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Archive for the ‘Learning Activities’ Category

Knowledge is Power

Monday, November 26th, 2012

If you have the information, you can distinguish truth from lies, good from bad, safety from danger plus much, much more.  If you have the knowledge, then the world is at your fingertips.  Computers and the Internet, plus a rich and varied curriculum enable students to gain this power.   Knowledge comes in the form of information. If you can access the appropriate information for learning and solving problems, then you can be freed from dependence on others to give you information.

  • Read books downloaded from The Internet.
  • Seek employment.
  • Research school projects.
  • Take online courses for college credit.
  • Research legal matters..
  • Network with other people.
  • Correspond with family and friends all over the world.
  • Enjoy Internet Radio.
  • Increase your learning efficiency and understanding of skills on concepts needed for success.

Parents Influence Student Reading Skills

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The importance of parental involvement in their child’s reading activities does not diminish because of the prevalence of computers and technology.  School-age children still enjoy listening to a good story.  A child’s entrance into a learning program should not mean the end of a parent’s reading to the child.  Early learners like fairy tales and books that have corresponding puppets or other toys.  First graders like easy readers because they can recognize some of the words; they also like picture books with strong characters and a solid story.  At the second and third grade level books should be somewhat above the child’s current reading (but not emotional) level.  Nonfiction works, “How to Do It” books, nonsense books, and riddle books are popular with children in these grade levels.  As with pre-school children, parents should encourage active participation when they read to their school-age children.

At some point, a child may want to read independently.  Many times, however, when the parent stops reading to the child, the child stops reading.  Studies have shown that students who read at home, not surprisingly, improve their reading ability.   A closer look at the home reveals that parents and siblings in the home also read during their leisure time.  There are books available in the home, or there are trips to the library.  Television and computer use is limited.

If a home does not have books for children, and if there is no library close to the home, a parent can use a newspaper, catalog or magazine to encourage a child to read.  Parents often are seen reading a newspaper or a magazine, so that role model is ready-made.  Not only is a newspaper or a catalog inexpensive, but it has something of interest for nearly everyone.  A parent might clip a news article and ask the child to read the article to him or her.  Pictures can be chosen, and the child can either make up a story about the pictures or list descriptive words that tell about the pictures.  An appealing news or magazine story can be clipped into paragraphs; the child can read the paragraphs and put them into the correct sequence.

To keep reading skills sharp, a child should read for at least fifteen minutes a day.  Reading also can be built into everyday activities.  A chid can help a parent prepare a meal by reading recipes to the parent.  Locating names, emergency numbers, or ads requires reading.  While grocery shopping, a child can find specific items on shelves or read label information.  A child can read a restaurant menu to the parent.  If the family is planning a vacation, the child can read maps and tour guides.

Parent involvement means instilling the values of self-discipline, hard work, and responsibility in children.  It means an emphasis on the importance of learning.  It means stepping away from electronic devices in order to provide your child opportunities to practice reading skills.

The Continuum of Learning Starts Early

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

The instructional curriculum is a continuum that begins in the early years and progresses through a life time.  While there is much overlap in subjects, it is helpful to know that the simple task for the young learner of pushing a truck up a ramp (inclined plane) is a basic concept of physics that he will revisit many times in his educational experience.  Although students may find the words physics, economics and politics hard to know and understand, these are subjects to be included in any well rounded curriculum.  Students need to have a solid foundation in all subjects in order to meet success in their later learning experiences.

In Physics for example – simple machines teach about principals of physics.

In Economics - most young children play store and, the boys especially, like to play with trucks.  Transportation fits into Economics, as does going to the store.

Politics – The idea of choice is not new to young learners and although we might not call it politics, the idea that they might choose one pet over another or one friend out of many, is an example of politics.  Young children vote every day on things in their every day life.

As the student progresses through the online curriculum, the courses required may be somewhat different than what they would experience in a regular public or private school.  Subjects are integrated across the curricular area.  For instance, Algebra is often labeled….pre-Algebra, Algebra or Algebra I and II, or Advanced Algebra.  In an online curriculum, algebraic concepts might be taught throughout the subjects, such as, Computation, Estimation, Data Analysis, Measurement, Ratio and Percentage, and Geometry.  Algebra may be recommended at a higher grade,  if the course covers the basics to calculus.

Often students have difficulty linking previous learning to newer concepts.  A strong program provides age appropriate instruction which teaches ways to understand more difficult concepts.  When the student approaches a more difficult problem, perhaps in Physics, Economics or Politics, they may recall earlier learning that can provide a way to solve such a problem.

