by Alicia Bodine, Contributing Writer
The way the site works is, a movie is played for the student and the student takes quizzes, practices vocabulary words presented in the movie, and plays games that re-enforce the learning from the video. The student is practicing comprehension skills. The videos are in the form of cartoons. The video characters talk a bit slow, so that the children can comprehend what is being taught.
Once your children finish all of the videos on their age level, they have the option to begin the next grade level. I like this because my daughter is ahead one year in her schooling. So, it lets students work at their own pace, and keeps advanced children from getting bored.
Worth the Price?
I liked the videos and the quizzes, but I am unhappy about the price. Brainpopjr.com requires an annual subscription. Your subscription price varies on whether you are a homeschooler or a teacher or how many students that are going to access the account. As a homeschooling mom I chose the smallest homeschool subscription to select and it presented an annual fee of $115. That is too much money for me; however it may not be for someone else. Weigh the options. If money is not a concern, then I recommend that you sign up for this site and Brainpopjr. may be worthwhile for you.
For a school to use Brainpopjr, there is an annual fee of $725.
There is a free 5 day trial that you can sign up for, which is how I was able to do this review. I would suggest that you sign up for the free trial and have your kids play the games for five days. They will have fun watching the videos and they will be quizzed on what they have learned. After that, you will be able to make the most informed choice about the site and whether it would be right to use in your family.
This article was previously published on the Yahoo Contributor Network.
by Alicia Bodine, Contributing Writer
There are two types of 529 plans: prepaid and savings. Each state has at least one 529 Plan. It is the state that decides whether they are going to offer a 529 plan and what that plan will look like. The plans offered by the State are generally savings plans. These plans can be used to pay any accredited College or University. Prepaid plans are offered by the Educational Institution itself. This is good if you know the particular College or University your child is going to attend. You can easily set up a plan with the school and begin to pre-pay your child's tuition.
There are no income or age restrictions associated with either 529 Plan. This allows you to start out small if you cannot afford to start out with a large contribution.
There are 3 Major benefits you can get from a 529 Plan:
1. The Tax Breaks: You are not required to pay taxes on your money while it is growing. Also, whatever money is dispersed to your college student often times comes out tax free (with the federal government). Each state offers different tax breaks you can check out as well.
2. You are always in control of the funds: You decide when to withdrawal money from the plan and for what reason. Most of the time you can even reclaim the money for yourself should your child decide to drop out or not attend college at all. Of course there are penalty fees and taxes you must pay if you choose this route.
3. Convenience: You can set up the plan and basically forget about it. It is as easy as 1,2, 3. 1. Complete the enrollment form, 2. Make your contribution, and 3. Set up automatic withdrawal (optional).
Finally, if you are wondering how having a 529 Plan will affect your chances of getting grants and loans, a new law was passed for the 06-07 school year. No 529's in a student's name will count against them as assets. For plans in a parent's name, however, the Federal aid will be reduced by 5.64% of the plan's value.
This article originally appeared on the Yahoo Contributor Network.
by Floria Alex, Contributing Writer
As a parent, an educator, or a daycare teacher, you want to help the children in your care learn all that they need to learn. You want to help toddlers learn the things that are necessary to succeed in life. One of the basic things that all toddlers needs to learn is their colors. Young children need to know what color is what and they need to be able to figure out what color an item is when they see it. You can help the children in your life learn their colors, and you can do that in a fun way through the help of the following ideas. Every child will be excited to work with you and learn when you make the learning fun and exciting, when you work it into their everyday life.
Six Games that Teach Toddlers Colors:
1. Allow toddlers to play with their food. When you fill a young child's plate, there will be a variety of colors on that plate. The little one will be able to practice their colors as they deal with their food and as they play with the items that you give them. Have them name the color of the food that they are playing with, and have them name the color of the food as they pop it into their mouths. Have them look over their plate and name the color of each item before them. Talk about food and how it comes in a variety of colors and flavors.
2. Finger-paint with the children. When you finger-paint with young children, you allow them to work with a variety of colors. You can help the children to learn about colors by naming each one that they are painting with. You can also help the children mix the colors to make new ones for more advanced play. Children enjoy being creative, and they will have fun working on a finger painting project.
3. Use printable color books to help children learn about colors. Give the children crayons or markers and help them to color with each one. You can use printable color books to print color pages at home. Color books are great for those times when you want to set your child up with something to work on while you accomplish other things.
4. Give your child a piece of colored paper and then head outside. As you walk with the child, help them to find items that are colored in a way that matches the paper that they are carrying. Find items in nature that match the color of the paper and get excited about each one of them. Congratulate your child as they recognize colors and pick out items on their own.
5. Tie colored ribbons around some type of small object and set those objects in a bucket together away from your child. Yell out a color and have your child run to find the object with the ribbon that matches the color that you mentioned and bring it back to you. Children love running around, and they like to have the opportunity to fetch something that you want them to fetch, so they will enjoy this game.
6. Have your child dress up all in one color. Find clothing that is in various shades of one color and have your child wear that clothing. Let them know what color they are wearing and allow them to be that color all day long. Consider dressing in a different color, yourself, and allowing them to compare the two colors.
When your child starts to make improvements in regard to learning their colors, when they begin to figure out what color is what and they learn what you want them to learn, reward them for their efforts. Every child deserves to be rewarded when they have done great things, and you can award your child through the help of an award certificate template and all that it offers. Through the help of such a template, you will be able to quickly award the child who has learned a lot and who has put in good effort.
by Dennis Townsend, Contributing Writer
How much is a child’s fundamental education worth? Should we skimp on school funding knowing that today’s students are destined to become tomorrow's leaders? I ask this question because lately it has become the status quo in a lot of communities to vote down school levies. It should be the duty of every citizen to make sure that our children are well educated for life’s tough journeys ahead. At the top of the list of reasons why school levies are not supported by some communities is the accusations that school boards are architects of wasteful spending. If voters count the recruiting of well qualified teachers as a waste of money, or if they think that these top notch instructors are willing to work for peanuts, then they are totally delusional. With the number of privately funded schools across the land, well qualified teachers have no problem obtaining employment. Yet a lot of these teachers passed up the golden ring to come to inner-city schools to teach the disadvantaged only to be let go due to tack of school funds.
The most recent rounds of government cuts have place the education of our youth on the back burner and makes it even more difficult for those we trust to instruct our children. The same government that can’t seem to agree on how to fund our education systems have no problem coming up with 70 billion dollars for the defense budget. Our government spends billions everyday on machines of war while the burden of saving our schools falls on the meager paychecks of those who are struggling already in each and every inner-city community. In most of these blue-collar towns once upon a time, jobs were plentiful and the incoming tax revenue kept the school systems in the black. Of course the cost of everything was just a little cheaper back then, but you never saw near about as many school levies as you do these days.
Our young people are a valuable resource which should be cultivated and allowed to grow and be well educated to the ways of the world. And not only that, there's a pretty good chance that the scientist that could save this planet is being born right now and more than likely will have to endure the public school system before taking on the title as world savior. Should we make the government more responsible for making sure school funding is solid? We all would like to say yes, but we know the truth which is politicians are just not that concerned. All of this will eventually lead us to a genre that is being looked at more closely these days and something I predict will become the way of the land and that is home schooling. All you’ll need is a computer and a desk and that takes the need for a levy right out of the equation.
by Jennifer Caughey, Contributing Writer
In the current, extremely competitive job market, private career colleges offer many advantages over the traditional college system of higher education. However, the choice between these two paths relies to a great deal upon the long-term career goals and aspirations of individual students, as well as the resources available to them in terms of time and money. So, it’s important to learn a bit more about the potential benefits of a diploma or certificate earned from a private career college.
