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Archive for the ‘Learning Activities’ Category

Where Are The Basic Math Facts?

Monday, June 18th, 2012

eTutor’s curriculum calls for the quick recall of basic facts by children at the end of third grade.  Learning of these skills is done best by teaching students about numbers in relation to everyday life activities and not exclusively by rote drills and memorization.  Their math horizons are expanding to include problem-solving skills, ratio and proportions, algebra, geometry, measurement, data collection, analysis and estimation.  eTutor challenges students to balance a strong knowledge of basic skills with the ability to solve day-to-day math problems with confidence.

It is appropriate for students to struggle once in a while with math problems.  This helps them learn from mistakes, practice persistence and accept challenges.

Numbers and operations on numbers play fundamental roles in helping us make sense of the world around us.  Operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, as well as the ability to find powers and roots, extend the notion of numbers to create tools to model situations and solve problems in our everyday lives.  Discussing and solving problems related to budgets, comparing prices on merchandise, understanding the nature of interest charges, measuring fuel consumption and calculating the trajectory for space travel would all be impossible without a sense of numbers and numerical operations.  All people must develop this sense of numbers and operations and be able to use it to solve problems using mental computation, paper-and-pencil algorithms, calculators and computers. (from eTutor Goals for Mathematics)

Eight Ideas for Summer Learning

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Using the summer months to expand and enhance your child’s skills for learning will benefit your child year round.  Some ideas to get you started might include the following:

  • Select safe, educational toys…such as those that need to be put together.
  • Play games—especially those that have educational value, like number games, guessing games, word games.
  • Encourage your child to do projects with other children.  He/she will learn to cooperate and his/her social skills will improve.
  • Take your child on the train, bus, streetcar or airplane.
  • Listen to your child…encourage him or her to ask questions, discuss ideas and tell stories.
  • Select activities that fit your child’s level of development, ones that he or she can learn from and enjoy.
  • And be sure to set a good example.  If you are interested in learning, your child probably will be, too.  For instance, set a family reading time or some other organized learning activity and share experiences.
  • Learning is a skill and like other skills it improves with practice…so give your child the practice he or she needs to develop learning skills!

Six Ways to Increase Oral Reading Skills

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

When reading orally, children must not only decode the printed words on a page, they must also communicate the author’s meaning to others by varying the voice volume, pitch, phrasing, pauses, tone and reading rate.  When reading orally, children must understand what they are reading in order to communicate the meaning successfully.  As a result, the regular practice of oral reading boosts children’s comprehension, producing gains that will transfer to their silent, independent reading of fiction or nonfiction.

Activities to increase oral reading skills:

  1. Reading Specific Sentences Aloud. Have your child read a passage silently.  Ask questions and direct him/her to locate and read the sentence that has the answer.
  2. Multimedia Models. Play records and tape recordings of poetry, prose and plays.  Encourage discussion of  the way the speakers use their voices to convey meaning.
  3. Reading Duets. Have your child choose a reading partner.  Alternate the partners as readers and listeners.
  4. One Minute or Less Oral Reading Fun. Provide daily opportunities for your child to read orally, such as reading notices, signs or advertisements.
  5. Choral Reading and Play-Reading. Select poems, dramatic scenes from stories or story description to rehearse for choral readings.  Model the chosen selection.  Have your child choose a part to practice reading orally.
  6. Recording Oral Reading. Tape or video record plays, choral readings or radio dramas that your child has prepared and practiced.

Seven Questions for Your Child’s Reading

Monday, April 30th, 2012

In choosing books for children the following was recently found in a book of poetry.  Although aimed at boys of the period the guidelines are worthy  today of consideration by all parents:

Read your children’s books yourself.  Or better still, get your child to read them aloud to you.  Ask yourself during the reading:

  • Does this book lay stress on villainy, deception or treachery?
  • Are all the incidents wholesome, probable and true to life?
  • Does it show young people contemptuous toward their elders and successfully opposing them?
  • Do the young characters in the book show respect for teachers and others in authority?
  • Are these characters the kind of young people you wish your children to associate with?
  • Does the book speak of and describe pranks, practical jokes and pieces of thoughtless and cruel mischief as though they were funny and worthy of imitation.
  • Is the English good and is the story written in good style?

Adapted from One Hundred and One Famous Poems (1958)

Single File – One Moment at a Time

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

We never shall have any more time.  We have, and we have always had, all the time there is.

- Arnold Bennett

Most of us think of ourselves as standing, wearily and helplessly at the center of a circle bristling with tasks, burdens, problems, annoyances, and responsibilities which are rushing in upon us.  At every moment we have a dozen different things to do, a dozen problems to solve, a dozen strains to endure.  We see ourselves as over-driven, overburdened, overtired.