Crowd Sourcing Online Instructional Content

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Even before it was known as crowd-sourcing, a unique and innovative model was created for developing educational content.  LessonPro, a website from Knowledge Headquarters, was launched in 1999 as a new and promising application for writing K-12 educational coursework over the Internet.  The company established the Internet site to promote its standards for Internet-based instructional content to the educational community.  Teachers from across the nation write lessons using the template at www.lessonpro.net.

The curriculum development model was new for education at the time, but a similar model   had been used successfully by other Internet companies such as eBay, AOL, Yahoo, epinions, and geocities.  Teachers from around the world write lessons using the template at www.lessonpro.net providing access for students to their online instruction.

The template is an easy-to-use fill-in-the-blank format that teachers complete using their own original material.  Students of writers may then access the lessons at no cost using the teacher assigned password.

The key to student success is engaging their interests through a wide range of topics, informational web sites and interesting activities, which help create a unique learning experience for each student.  Writers are encouraged to incorporate links within each lesson that reinforce the skills and concepts being emphasized in the lesson.   These online connections open a wide array of possibilities for learning, not limited to the confines of traditional instruction.  Students anticipate new discoveries that lie ahead as they proceed through each instructional lesson.  The visual instruction is designed to include all curricular disciplines, balance the transfer of certain basic skills and strengthen the value of online education.

Eight Standards Guide Internet-Based Learning

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Online Instructional Model

An effective online instructional program integrates innovative, research-based components.  eTutor began conducting research in the fall of 1997 and determined that online instructional programs should be guided by the following standards:

  1. Instructional lesson format needs to be consistent
  2. Immediate feedback is necessary for both student and parent
  3. Instruction should be customized to student progress
  4. Parents need to be part of the teaching-learning program
  5. Instruction should be linked to National and State Learning Goals
  6. Appropriate Internet links need to be an integral part of each instructional lesson
  7. Instructional lessons should be available to students from grades K – 12
  8. Students should learn the value and appropriate use of the Internet while completing instructional lessons

Beginning in 1998, eTutor established a new, higher standard for delivering fully integrated, superior learning over the Internet for grades K through 12.  eTutor accomplishes this by incorporating the best of current instructional practice with the power of the latest internet technology.

Learning From Teenagers

Friday, September 28th, 2012

What are the specialized needs of young adolescents ages 10-15? Why do we need to develop curricula and educational programs tailored to those unique needs? Researchers have found that young adolescents have the following developmental needs

  • positive social interaction with adults and peers
  • creative expression
  • structure and clear limits to physical activity
  • meaningful participation in families and school

Programs which meet the developmental needs of young adolescents use a variety of activities and strategies. As young adolescents have an orientation toward peers and a concern about social acceptance, work in small groups and advisory programs promote opportunities for interaction with peers and adults. Interdisciplinary team organization fosters feelings of belonging while advisory groups allow time and a small group for discussion of issues.

Achievement and competence is achieved through authentic assessment based on personal goals, challenging intellectual material focused on relevant problems and issues, and with recognition by peers and adults. The increase in the desire for autonomy can be addressed through learning strategies involving choice, a curriculum based on social and individual interests. Service projects and project based learning capitalize upon young adolescent’s creative expression and need for meaningful participation.

TEN Ways to Make the Most of STUDY TIME!

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Relax a bit after school before doing homework. Then….

1. Find the best time to study

After school, after dinner…..homework should have a definite start and finish time. If the homework is finished early, the remaining time should be used to double-check and review.

2. The best place to study

Homework headquarters should be away from television,  phone, and other distractions. A writing surface and good light are necessities. A small table may be the best place for a young student, while a desk or table, even the floor or a bed, may work for an older student.

3. Be prepared

Have all the materials needed to complete assignments. Pencils, sharpener, eraser and paper for younger students, a pen, ruler, dictionary, thesaurus, and more may be necessary for older students.

4. Make a homework list

Make an easy two-part homework checklist:

______ List homework assignments in each class each day as they are made.

______ Check over the list at the end of the school day to make sure you have all the materials necessary to take home.

Show the assignment sheet to educators. They can help to see that you have everything to complete assignments at home.

5. Keep a homework calendar

Record due dates for major long-range assignments on a special calendar brings the task into focus. Work backwards, identifying all the steps along the way to completion of the assignment.

If a short paper is due on Friday, the last step is to write the final draft on Thursday.  The first step is to begin reading and note taking on Monday.

6. Study rhythms

Tackle the most difficult assignments when you are most alert and save easier tasks for off-peak times. Schedule several smaller segments of time for memorization. It is easier to learn in short stretches than at one long session. Try using an easier assignment as a break from something more difficult.

