.

All the odd weeks are a games called apple baskets. The game asks you to type in how many baskets there are then how many apples are in the basket. This game teaches the basics of multiplication. We understand the 1X7= is one group of 7 but kids don't see the problems that way.

The even weeks are mostly different. They begin with patterns which just shows them the facts. The first few just show the numbers and ask your child to say it with them. I like week 8 where they are asked to fill in the numbers.

I also really like week 14. This is the times table grid. I would race my student on paper to see who could complete their grid first. If they beat me they got a candy bar of their choice. I think only 1 ever beat me but boy did they work hard get faster so they could get that reward (and bragging rights that they beat Ms. Kierston).

Week 16 and 17 put everything together. Week 16 gives them the problem as well as the visual to help them solve the problem and week 17 just shows the tree and the problem.

If they get an answer wrong then they get to try again. These aren't timed they are just there to help them learn their facts.

There are other games and most of them are good. I found Math Frog Multiplication difficult to get the frog to jump to the correct answer and I didn't see any Math in Moon Math except for the space ship counting down as it few if you went too high. I really liked Timed Multiplication. You get to pick how long you have to answer your questions and the highest number the game will give you so if you only know everything up to 5's you can practice those and don't have to worry about getting a 12X 11.

These games are great for those beginning to learn about times tables so second and third graders. Older kids would have fun challenging themselves with the games but wouldn't enjoy the week to week stuff.