Why Should Kids Learn a Foreign Language?
As 21st century learners, it will be beneficial for kids to be able to communicate with people from various… [more]
Developing a love for reading starts even before formal schooling begins. Research shows that as boys and girls progress through school, boys tend to read less than girls do. Consequently, boys have more problems with reading skills. When there is not enough practice, skills suffer and achievement test results attest to this. However, parents can proactively lay a foundation at home and continue to encourage the love of reading.
During this period, children learn that scribbles on the paper are letters and letters make sounds. When the sounds are put together, they form words. Words form stories. Stories have meaning. During this time, children are “learning to read.” Enhance these skills by:
- Reading with your child.
- Building a library at home with books chosen by your child.
- Introducing your child to your local library.
- Signing them up for a library card.
- Appealing to their competitiveness by making reading a family contest.
- Allowing access to different types of reading material such as comic books, sports magazines or gaming magazines.
The middle school years are a time of transition. As boys develop into pre-teens and become increasingly more independent, finding time to read may be more difficult.During this time of transition, relationships with peers, socializing and fitting in are important issues for boys. The Judy-Blume-for-boys author, Rick Riordan, provides a series based on Greek mythology with a modern twist. Percy Jackson & the Olympians is fantasy, magic, adventure and humor ‒ precisely what many boys enjoy.Appealing to their love of technology, parents can continue to foster the love of reading by providing e-readers or downloading books to their son’s Smartphone for easy access.
Learning to read and comprehend the written word is an essential skill that requires a strong foundation. When boys avoid or neglect reading, the opportunity to become better readers is thwarted. Make reading a priority, find what they love and facilitate access to reading material to raise boys who love reading.
Summer is almost here! Don’t let your child’s learning stop during the summer. Research has shown that kids can lose up to three months of grade level equivalency during the summer months. TenMarks offers a summer program to strengthen kids’ math skills. According to TenMarks, 82% of students who used their program, increased math scores in a post summer evaluation.
The TenMarks www.tenmarks.com math program, targeting kids in 2nd grade through high school, is a three-month program that is wonderful for summer learning. Math hints and videos engage kids and provide additional assistance when needed. Rewards, incentives and games motivate kids to learn.
When you sign up for the summer program, TenMarks will assess your child’s needs by asking your child’s grade level and will prepare a diagnostic assessment for your child. The cost of the program is only $39 for the summer. If you register before June 3, 2012, you will receive a 20% discount.
Start planning now for your child’s summer math learning!
We are living in an increasingly technology dependent world. The geeks you knew in high school who hung out in the computer lab are now running the world’s most powerful companies. Even the most basic of employment opportunities will require standard computer skills, and many jobs require at least an understanding of coding and programming. In addition, teaching kids to code will aid them in becoming not just a consumer of technology, but a producer.
It’s not too Early!
It may seem too early to start teaching your kids about coding, but nothing could be further from the truth. Children are incredibly receptive to acquiring language, and learning the basics of computer coding is nothing more than that. If you start your kids early and encourage them to develop their understanding of coding, they will be primed for keeping up with technology and having the skills they need to thrive. Making this learning process fun will keep your kids interested in technology for a lifetime.
Great Ways to Learn to Code
There are a number of great programs for teaching your children about coding. With varying levels and learning styles, there is bound to be a way to engage your children in basic coding and computer skills.
Check out the Scratch program developed by MIT. Scratch is a basic coding language that allows young people ages 8 and up to create colorful, interactive media. As they create, they are learning the coding and mathematical principles.
Kodu is a virtual programming language made specifically for creating games. Programs are expressed in physical terms, using concepts like vision, hearing, and time to control character behavior.
Alice is a similar program that allows children to animate their ideas while learning the basics of coding. In Alice, children will drag and drop graphic tiles to create a program. Alice allows students to immediately see how their animation programs run, enabling them to easily understand the relationship between the programming statements and the behavior of objects in their animation. With a curriculum designed for elementary students and above, it is never too early to start.
Games like Minecraft can also help your children learn about coding and design. On the surface Minecraft is just a basic game that uses blocks to build anything imaginable. Despite its simplicity, it teaches kids to visualize design and layout which are essential components to the understanding of computer programming.
K12 offers various classes in the technology and computer science category, available for individual purchase, including C++ programming in which students learn how to write code using variables, functions, expressions, flow control statements, loops, and more. These are high school level courses.
Find or Create an After-school Coding Club
If your child’s school or after-school program does not offer coding as one of its programs, start your own! You may be able to find a teacher or parent who would be willing to teach a coding class and parents can pay a negotiated rate per child.