This is a common mental picture…and it is totally false.  No one of us, however crowded his life, has such an existence,  even of a super-busy day.  The crowded hours come to you always one moment at a time.  That is the only way they can come.  The day may bring many tasks, many problems, strains, but invariably they come in single file.

The Power of Expectations

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The effect of one person’s expectations on the behavior of another is another instance of the power of attitudes. People are always communicating their thoughts in a variety of subtle ways.  And others are responding…positively, negatively or passively.  Strong, positive attitudes about one’s self and others bring out the best in others; cause positive responses that accelerate growth and learning.

See all others as the potential vessels of your own treasured knowledge and ability, be willing to share yourself in a tolerant, loving manner, and your effort will be richly rewarded by the growth of those around you.

Virtual Learning Takes A Boat Ride

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

It was early summer when Mrs. Blakely called to talk with me about her son, Jared.  They had subscribed to eTutor Virtual Learning Program over the winter months.  Jared was the computer expert in the family and enjoyed studying over the Internet.

Mrs. Blakely and her family lived on a small island in Washington State.  On this day she was looking at the geese and goats in her yard as Jared got in his rowboat for the short distance to the mainland.  With warmer weather he chose to go to the library to access eTutor from the computers there.  The access was faster and he was showing others at the library about the program.

Jared is not unlike other students from around the world who are using eTutor as part of their learning experience.  The virtual learning program has over 3200 lessons in the four major curricular areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Jared logs on whenever he wants to, in order to study, while other students have a set time to log on each day.  Each lesson has nine parts and takes between 45 minutes to an hour to complete.  The extended learning section can increase the time to complete a lesson.

Mrs. Blakely checks Jared’s student portfolio each day to see what lessons he has completed and how he has don on the quizzes and exams.  “It has been hard to get Jared to focus on studying, but he loves logging on to eTutor.  He finally is enjoying learning!”

Twelve Tips to Encourage Reading at Home

Monday, February 13th, 2012


Learning to read is much like learning any other skill. It requires a combination of instruction, experimentation, and practice. But the first step must be motivation. The child must want to learn to read. Parents can encourage their children to read  by demonstrating that they think reading  is important. Parents can help their
children discover the benefits of reading:
new ideas…relaxation…adventure…fun.

  • Buy as many children’s books as you can afford.
  • Give books as gifts.
  • Visit the library regularly.
  • Allow your children to choose their own books.  Don’t rush them.
  • Show your children that you enjoy reading. Make sure they see you reading newspapers, magazines, and books.
  • Set up a special place for reading.
  • Encourage older children to read to younger children.
  • Surround your child with words; point out street signs; label objects in the house such as table, desk, and stove.
  • Play word games like Scrabble, Anagrams, and Ad Lib.
  • Watch educational TV programs together. Some stress reading development.
  • Read to your child, especially at bedtime. Reread favorite stories.
  • Ask you child to read to you.

Stress the things your children do well in reading rather than any mistakes they make. Remember: Success breeds success.

Seven Benefits of Music Education

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Music is important in the education of your child.  It is one of the real accomplishments of the human race and the Western world has developed it beyond that of any other people.  Music is one of your child’s richest heritages.  To share in this heritage your child should study music, for the casual contact alone will not unlock its deepest treasures.

Your child can benefit from a good music program in many ways.  It can:

  • Introduce him or her to one of the most significant cultural achievements of the human mind.
  • Be a disciplined emotional outlet for the release of tension.
  • Enlarge potential for creating and enjoying beauty.
  • Develop the skills and understandings needed for using music in leisure time.
  • Provide satisfying experiences with groups of peers.
  • Build the aesthetic and spiritual values that are so important in the overall development of both personality and character.
  • Enrich your child’s life for years to come.

Ten Steps for Parents Using Online Learning Programs

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Ten Steps Parents Can Take For Student Success with Online Learning

You and your student have decided that online learning is an alternative to regular public and private schooling that must be tried.  What can you do to insure your student is successful?  Here are steps you will want to know before starting online learning.

  1. Understand that you are your child’s instructional and academic leader/coach.
  2. Create an atmosphere for learning at home.
  3. Establish learning goals with your student focusing on the subjects appropriate for his/her grade level.
  4. Get to know your child’s learning strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Review, daily, completed learning projects and activities.
  6. Expect your student to spend a minimum of approximately four and a half to five hours learning each day.
  7. Provide your student with adequate equipment and materials to be a successful learner.
  8. Monitor and review assessment scores with your student.
  9. Work with your child in designating specific blocks of time for studying.
  10. Enjoy the learning experience with your student!