The Comparison: Career vs. Traditional Colleges
A private career college is an independent business whose mission is to educate and train students for particular career tracks, with an emphasis on skill development. They offer many kinds of programs, including information technology, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, administration, and other business related tracks. As such, private career colleges are most ideal for individuals seeking to enter the workforce or increase their appeal as a potential job candidate. The focus is on developing practical skills for people who are already working in their fields, with flexible schedules, enrollment, and intensive programs. Where a traditional college emphasizes a broad knowledge base, a private career college puts the emphasis on developing practical knowledge and hands-on experience in your chosen field. Like four-year colleges, though, career colleges must be registered and accredited; so, when looking at potential colleges, look for such accreditation of instructor, program, and overall institutional quality.
The Benefits of Choosing a Private Career College
While each student must choose the right fit for their specific career and life-goals, private career colleges offer some distinct advantages over more traditional schools. According to the Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators, the most significant include the following five benefits.
While some believe that a student with a Bachelor’s degree will earn more than one without, the truth is that many fields, especially technical industries like information technology, will place more value on skills and training than on a degree. As more and more students attempt to gain a competitive edge, degrees from career colleges offer hands-on training and experience that a traditional college degree simply cannot offer. Still, when searching for a potential college, remember that your choice should rely on your individual goals and ambitions. Be sure to choose the best school for your desired field with the training programs best suited to your desired, future job.
Jennifer Caughey is a freelance content writer. She has most recently contributed to guest contributions for Academy of Learning College, a leading career and business college with 50 locations across Canada. Jennifer believes that education and on-going learning are essential to career success. She has contributed to such topics for over 5 years. Connect with Jennifer on Twitter.
Tweens are at the perfect age for enjoying books of every type. There's an engaging book out there for even the most stubborn of tweens. Books for this age level (8 -12) should be interesting, as well as educational in some way. As a mother of tweens, we have gone through so many books - practically as quickly as we go through water. Here are five of what I feel are some of the best educational and engaging books for tweens.
Bubba Goes National by Jennifer Walker
Bubba Goes National is about a girl named Leslie and her horse. This book teaches kids not only about relationships with others, but also about caring for horses. There are many 'girl and her horse' stories, but both of my tweens agree there are none like Bubba Goes National. This engaging story will take kids on an exciting journey full of hopes, dreams, and inspiration. Sasha, age 11 says "Bubba Goes National is so good I would recommend it to all my friends. It was the best book I ever read."
Math Doesn't Suck by Danica McKellar
"This book proved that math really doesn't suck," said Amber, age 12. Before reading Math Doesn't Suck, Amber had always hated math - not anymore. It's great for kids in middle school who are still trying to understand that transition between basic math and the more difficult processes. Kids will learn tips and tricks that help them solve problems faster when doing homework and taking tests. They'll also gain insight and a deeper understanding of the hows and whys - but in a language that won't bore them.
Kiss My Math by Danica McKellar
Kiss My Math does the same thing as Math Doesn't Suck, but with pre-algebra in mind. Is your pre-teen struggling with pre-algebra lingo? Confused about what exactly exponents, variables, absolute values, and other such words mean in the world of math? Your tween won't just learn the definitions. This book will explain what to do, including real-life scenarios presented in an enjoyable way.
Girls Rule: A Very Special Book Created Especially for Girls by Ashley Rice
This is a great book to encourage self-esteem and the accomplishment of goals and dreams. Every girl is special and she should know it. Ashley Rice has done a good job at creating this story in which a young girl narrates her life experiences and how she gets through them. In this inspirational tale, girls learn that they have what it takes to make all their dreams come true
The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell
The Secret of Zoom is about a young girl named Christina, who is sheltered from many things in life, as her father believes them to be dangerous. Her home consists of a mansion surrounded by an electric barbed wire fence on the outskirts of a forest. Deep within the forest is the science lab where her mother was apparently blown to pieces when Christina was just a baby. While trying to help a forbidden friend named Taft escape, they discover more than they may have ever cared to know or even suspect. This is an adventurous and engaging story that teaches kids how many things in life are not always as they seem.
When your child is sick, it's easy to slack off on schoolwork. But doing so could put your child at risk of falling behind. Of course, when your kids are at their worst, you can't possibly give them school assignments. But when they are sick - especially for long periods of time, there are going to be moments when it's appropriate. Being ill can actually be the perfect time to keep schoolwork up to date. If your child is well enough to watch TV or play, she can probably do some learning too.
Ask the teacher for a packet and/or materials. This may seem like a no-brainer. But when your child is ill, a million things may be running through your mind. Stop by the school and ask the child's teacher for a packet of makeup work. If you know approximately how long your child will be away, get the work for those days. If you homeschool, then you are likely already prepared in this department.
Take advantage of happy moments. If your child is sick, they may not quite be up to schoolwork. Take advantage of the happier times where it's possible. That's when it's the perfect time to introduce some schoolwork. If your child is going through a difficult procedure, the school work can wait until a more cheerful moment.
Learn through play. While sick or going through complicated medical procedures, your child might not exactly be ready to hit the books. But educational play can do the trick in those instances. Put on puppet shows (younger children), play board games related to his current studies, play with manipulatives, and more. These things keep your child's brain active and focused on current lessons, but may not be as stressful as other forms of study.
Take schoolwork to doctor and hospital visits. This may sound odd and out of place. But kids get bored during doctor appointments and hospital stays. There is always lots of waiting time in between things. Schoolwork helps relieve the boredom and also helps ensure your child doesn't fall behind in school.
Watch relevant educational videos. This is a simple activity you can do with a child who cannot move much or who is unwilling to. This prevents unnecessary stress while your child is ill. But if you choose videos related to the current lessons, it also serves the purpose of keeping learning levels intact.
Listen to relevant music and audio. Music is a great way to instill lessons in kids. It's fun and if your child has to lay in a hospital bed, at least he can listen and maybe sing along. Many musicians are being more creative with learning songs. You can find just about any topic, such as multiplication, recycling, manners, and so much more.
Use flashcards. Many use flashcards for basic math and alphabet skills. But they can be used for pretty much any topic. They are small and can be done one at a time. This is important when you have a sick kid because if you need to stop at any point or do things in tiny increments, it's easier to keep track. Just take things one card at a time if you need to.
Tell stories. Oral stories also can be great learning tools. You and your child can come up with the stories together if possible. If he is not feeling up to it, you can do all the story telling. Be sure to focus on things your child is learning in school, while keeping it fun and lighthearted.
Read books. Reading is of course very good for the brain. It's also a good way to keep that knowledge flowing when your child is sick. She will have plenty of time to read, no doubt. If she's not well enough to read, you can read to her. Look for books related to what she's learning in each school subject.
Do relevant crossword puzzles and other pencil games. If your child needs to lay in bed all day, crossword puzzles and other puzzle games are the perfect solution. If the lesson is U.S. presidents, look for a crossword on that. The best source for customizing them in this way is online printable and homeschool websites. There are a wide variety of topics out there only a search away.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Charts are a great way for toddlers to learn. When combined with crafting for a hands-on lesson, the benefits of this method can be greatly multiplied. Here is a fun and educational shape and color chart craft along with some daily activities to do with your toddler once the chart is completed.