It is truly never too early to expose your kids to emerging technologies. Computer programming and coding are the foundation for tech job and can be the foundation of an entrepreneurial endeavor. The subjects are only going to continue to evolve. Teaching your kids coding and programming will give them a sound structure to build on as technology continues to grow and change. Summer camps and kid-friendly coding programs will ensure that your kids are excited and prepared for the future.
Teaching kids to code will allow them to express themselves and become confident as they begin to learn a new language and create their own technology masterpieces.
An old Confucian proverb states that “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” Children are more likely to develop a deep understanding of what they are being taught if they actually take an active, hands-on part in the lesson. You can help provide this hands-on experience at home by helping your smart kids conduct their own science experiments. By doing this you can supplement your child’s education at school, or provide a strong science base for your homeschooling endeavor.
One easy experiment requires only a few seeds, some soil, and cups or other small containers. Have your children fill the containers with soil, leaving at least a half inch of space at the top. Have them put three or four seeds in the soil in each cup, and cover the seeds lightly with soil. Put the cups in different locations so that the seeds are exposed to different growing conditions. For example, they might put one cup on a window sill that gets lots of sunlight, another in a closed cupboard, and another inside the refrigerator. Be sure to water some more than others, and keep track of which cups get water and which ones do not. Once the plants start growing, talk with your children about how the different rates of growth were caused by the different growing conditions, and what conditions are necessary for growth.
Another experiment requires several small cups, some water, food coloring, and several stalks of celery. White flowers such as daisies or white carnations may be used instead of the celery, if you have them available. Cut an inch or two off the base of the stalks, and set them in the cups. Pour two or three inches of water into each cup. Put a drop or two of food coloring into all but one of the cups, and set them aside for a day. The celery stalks or flowers should absorb some of the color from the food coloring. Discuss with your child how the vascular system of plants carries water and nutrients up from the roots through the stems to the leaves and flowers.
These experiments can be used regardless of whether you’re homeschooling your smart kids, or just trying to make their home life more interesting. You can vary the experiments according to the age and grade of your children, as well as their personal interests.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…
In an effort to increase kids’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math subjects, by using the excitement kids have for playing videos, Digital Promise announces the National STEM Video Game Challenge. Digital Promise is a new initiative created by the President and Congress, supported through the Department of Education.
Now, kids can create their own video game and win prizes. Kids in middle school (grades 5-8) and high school (grades 9-12) may enter. Middle school students are able to sign-up as individuals or teams of up to 4. Teachers can even sign up their students as a class assignment. In addition to the middle school and high school categories, there are also sections for college & graduate students and educators.
Games may be created by using written game design documents, Gamestar Mechanic, Kodu, Scratch, games made with any tool (Open Platform) and educational games made with any tool (PBS KIDS Stream). Entries must be received by March 12, 2012.
Each individual winner and each team member will receive a laptop computer with game design and educational software. Each winning entry will also win $2000 for the winner’s school or non-profit of their choice. For more details, check out the National STEM Video Challenge website.
Encourage your kids to start creating their video games today!
As we welcome the new year, we typically create new year’s resolutions or solidify goals we would like to achieve. It is also equally important to teach our children to have a vision and to set goals. One great way to encourage goal setting is to create a vision board with your child. A vision board, also known as a mind map, is a tool parents can use in teaching kids how to set goals – not only educational goals but also goals regarding personal development, social skills, physical skills, and family.
Typing is a necessary skill for people of all ages these days. In order to improve school performance, children should begin honing their typing skills at a young age. In school age children, excellent typing skills will assist them when typing essays, researching online or typing letters to family members. Not only does learning typing improve computer skills, but it improves language, reading and writing skills.
One way to get kids interested in typing is to make it fun. There are several typing programs that turn typing for kids into a game.
Typing Instructor For Kids Platinum (Windows/Mac)
is one popular game available from Amazon. In this game, children type in order to discover new lands, collect jewels and take part in adventures.
Games like this help mask the fact that children are learning, so even kids who don’t enjoy traditional typing programs might like the game play aspect of the program.
Olive Garden’s annual essay contest is back! Olive Garden’s 16th annual Pasta Tales essay contest kids is open to kids in grades 1-12 in the United States and Canada. Kids are asked to write an essay between 50 and 250 words addressing the following question:
“If you were given $5,000 to support education in your local community, how would you use it and why?”
The grand prize winner of the essay contest will receive a three-day trip to New York City that includes dinner at the Olive Garden in Times Square and a $2,500 savings bond. In addition, Olive Garden will provide a $5,000 grant to support education in the winning child’s local community which will allow your child to see his or her ideas in action. This is a phenomenal way to encourage your child’s learning and help the community simultaneously.
The winners in each grade category will be awarded a $500 savings bond and a family dinner at their local Olive Garden restaurant. Click here to enter the contest.