7. When you get stuck – Ask these questions…..

  • Have you read and followed directions carefully?
  • Are you taking short cuts that are confusing you?
  • Are you using your book properly?
  • Read the directions aloud….now do they make sense?
  • Have you tried making a picture, table, graph, or diagram to represent the known facts and relationships?
  • Have you tried to sold a similar, but less difficult problem?
  • Have you checked the glossaries, the table of contents or the indexes for help?
  • Did you copy the words or numbers correctly?
  • Are you trying to do too much of the work in your head?
  • Have you checked for careless mistakes?

Still stuck? Do other homework assignments for awhile. Go to learning program early and check with the educator. Remember…..educators want success from their students.

8. Ask for help

It is okay to ask for help. Ask parents, older brothers and sisters, just ask.

9. Take a break

Schedule one or more short breaks during the study time. Stretching the mind for an hour, calls for stretching the body for a few minutes. Do jumping jacks, play ping pong or the drums…..get up and move.

10. Book bag at bedtime

Create a fail-proof method for getting completed homework assignments to school on time. A good slogan is “homework goes in the book bag at bedtime.”

The Showcase of Learning, A Portfolio Primer

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Portfolios are powerful because they help students learn about their learning.  They provide an opportunity for students to share the responsibility for collecting proof or evidence of learning.  Portfolios are worth doing well because they are a rich resource for reporting…they help student and parents see the results of student learning for themselves.

All portfolios are a collection of evidence of student learning.  They become powerful when they have a purpose.  There are three major purposes for portfolios:  to display student work around a theme or subject, to show the process of learning and to show growth or progress.

e-Tutor provides a portfolio for each student that the parent can access.  The portfolio gives a report of the lessons completed and the results of quizzes and exams.   We also encourage our students to keep their own  progress portfolio.  We suggest that the student create a folder for each one of the major curricular areas: Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.  As the Activity and Extended Learning sections are completed for each lesson,  these are placed in the folders.  Parents know where to find their child’s work, they can review what their child has done,  the child can refer back to what has been achieved and they provide a basis for discussion.

As time goes by other things can be added to the portfolio, such as a time sheet to record the time the child began and ended a learning session.  Parents can add copies of the e-Tutor portfolio, so that comparisons can be made between accomplishments in  the two types of assessment.

Such a portfolio showcases the learner and his or her own learning, rather than who they could be by making comparisons with others.

Seven Steps to Increase Brain Activity

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The brain and skin are the first organs to develop in a fetus.  They emerge simultaneously out of the same layer of embryonic tissue.  The skin is often called the outside layer of the brain.  Let your child “experiment” with touch as a sensory system of the brain.

  1. Gather 16 samples of different textures….sandpaper, cloth, carpet, wood, etc.  and two large pieces of cardboard.
  2. Cut two, 2-inch squares from each of the textured materials so that you have two identical sets of 16 pieces.
  3. In rows of four, glue one set of 16 onto each  cardboard.  Be sure to arrange the textures in different order on each cardboard.
  4. Blindfold your child.  Ask your child to use his/her fingers to find four matches on the two cardboard sheets.  Time how long it takes to find four matches.
  5. Let your child use their palms or elbows.
  6. Involve other members of the family to see who has the fastest speed.
  7. Have a family discussion about the experiment and what was learned.

The Value of Play

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Everyone senses on some level that the ability to be spontaneous and to play is a basic need and an important characteristic of healthy human beings.  However, not everyone can channel this force for ultimate health and happiness.  Unfortunately, learning to play is something we must do as children; if we do not learn how to play as a youngster, often it is a skill that cannot be learned as an adult.  Teach your child how to use her brain, body, emotions and imagination as vehicles for celebrating her higher self.  When you teach your child to play, you are showing her the path of intellectual, social and emotional transformation…a path which ultimately leads to self-actualization!

For our young children, everything they do is learning.  Adding fun to the doing and learning will make even the tedious seem like a game.  The more your child plays and does, the more opportunities, she has for finding favorites.  Imagine if you will, what would have happened if Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s family had never set him on a piano bench and place his little hands on the keys?  Nothing.  What a loss that would have been for the world.  One of your most important jobs as a parent is to find out what natural talents lie within your child.

When a child is born, he has over a hundred billion brain cells.  Through play, trillions of synapses develop connecting these hundred billion cells in the brain.  Each time your preschooler plays a game, listens to music or stories from picture books and interacts with you, new synapses develop and the child’s intellect is enhanced.  Play, although it sounds simple, must be taken seriously.  Play is your child’s work!