Shape and Color Chart
This chart will represent these shapes: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, diamond, and heart. Make each shape a different color to also make this a color chart. The colors you should represent are: red, blue, yellow, green, black, and white. If you want to add pink, purple, and brown, make an extra each of the circle, square, and triangle, since those are three of the main shapes.
Before you do the craft with the children, cut out enough shapes in their designated colors for each child to have one of each. If you're doing the extended colors, make sure you have enough of those as well. Sort out the shapes by putting them in a zippered plastic bag for each child. Also, be sure your shapes are an appropriate size to fit onto a 12x17 piece of paper all together and spread out from each other slightly.
First, you'll need a 12x17 sheet of light blue construction paper for each child. This will be the surface the shapes will be glued onto. Place them in front of the children.
Next, give each child their shape bag and a glue stick.
Instruct (and probably help) the children to glue on each shape one at a time as you call them out by shape and color. The children can place the shapes wherever they'd like.
Once that is done, let the charts dry. Then, laminate them or cover them in clear contact paper for prolonged use.
Keep in mind that there should also be a chart for each teacher or parent as well. A master chart can and will come in handy later.
For full benefits of the chart, there are many activities that can be used with it to enforce and re-enforce the lesson of shapes and colors. Below, I will outline two to get you started.
Me, Then You
For this activity the parent or teacher should stand in front of the children with his or her chart and point at and say the shape and color. For example: The teacher says "red square" and points at the red square with a pencil. The students then say red square, pointing at their red square. Continue this activity for about 15 minutes.
Shape and Color Mayhem
This activity requires more than one student, preferably a group of at least three. However, with a little thinking and modification, it could be fit for use with less students.
First, the teacher places the master chart on a blank wall with sticky tack or plasti-tak, which can be found in most art or craft stores, even at Wal-Mart or other discount department stores. It's a gummy clay-like substance that adheres thin paper and plastic items to the wall without damaging them or the wall, so they can be removed quickly and easily.
The teacher should have a hat or container full of folded papers with each student's name on them. Have another hat or container with the shape/color combinations on the folded papers. Start the game by drawing 3 names from the hat.
Those three students need to stand next to each other about three feet from the chart. The teacher then draws a shape/color paper and says it. For instance, if the paper says, "yellow triangle", the teacher says "yellow triangle". The first student to place his or her finger on the yellow triangle has won that round. Then, the other two students get back in the straight line again. The winning student goes back to his or her seat. The names need to be set aside, not placed back in the hat. A new name is drawn and the game continues until each student has won a round.
Hint: Don't tell the students that they will all win. It may ruin the good feeling they will get when they win a round.
Tips for Teachers and Homeschoolers
You're in the school cafeteria and you see yet one more elementary-aged student grab those chips, cookies, and chocolate milk. How can you get him to choose healthier snacks without a hassle? Teaching elementary kids about healthy living and nutrition involves more than just telling them their choices are unhealthy. As a homeschool teacher and health nut, I have been known to come up with creative ways to get kids to think healthy.
Tell them what foods are healthy and explain why. Don't just tell the students to eat more fruits and veggies. Show them why they should. Pictures and stories can help drive home the point. You can also have each kid act out the parts of various fruits and veggies to show what they do. This keeps things lighthearted and entertaining, which is a great strategy for elementary students.
Adopt an exercise plan and explain the benefits. Use dance, active play, or other kid-friendly exercise to make healthy living fun for elementary kids. Explain how each move is beneficial to the body. But also make it an enjoyable experience so the kids will want to continue. If you can incorporate a routine in your daily classroom activities, that's great. Switch it up now and then, too so the kids don;t get bored.
Explain why certain foods are unhealthy using pictures of what it does. Children are very visual. You don't want them to think they need to be as skinny as a rail. But at the same time, let them know that being overweight can have damaging effects on the body. Show them age-appropriate pictures of what the body looks like on the inside and outside from certain diseases. Showing them pictures of the effect food has on their bodies will be much more effective than just telling them. Seeing is believing, right?
Use fun and catchy songs and rhymes to teach healthy living. Music is fun for kids and it's also easy to remember. Make up some fun songs to illustrate the points you make about nutrition. You may be surprised at the impact it will have. Let the kids make up their own songs and dances, too. They'll be proud of themselves and also be absorbing the info.
Give each kid their own weekly wipe-off charts for their home fridge. Giving the kids something to use to take home and track their results helps keep the lesson active. Healthy living is not something to just learn one day. It should be a way of life. Show the elementary students how to track what they are eating and see if they are making the correct choices. It could even help the rest of their family too.
Many children just love reading books naturally. However, some children do not. If your child is not feeling the love for books or you want to get a head start, try talking to other parents. Look for parents whose children always seem to be engrossed in books. Chances are, they'll have some wonderful tips. As a mother of voracious readers, I've learned several things on the way. Great ways to increase your child's love for books can come from both simple and unexpected places.
Read every day. Reading to your child every day can go a long way in instilling a love from reading. Starting this ritual while the child is still in the womb can also make the reading more familiar, which can help a child naturally enjoy reading. If you can, read with your child more than once per day. Be sure that once your child can read, you read to him once per day, but that he also reads to himself at least once per day. Both oral and visual stimulation are needed in order for a child to fully grasp the knowledge and love of reading and books.
Let your child choose the stories. There are some times when your child will have to read particular books. But be sure that your child also gets to make her own selections regularly. Children will be more receptive to reading if it isn't always about what someone else wants. It's perfectly fine if some things they choose are not exactly educational. Let them have some fun with reading too. They're more likely to learn from reading if they are interested in it.
Attend story time at the library. When kids see that others are interested in reading, it can open them up to its value. Story time can also be quite fun. Often there are activities involved in the story that your child can participate in. Story time may involve instruments, puppets, dancing, singing, stomping, shouting, and more. This helps make books more fun for your child. It also helps to provide a more rounded exposure to books.
Have a family reading circle. When reading is made into a family event, it can help create a natural love for books. This is because most kids respond to something that is done repetitively and with those they love. To create a family reading circle, gather comfortable furniture (such as pillows, bean bags, or cozy chairs) in a circle shape and choose a few books. Each person can take turns passing the book around and reading a few lines. For older children, novels that are read from a few chapters at a time are good as well.
Play reading games. Much like story time, reading games bring out the fun and imagination that comes from books. There is no right or wrong way to read a story. It can be read straight from cover to cover or it can be acted out or used as a base for a game. Teaching a child to love books does not have to be boring. Remember, you want them to know there is fun to be had. I like to invent games to play with my kids during reading, such as "Stop and Read" and "Reading Charades." Use nothing but the book, use costumes and props, and even use pre-packaged reading games.
There's no limit to the games and fun to be had while reading books. Be sure you instill that in your child through consistent action. In no time he'll have a love for books you never dreamed was possible.
Teaching kids to read isn't all textbook. Learn to have some fun and they'll enjoy learning to read. As a mom and homeschool teacher, I have invented plenty of games over the years. Game play is good for kids who learn by doing. It's also just plain fun. Reading Charades is a great way to instill comprehension skills in reading.
Materials and Game Preparation
To play Reading Charades, you'll need a book and chairs for all players. The parent or teacher also needs to make cards using characters, events, and places from the story. Everyone should be seated in a circle with enough room in the middle for one person to perform. If this is your group's first time playing or the kids are younger, you may want to use a story everyone is familiar with.
Game Play Instructions
The first part of game play involves reading the book. Make sure the kids know they need to pay attention to the story. Kids can take turns passing the book around to read the story. For older groups of kids, be sure to choose a challenging story. You may also want to assign their reading ahead of time, since their stories will be longer.
Once the story has been read, it's time for the first player to choose a card. He or she needs to read the card silently and not let on what's written. Then, it's time to act out what's on the card and get the other players to guess. In the beginning, it should be specified whether it's a character, event, or location. Other than that, there should be no talking or sound effects.
Everyone else should be shouting out guesses as they have them. Whomever guesses correctly first is the next player. Game play goes on until there are no more cards left (or the parent or teacher is ready to move onto something else). If there are kids who are not getting a turn, try to make the reading game last long enough so that everyone gets a chance. Some players might get more than one turn if they are good guessers.
Some kids may need assistance from a parent or teacher when it comes to reading the cards or thinking of ideas for acting them out. If the kids move through the cards quickly, you might need to create a bigger deck or use more than one story.
Benefits of Group Reading Activities
There are many benefits of reading activities, such as Reading Charades. Children can gain or expand on critical skills that may have been missing or misunderstood during regular lessons. Another thing to remember is that not all children learn in the same way. Some may do better with a hands-on reading activity. Comprehension, vocabulary, and working together as a team are just some of the things kids can gain from doing group reading activities.
Teaching Kids to Write for the Web Using Write W.A.V.E. Media
Looking for something different and useful to add to your student's writing curriculum? What about web writing? More specifically, how about using guest blogging at Write W.A.V.E. Media (WWM) as part of that instruction? There are no age requirements for posting on these sites, only certain access restrictions (an adult account is required for those under 13, due to usage rules related to hosting and creation tools). There are also several sites within the network, covering just about any topic. This can be adapted into a traditional classroom curriculum or for homeschooled students. As a seasoned homeschool parent and a long-time web writer, I've done this with my own children in various ways.
In the beginning, give your student a chance to get familiar with how the process works. Most importantly, allow him or her to learn how the publishing system works. The first submissions should simply be whatever the student feels like writing. This could be poems, articles, or even school papers. Let him or her feel comfortable with using the sites, learning a few things, and gaining a readership. Also, remember to allow for some of this in between assignments as well. Keep the experience fun and not just a chore.
Many ad and affiliate companies require an account holder to be 18 or older. However, it can still be a learning experience and will help ensure they are knowledgeable when they do qualify for payments. You also might choose to sign up for one or more of these and simply transfer any earnings to your student. If your student chooses to publish in other places around the web or to publish books (or sell products or services) that can be linked to from their posts at Write W.A.V.E. Media, links to those might also help them earn. Also, reprints of content are sometimes purchased by clients. In this case, we always give the writer 100% profit from their own content (minus any processing fees by PayPal).
Teaching Web Writing Using Write W.A.V.E. Media
There are many great tips on web writing at the Write W.A.V.E. Media blog, as well as the Article Writer For Hire blog. The WWM forum and the WWM Facebook group also might be useful. Let your students read up on those and implement the lessons into their writing. A very useful tool to combine with lessons learned from those sources is the Yahoo! Style Guide. We also provide submission guidelines and other instructions. Gauge the success of your student's web writing skills by constantly examining their work to see which techniques are applied.
Benefits of Web Writing Skills
No matter the career choice of your students, web writing skills can be a plus. These lessons can be useful in college, as well as in the workforce. Web writing can be used in marketing, journalism, business ownership, business management, editing, and much more. Pretty much any business or company should have a website and web writing skills can be useful in creating and maintaining it.
Grading Based on Performance and Quality
When grading your student on lessons learned, look at both quality and performance. Are the pieces written well? Grade web writing similar to other school papers as far as grammar and spelling. But don't forget the various aspects of internet text, such as SEO and ad alignment. Have they followed our submission guidelines or are they at risk of getting their content edited or removed? Are they getting decent page views on WWM? Is there mostly positive or negative feedback? How much interaction are they getting? What are the readers saying? Is their content being shared by others?
Is Default School Choice Failing Kids?
At the beginning of each school year, choosing the right clothing and school supplies becomes a top agenda for parents. These same parents often go with a default school choice, which means that "by default" they simply send their children to the nearby local school without really making a school choice. Is default school choice failing kids?
In addition to parents who are unaware of choice in education, others may know about choice but perceive that they lack funding for private school tuition, or for transportation to a more distant school. This is still a default choice, if parents fail to realize that choice in education may increase school success in kids. As a parent who once utilized school choice for her own children within the public school system and who now utilizes school choice to homeschool all of her children, I feel qualified to explore this subject.
What is School Choice?
School choice in simple terms is the option that parents have to make a choice in education options for their kids. This could refer to vouchers being given to public school children to attend more competent private schools in the area. It could also mean sending a child to a public school outside of the neighborhood due to incompatible opportunities at the neighborhood school.
For some, it may simply mean making the choice between public, private, and homeschool. There are many ways school choice is exercised, but all have the same goal: a better education for our children. Should there be a default school choice?
Is Default School Choice Failing Kids?
Oftentimes, before the kids are even ready to go to school, parents have it set in their brains the school they will go to. Most often, it is simply the neighborhood school. While there certainly is nothing wrong with sending kids to a neighborhood school, it could be a hindrance to have a default school choice.
Default school choice may be failing many kids. Part of this is because all children do not learn in the same way. Along those same lines, all teachers do not teach the same way either. Nor do all schools use the same curriculum or methods. That's actually a good thing. But only if the advantages to varying curricula and teaching methods are utilized. Otherwise, there isn't much of a point in having so many options if they aren't going to be used with the kids they benefit the most.
Choice in Education May Help Homeschool Thrive
According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), in 2009 a new study was released regarding academic achievement of home schooled children. This national study showed children who were homeschooled scoring an average of an entire 30 percentile points higher than those in public schools on all core subjects. As a seasoned home school parent, those results do not surprise me. Why? My personal thoughts taken from experience are that some of that is due to school choice.
Most parents who homeschool are doing so because they want their children to have the best educational options possible. Therefore choice in education methods is at the forefront of many decisions. Many of these parents chose home school as a method, due to their assessment of what would work for their child. With national home school children scoring so much higher than national public school children, could school choice be the answer?
Choice in Education Increases Test Scores And Graduation Rate
In the above example, home school test scores were well above those of children in public school. Now let's take it a step further and compare test scores of other children whose parents exercised school choice. According to the Friedman Foundation, private schools who participated in voucher programs to exercise school choice had higher test scores and graduation rates than public schools. For instance, in Milwaukee in 2003, the graduation rate at private schools who accepted school choice vouchers was 64%. Public schools had a graduation rate of only 34%. The same material, comprised of many studies, mentions children in several states gaining a significant increase in percentile points when participating in a school choice voucher program.
Choice in Education May Increase School Success in Kids
When comparing the data above with my own research and observances over the years and with my varied experiences with school choice, I continually come to the conclusion that choice in education may increase school success. Many other factors will play a role, but taking steps to ensure that the choice of schools reflects a child's actual needs can be a great start, if not a big factor, in a child's school success.
by Monica Langley, Teacher and How-To Specialist
Do you desire to be a truly effective teacher? This advice can help to transform your classroom style from tired and tedious to dynamic and engaging. These few steps will guide you on how to be the best teacher.
Step 1: Set an Example for Your Students to Follow
As the teacher, the example that you set will set the tone for your classroom. Students will pick up on your demeanor, attitude, words, and actions. Project an attitude of calm, confidence, professionalism, and respect. This will earn you the trust and respect from your students that you desire.
Step 2: Define Rules and Consequences
Define rules and consequences from your first day in the classroom. Then, when the clearly defined rules are violated, make sure that you consistently follow through on consequences.
Step 3: Remember to Show Consideration
The way to build lasting relationships with your students is to demonstrate interest in them as individuals. This does not mean that you slack on enforcement of rules, but that even when you do need to take disciplinary action, it is done with a gentle (though firm) attitude. Be responsive to each student's unique needs.
Step 4: Incorporate Variety in Your Classroom
Try to incorporate variety into your classroom by using different teaching methods. Every learner is different. Not every student has the same learning style. The more variety that's in the activities you incorporate into the classroom, the less likely students will be bored – and the more likely you will be to reach each type of learner in your class.
Step 5: Be Willing to Search for Unknown Answers
Even if you have to go out of your way to search for an answer, make sure students know that you care about helping them find answers to their questions. If they see expressing diligence and determination to discover the unknown, that attitude will often be imitated by your students.
Step 6: Find Out What Your Students Understand
Ask questions to find out what knowledge the students may already have obtained about a topic you are starting to teach. Pretest on the topic, letting them know that the test will not receive a grade, but that you are just assessing their knowledge. This will give you an idea on which areas of the topic you will need to discuss more thoroughly than others.
Step 7: Allow for Friendly Competition
For some students, competition can be a great incentive for learning. Make sure that students are never allowed to put one another down. These competitions can come in the form of spelling bees, group projects, or review games involving different teams. Allowing for friendly competition can liven up the learning environment and help prepare students for the competition they will one day face when entering the work force.
Step 8: Plan your Lessons Carefully
Each lesson should have three main points reflecting the main objective.
• Lesson - This is where you present the new material (and any review material) in front of the class. Follow the above steps to make sure the lesson is relevant, the environment is conducive to instruction, and students are properly engaged. This is also a time to allow brief questions and class discussion.
• Group Work - This is a time for students to work together applying the lessons that have been taught. They can work on a variety of projects. This step allows the students to learn cooperation and peer mentoring. At the end of this portion, allow time for the groups to report to the class.
• Individual application - Students should have an opportunity to quietly sit at their seats and work on an individual worksheet or lesson related to the material that was taught. This will give you time to be able to see which students have adequately learned the material and which ones need help and reinforcement.
Step 9: Teach Time Management Skills
Show students how to list their assignments and various tasks so that they have a good understanding of what they are expected to accomplish. This list can include reading and work assignments, along with due dates and suggested amounts of study time. Or you can simply use a to do list template or task list template along with a description and task titles.
Step 10: Stay Organized
Do not get up in front of the classroom without being prepared and organized in advance. To do so is to invite chaos into the classroom. Make sure that you are well prepared and ready to stand in front of your classroom with confidence. That confidence comes from keeping organized and having materials set up and ready to go.
It takes dedication to be an effective teacher. These helpful steps can give you the tools that you need to succeed and inspire success in your students.
About The Author:
Hi, this is Monica. I am a teacher who has spent the last 3 years in an awesome school. Within the last year, I have become very excited about blogging on how to do anything. =)
You can connect with Monica at HubPages.
by John Cale, GiftCertificateTemplates.net
Kids are growing up really fast and money is a really big issue that affects everyone -- kids too. It is always wise to let them know about money and be able to differentiate the values. As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach them about all this and the sooner you start the better. There are many ways to teach kids about money, but the best way is to make it fun, since kids get bored really fast. You can introduce them with fun games that include money like:
Sorting and Stacking
Make sure the kids know the different coins. Then, let them sort them out and put them in different places. They can match up the ones that look the same and put them together in a different place.
Showing the Different Types of Coins
You can teach them by using boards and putty tabs. Start by sticking the front of the coins on the board for them to see and then stick the back of the same coin to match up. Do this for the different types of coins and let the children try and stick the same under the ones that you have put up. Let them repeat this until they are finally aware of all the coins and their values.
Matching Up Coins
Teach them in groups of their friends and give them coin cards with each coin drawn on them. Then, let them match up the real coins and cards and make it a friendly competition. Tell them that the one who finishes first gets a reward.
Value of Coins
Once the kids have learned all the different coins, you can then add up the bigger currencies. Start by letting them know what a certain coin can buy. They will then learn to appreciate money and treasure it.
You can then teach your children the importance of saving money and get them piggy banks. Give them goals and let them save a certain amount at a certain time and offer rewards when they do this.
When they make an effort to save, as a parent it is your duty to recognize this and appreciate them. You can show your appreciation by rewarding them with a certificate of appreciation. You can design one easily by using a certificate of appreciation template. By doing this, your kids will grow up with the knowledge of saving, which can help them become financially responsible.
Valentine's Day is a fun time for many children. During this celebration, you will want to teach the children the meaning of this day, as well as provide fun crafts and activities to entertain and stimulate them. Below you will find enough lessons, crafts, and activities to cover an entire day (or more) worth of Valentine's Day fun and learning.
Before starting the day with the children, be sure you have Valentine's Day books and supplies for any activities ready. To make this day run smoother, provide each child with a plain-colored pocket folder that contains all of the paper materials needed for the day. This way when it's time to do each activity, the child will be prepared. This will also serve as an easy way for the child to take the finished work home.
Below is a fun way for each child to personalize their folder. For supplies that won't go into the folders, place a bin containing enough supplies to share at each desk or group table. To complete all projects below, you will need to have glue, scissors, a sharpened pencil, and colored pencils/crayons/markers for each student.
You'll also need to have a jar with each child's name inside on folded papers.
For certain activities, you may want to let the children know how much time they have. An easy way to do so is to is to tell them which number the big hand on the clock will be on when their time is up.
You may want to prepare a children's collection of music to play on Valentine's Day that is related to love, sharing, and caring. For instance, one song that could be included is the "I Love You" theme song for Barney and Friends.
Craft #1: Decorating The Valentine's Folder
Supply each student with a white pocketed folder that contains their worksheets for the day. Instruct the children to write their names in the top right corner with their favorite dark color. Once they have done this, instruct them to write "My Valentine's Day Folder" in the middle. If your students cannot yet write, you may choose to do those first two things beforehand. After the labeling, instruct the students to draw things that represent love and Valentine's day on their folders. Allow them to draw and color whatever they wish.
Story Time #1
For this first story session, you will need to have a children's book that tells the meaning of Valentine's Day and/or love. Some good books for this are as follows.
"Hearts, Cupids, and Red Roses: The Story of the Valentine Symbols" by Edna Barth
"I Love You Stinky Face" by Lisa McCourt
"You Are My I Love You" by Maryann Cusimano and Satomi Ichikawa
"I Want To Say I Love You" by Caralyn Buehner
The above books are all appropriate for elementary ages. If you would rather not purchase books, remember that a local library likely has plenty of Valentine's Day books and many will order books on request if they do not have what you want on hand.
Active Discussion - Once the story is read, ask the children leading questions that will provoke understanding of what Valentine's Day is for and/or the meaning of love.
Activity #1: Secret Valentines
For this game, the children will each need a heart-shaped paper. The lined heart paper in the activity section of this article is good for this purpose. You will need to have your name jar out. Walk around the classroom and allow each student to draw a name from the jar. If a student gets his or her own name, that student must place the name in the jar and draw again. Once every student has a name, the students should write a nice message or poem on the heart-shaped paper for that person. If the children have started with a white heart paper, they may want to color it red or pink before writing a message. Instruct the students to think of something nice the other person has done to make the messages more meaningful. The students should then fold the valentines in half and write the person's name on the outside. You will then need to come around the class and collect the valentines in a basket and then pass them out. The students can then read aloud the valentine they have received.
Story Time #2
For this next story, you will want to choose a book that underlines an example of good and bad things that can happen on Valentine's Day. Some good books for that are as follows.
"Arthur's Valentine" by Marc Brown (K - 3rd grade)
"Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink" by Diane de Groat (2nd - 5th grade)
"Please Don't Be Mine, Julie Valentine" by Todd Strasser (4th - 6th grade)
"Super-Fine Valentine" by Bill Cosby (Pre-K - 3rd grade)
As mentioned above, if you do not wish the purchase books, check the local library.
Active Discussion - Once the story is read, ask the children leading questions that make them think about what is okay to do on Valentine's Day and what isn't. Also, let them know that it should not be embarrassing to love a friend. Friends are special.
Activity #2: Valentine's Day "Fish For That Valentine" Card Game
This game will be played just like "Go Fish". If you don't know how to play, instructions can be found by searching the internet. Where you would normally say "go fish", tell the children to say "fish for that valentine". Before the game, you will need to make the children decks of cards with different things related to Valentine's Day. Remember that in a "go fish" deck, there will be two pairs of each design, as the players will be matching them.
Be sure to make enough decks so that you can split the children into groups of 4 players. To duplicate the first deck you made, just make copies of it. Laminate all the decks to make them last longer. When the children are playing, you can walk around and help them if needed.
Craft #2: Valentines For Family Members
Provide each child with various shapes of hearts out of a variety of different types of papers in pink, white, and red. Instruct the children to make their family members valentines with special messages. If they glue items together, be sure they know to allow the items drying time before placing them in their folders.
Try not to limit students to choosing one family member. This is a mistake some teachers make. Some students will feel pressure or anxiety when choosing whether to give this special gift to mom, dad, or a grandparent because they don't want to make the others feel bad. An easy way to do this without the children getting too carried away with making a large amount of valentines is to say "Let's make valentines for parents and grandparents." This way, it limits it to a certain point, but does not make the child choose between their most loved relatives.
Coloring and Activity Pages
Below are links to some coloring and activity pages related to Valentine's Day and love.
Various Hearts Color Pages
Lots of Hearts (Color Page)
Bear With Heart (Color Page)
Cupid With Hearts (Color Page)
Lined Valentine Heart Paper (for stories, poems, etc...)
Free Valentine’s Day Word Puzzle
Valentine’s Day Bingo Printables
Free Valentine’s Day Crossword Puzzles
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Learning to count is a common and necessary skill for preschoolers to tackle. But it doesn't have to be all pencil and paper. Use simple counting games to make it fun and enhance skills at the same time. As a mom and homeschool teacher, I use a variety of ways to teach my kids lessons. Here are 5 of my favorite simple counting games for preschoolers.
Bring me this many! Test your preschoolers knowledge and practice counting by having her bring you a certain number of items. For instance, you might say "Bring me 10 yellow blocks". If she only brings you only eight, you might say "How many yellow blocks is that again? I still need 2 more to make ten." This simple counting game can be played throughout the day at various intervals.
How many words make this sentence? So your child has mastered counting objects? What about sentences in his stories? This helps with both reading comprehension and counting skills. Point to sentences and have the child count how many words he sees from the capital to the period. Doing so helps teach the child what a sentence is, as well as practice numeration.
Tap to my beat. Whether you use a pencil or a drumstick, instruct your child to tap the beat in songs. Choose a specific section of the song and tap the beat, counting together how many taps there are. This counting exercise helps the child learn about rhythm and song. But it's also great counting practice that you can sneak in disguised as fun.
Toss a penny in. Need a use for that old egg carton? Take off the top and use the egg holder portion to play penny toss. Number the slots 1-12 (or higher, depending the carton size). Grab a handful of pennies and hand them to your child. You might say "Toss 5 pennies into the number 1 slot". This simple counting game tests your child's hand-eye coordination, offers counting practice, tests number recognition skills, and more.
Red cars speed on by! Ever watch the cars go by with your kids? Turn it into a simple counting activity. Ask questions like "Let's see how many blue cars go by before the light turns red." Another may be "The light's green. How man red cars are speeding by?" Observe what's happening and use it to count the cars in various ways. This can be played during the homeschool day. But if your kids attend school outside the home, you can also play it with them on the way to and from school.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Does your child need to memorize lines for a school music or screenplay? Perhaps it's a family or church performance or your child is performing in a local event. As a parent and homeschool teacher, I have taught my kids lines many times. Help your child learn his lines with some of the various memorization techniques I've used with the kids over the years.
Use index cards with before and after scenes to get them to remember what's next. Index cards with the lines on them may also help with memorization. But try mixing it up and writing the lines that come afterward or prior. These should both be other lines your child has, as well as lines from other roles in the play or musical. This helps the child remember in which order to do things when it's time for the performance.
Do mini-versions of the play or musical during practice. Not only does this help with memorization, but it also helps prevent nervousness. Many times kids get stage fright because they are afraid they'll forget their lines. It won't prevent all cases, especially those unrelated. But it can certainly help. Some kids learn by performing actions. Even for those who don't, hands-on experience is beneficial.
Record them saying the lines and play it back to them. This can be a fun memorization method for kids because they get to record themselves or have you do it. When they record the lines, they are free to read from their study book or sheet. The lines can be played back while in the car or while they do other things. Auditory learners will greatly benefit from this screenplay line memorization method.
Have them write down the lines. This helps visual learners. But it also helps the brain process the information. By writing the lines for the play or musical down, a child needs to read them, as well as think about them. Repeating the process helps keep them memorized. For each succession, have the child write the lines down at least three times each and read them aloud afterward.
Be consistent and persistent with a variety of methods. Practicing often for a good length of time will prove to be beneficial. Make sure they spend ample time every day practicing their lines, using the above methods, as well as any others you can think of. No matter their learning style or how the scenario plays out when they perform, they can feel confident they know their lines all around.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Teaching kids to read can be rewarding, but it also can be frustrating for some. Daily activities that blend in with the normal routine can be beneficial. This technique is especially helpful to reluctant learners. However, it can be used when teaching most kids how to read. As a former nanny and a current home school teacher and parent, I have taught plenty of kids how to read by using simple daily techniques.
Identifying Objects With Phonics
Whenever you hand your child an item, say the letter and sound it starts with, followed by the name. For instance, if you give your child a cup, you can say "C" then the sound, followed by "Cup. Here is your cup." This daily activity can set the foundation for reading comprehension.
Phonic House Walk
Using the daily activity mentioned above, walk around the house with your child. Point to and pick up objects, identifying them with phonics. Not only does this help with reading, spelling, language, and comprehension, but it familiarizes your child with the surroundings. If you label certain items with the corresponding word, it makes the phonic house walk even more effective.
Well, you may have expected this daily activity to be on the list. Nonetheless it needs to be included. Reading is essential when learning to read. Huh? That almost doesn't make sense. But of course, the parent will be the one reading at first. Point at the letters and read slowly, sounding out words, so that the child understands how you are reading. Ease into the child reading certain words onto complete sentences and entire books. Daily family reading circles are great for this technique.
Daily Phonics Games
Playing phonics and reading games daily also can help in teaching kids to read. These can be board games, computer games, or DIY games like Spelling Memory, Stop and Read, and Make This Sentence. Flash cards are also great for this and can be used in a traditional way or as part of a more detailed game. If you make up your own games, try to keep the rules simple and the game lighthearted and fun. This will help hold the child's interest.
Letter Writing Practice
Writing the letters daily can help kids further identify with the alphabet. It's especially helpful if the child is asked to state the letter's name and the sound it makes when writing it. The child can even copy words and sentences before knowing how to read. This action can increase understanding of the way words, sentences, and stories are formed. Comprehending that is an essential skill when it comes to reading.
More Reading Activities on Life Successfully
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
In addition to regular reading, related activities and games are great for practicing and developing essential skills. Not all children learn in the same way. As a homeschool teacher and parent, it's common practice to come up with such games and activities for the kids. Here's one of the homemade games I play with my kids called Make this Sentence.
Making the Game
To create Make this Sentence, the first step is creating a list of sentences. These should be formed based on reading and writing levels. Sight words are a great base for these. Now, cut the index cards in fourths. Write the words for each of the sentences on the index cards. Each word should have its own card. Common words can be written on two or three cards.
Playing Make this Sentence
This game can be played with two or more players or teams. One person needs to be assigned to reading out the sentences. This can be a parent, teacher, or student. The same person also gets to keep score. Spread the cards out in the middle of a table or floor. The words should be face-up so that the kids can easily see them.
When the first sentence is read out, the timer needs to be set for one minute. The first player or team needs to create the sentence with the cards. If the sentence is created before the minute is up, the player or team gets the point. If not, no points are awarded. For a variation, some might give the point to whomever is next when a player or team doesn't create the sentence in time. Move on to the next player or team and continue in the same fashion.
Beneficial Skills from the Game
When used in conjunction with regular reading, games and activities can help children develop and enhance reading skills. Whether children are hesitant to read or they enjoy it thoroughly, Make this Sentence can be beneficial in many ways. Hand-eye coordination is practiced in the act of searching for the right cards and assembling the sentences. Important organizational skills are taught when the child arranges the sentences in the proper order. This action also is another form of reading practice. The child has to read the words in order to create the sentences.
More Reading Activities on Life Successfully
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Reading practice is essential to a child's development. Getting creative with reading can be not only fun, but rewarding to the child as well as the parent. As a parent who strives to implement fun and exciting ways to enjoy reading into the lives of my children, as well as many others, I have invented many activities that encourage children to read. "Stop and Read" is one of those activities. Below you will find instructions on this activity.
Instructions For Playing the Game
Before beginning the Stop and Read game, a teacher or parent should seat the children in a circle. This game will be played in increments. The first book should be placed in one of the children's hands. Set the timer or stopwatch for 3 minutes. The child with the book will read out loud from the book until the time is up. Once the time is up, the teacher will say "Pass The Book", at which point the timer should be re-set for 30 seconds. The children will then pass the book around the circle clockwise until the time is up. The person using the timer will yell out "Stop And Read" once the time is up. Whomever is in possession of the book will read for 3 minutes, just like the first child did. The game should continue for at least 20 minutes, preferably longer, providing the children are interested.
Benefits Of Playing Stop and Read
There are many benefits to playing this game with children. This game provides oral reading skills, which are very helpful in school and in the workforce. A child can also learn how to share, as well as learn that not everything in life is fair because some children may get to read more often than others. Hand-eye coordination is also practiced when passing and receiving the book. The more a child reads, the more brain cells he or she will be gaining, which can contribute to absorbing knowledge well. Reading skills help a child to achieve in every academic subject.
How To Handle Disagreements
At times children might argue over who was in possession of the book. When this happens, one solution might be to hand the book back to the last reader and start the "Pass The Book" round over again. Some children might complain if others get to read more often. One solution could be to just encourage the children to continue play and let them know there's a chance they might get to read on another round. Each instance will be different, so base your response to the child's argument on each child and situation. Just be sure that your response incites positive behavior from the child.
Every child is different. While some children will enjoy and benefit from this activity, there is no guarantee that every child will. Use your own discretion when implementing ideas into a child's curriculum or educational activities.
Have you tested this activity with a group of children?
Did you enjoy reading this content?
Do you have another activity suggestion?
This author welcomes and appreciates your feedback in the comments section below.
More Reading Activities on Life Successfully
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Memory (sometimes called Concentration) is a classic game loved by many - kids and adults alike. Have you ever thought about using it to help teach kids how to read? In our homeschool, I like to get creative with the teaching to keep the kids interested. Here's how to make and play Spelling Memory. Use it as both a fun craft and an interactive learning game.
Making the Game
Parents or teachers can make this game themselves or turn making the game into a fun craft for the kids. Have handy a list of sight words or spelling words for the appropriate level. First cut out even-sized squares from the poster board to write the words on. Once they are all cut out, write each word on two squares. This is so that each word has a match.
Kids who play this game regularly should be able to quickly recognize and read the words used in the game. Word recognition and reading practice are essential to succeed in reading, spelling, and other academic subjects.
Playing the Game
Playing Spelling Memory is about the same as the classic game, except that there are words instead of pictures. Shuffle all the word cards by placing them on a table or floor face down. This is sometimes referred to as kindergarten shuffle because even small children can participate. Once the cards have been mixed well, line them up next to each other to form an even pattern, such as a square or rectangle. Keep them all face down.
The first player needs to turn over two cards from any two locations. If the cards match, that player keeps those cards as a match. Each time a match is gained, that player takes another turn. This continues until no matches have been made. It is then time to move on to the next player and repeat the process. The game goes on until there are no more matches left. Count each player's matches or cards. Whomever has the highest number is the winner.
Lessons from the Game
Spelling Memory can help teach children their sight or spelling words. Regular word practice is essential to spelling and reading comprehension. Distinguishing whether words are a match or not can help with recognition, thinking skills, and reading practice. The game can be used to practice for tests, enhance skills, or even just for fun.
More Reading Activities on Life Successfully
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Family time is a precious commodity. Yet, many families do not spend time together as often as they should. There are many ways to spend time without spending money. One of these ways is to create a special reading circle.
Here you will learn how to host a reading circle. This can be done with just members of the family or it can be done with a large group of people. If the latter is chosen, you may want to split people into groups of four of five so that everyone gets a turn. Mix the ages up in each group for diverse reading.
This family time event has two objectives. One goal is for families to open communication as well as to grow closer and gain a better understanding of each other. The second goal is deeper reading comprehension. When stories are openly discussed by people of varied ages, it will help aid in greater comprehension.
Everyone should sit in a half circle around the center seating object. The first reader sits in or on the center object and begins to read. Each reader should read for 10 minutes each. Then, the cycle should begin again. Repeat the process until each person has read for at least 20 - 30 minutes.
After each person reads, the listeners and the reader should discuss the book a bit. A good focal point for discussion could be open-ended question, such as "What would have happened if the story ended like this instead of this". Open-ended questions lead to greater and more in-depth discussion. However, keep in mind that you will also want to have basic questions as well, so that everyone understands the story fully.
After the story time ends, it is good to have easy snacks out. These can be set up ahead of time. To keep it simple, try using snacks that are mainly finger food, to avoid a long preparation. That way, they can be prepared quickly and easily and stored in the refrigerator on trays. When you are ready, they can be easily pulled out and placed on a table or counter for easy access. Don't forget napkins and dessert-size paper plates
More Reading Activities on Life Successfully
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Schools and Students Might Benefit from Repealing Grade Level Segregation
Many schools are structured in a way that separates students by grade level, but is it time for a change? Categorizing children in this manner may be detrimental to their social as well as academic development. Studies have shown that children who attend multi-age classrooms, those that teach a variety of ages in the same classroom, learn more efficiently and are also more prepared for dealing with the outside world.
The Multi-Age Classroom or Mixed-Aged Grouping
A multi-age classroom is one in which children of different ages are grouped together and are also taught together across the curriculum. These children are not given separate work or assigned separate seating, due to their ages, but are encouraged to work together to complete the assignments and projects. This type of instruction has shown to create children who work well together and blend well socially in society.
Multi-Age Grouping and Social Skills
When children learn to work together with all age groups, rather than to separate into age-related categories, this prepares them for the outside world. In the outside world, people are not separated by age. When you go to the gym or to the store, you will come across people of all ages. At a park where children enjoy socializing, the other child won't always be the same age as your child. At the library, museum, or zoo there are children and adults of all ages. When your child grows up and goes to work, the people he or she works with will not likely be all one age. Not only that, but at work, the position you are given does not factor in your age. It is based upon your experience, just as is the model of the mixed-age classroom.
Schools that use multi-age grouping methods have been proven to be more effective in developing vital social and academic skills. Much of this may be due to the fact that when children are grouped together, they are welcomed to advance at their own individual level, not a level they are required to be in, due to age. This allows children to advance when they need to and also to get more practice when needed. This model generally allows for children to go beyond their grade level in one subject if they know the facts as well as to gain more practice in weaker areas.
Choosing Mixed-Aged Grouping to Help People Work Together
If a child does not learn how to interact with people of all ages, this can cause differences in many aspects of life. Another factor that can cause these differences is when children are disciplined for working together or talking to each other. While there is formal time where children do work quietly, in a multi-group classroom, you will usually see children discussing things together and helping each other solve problems. It's amazing how much one child can help another. Not only can they explain the way they do things, but by nature, children look up to each other, and like to please each other. This quality is what brings this process together. When children want to please each other, they will work harder to do so, which is great for their academic achievement.
"Traditional" Classrooms Used Mixed-Age Learning Methods
If you think back to when the traditional schoolhouses were run, you will recollect from studies that these were run with multi-age grouping. After some point in time, schools slowly began to conform to the rules that we know today. While there are times that children work together in a traditional school setting, the time spent doing this is usually limited to certain projects and certain times. Even worse, the time spent with children of other ages may only be done during recess or if it is done at other times, it is on a strict and limited schedule.
How to Implement Multi-Age Learning
There are a variety of ways to give your child an education that involves multi-age learning. There are private schools who implement this structure as well as many early learning centers or daycare centers. The most common of these is probably the in-home childcare center. This is a home in which the person who lives in the home provides childcare services. Since these services are inside of a home, it is more difficult to separate the children, so by default, most of these types of centers are run with the multi-age factor. However, it is still important to check with the caregiver to learn his or her policy on this. The smaller children might still be kept separate from the larger children for a variety of reasons. Some people feel that smaller and larger children should be kept separate for safety. Others feel that if they are nurtured and supervised correctly, there is no need for separation. Keep in mind that many schools and centers that offer multi-age grouping often will be on the higher end of pricing, but they are also often on the higher end of quality as well.
If you would rather not send your child to an expensive school, another growing option is homeschooling. Homeschooling is almost always centered around multi-age grouping. If a homeschooled child has siblings that automatically defaults the multi-age factor. Also, many homeschooled children enjoy learning with others, rather than staying at home, so many parents will combine resources and share tutoring duties. Usually, the children learning together will be of different ages because not all parents will have only one child and rather than spend the whole day going over one level at a time, homeschool can be structured to fit all age and grade levels. The children of lower grade levels may be working on addition at the same time that others are working on multiplication because the parents can go over each lesson one at a time. Then, when instructions are finished, the children can work together to figure out the problems.
How is a Child Tested for Skills in a Multi-Age Setting?
You may be wondering how the parents and teachers will know if a child is grasping the concepts or just getting the answers from the peers. Well, just as in regular school settings, the children must still take tests for assessment. During testing time, the children will not be allowed to talk to each other. This is the main quiet time in many of these types of schools and homeschools. It is still important that the teachers and parents know where the child stands in grasping their skills. They have just decided to think outside the box and try a proven method that is often overlooked.
Can "Free" Schooling or Unschooling Help My Child Succeed in Life? by Lyn Lomasi
Should All Schools Go Back to Mixing Age Groups? by Lyn Lomasi
Critical Issue: Enhance Learning Through Multiage Grouping by NCREL
Multi-Age as a Class Placement Approach by Seattle Schools
Children's Social Behavior In Relation To Mixed-Age Or Same-Age Classrooms by Early Childhood Research & Practice
Teaching kids to love books can sometimes seem hopeless. But it's actually quite simple. Start with books from the very beginning and they'll never know life without them. If you haven't done that, it's not too late to pick up the habits still applicable to take them down the path to loving books. It's never too late for teaching kids to love books. As a former nanny and current mom and homeschool teacher, I have used a variety of effective methods on a good number of children. Perhaps my experience in teaching kids to love books will help you do the same.
Start in the Womb
Talking and reading to Baby while pregnant gives a good head start on a love for reading. It may seem silly at first thought, but your baby can hear your voice and other sounds outside the womb. Go to the library and get some great books to read to your Baby while inside the womb. You can even attend storytime. Many baby stores sell special headphones with a microphone attached made especially for parents to talk to their child while in the womb. Simply place the headphones strategically on Mom's pregnant belly and speak into the microphone. I did this with all of my children. It was fun to see and feel their kicks when myself and other family members read to them.
Read to them Daily
Once a child is born, read to them daily. While they may not at first know what you are talking about, fostering a love for the written and spoken word starts with habit. By establishing a routine that includes reading books, kids will just naturally love them. Reading books together is great for bonding, enhancing imagination skills, and for relaxation modes like naptime and bedtime. Really anytime is a good time for reading books and by making that clear, you are teaching the kids to love books.
Let them See You Read
If you always insist upon the kids reading, but don't do it yourself, they may not understand the value of books. Let the kids see you with magazines and books. When it's their reading time, be sure that you read something for yourself. This may be your college textbooks, a novel, or a lifestyle or career magazine. It doesn't matter what you read, as long as they can see you also have a love for reading.
Join Library Clubs and Visit Library Often
The library is an amazing resource for helping kids love books. Of course they can check out books with their very own library card. But they can also participate in storytime, reading and educational activities, and even free reading programs. Many libraries offer a special reading program during the summer that allows kids to earn prizes and awards based on the number of books they complete. Check with your local library to see what they offer.
Stock Plenty of Books
Keeping plenty of books around is a must when establishing a love for reading. This can mean having a family collection or visiting the library often. Doing both is also a good idea. However, if you wish to be as earth-conscious as possible, utilize the library for as many books as possible. How the books are acquired is not as important as the fact that they are there.
Play Reading Games
Playing reading games helps make the thought of books and reading fun for kids. Choose a variety of activities and games to keep them interested. Reading games might use books to accompany them and some may just use reading as a basis.
More Reading Activities on Life Successfully
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
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