Preschool children :
Some of the fun activities for pre-schoolers are various board games, such as Think Fun games, checkers, mancala, blokus, dominoes, etc. They teach logic and strategy, as well as build the number sense. It is extremely important to teach multiple approaches to the problem from the very beginning. Even a very young child can compare and contrast different ways of solving a problem, thus developing an important mind habit for future studies. Verbalization of solutions usually falls behind the ability to actually solve a problem. One of many possible way to develop this ability is to ask a child to solve a similar but different problem and point out the differences. It is also important to model your thinking process (think out loud) and demonstrate how you make mistakes, and how you realize what they are.
While teaching from simple to complex is a time-proven way to teach a skill, it does not work this way to ignite an interest. A complex robot is more intriguing than a simple bolt. Many parents notice that while their bright children are eager to explore new concepts, they are reluctant to learn routine tools, such as multiplication table. In many cases, this is caused by the way the tools are presented. They are given to a child, instead of being discovered by a child. They are also often presented as an isolated piece, lacking in meaning and depth. While it is much easier for a school educator to present the material in such a way to save time, in order to cover the required material, this approach is the main reason for interest dry-up in students.
In many cases, children are greatly motivated by joining a community of like-minded children. A math circle, math club or math contest prep group can help your child to develop intellectually stimulating friendships, acquire sophisticated math debate skills, and inspire him/her to probe more deeply into the field.
Parents often wonder whether to interfere or not if a child is stuck with the problem, and feel a natural inclination to give a child a hand. However, being “stuck” is vital in developing solid problem solving skills. The feeling of being “stuck” activates the contemplating and inventive part of our brain. You may help your child by asking where exactly he/she is stuck; whether there may be alternative ways of solving the problem; whether the problem may be reduced to a simpler one; suggest finding an analogy in another domain; generalizing; estimating; building or drawing; check for hidden assumptions; explain a problem to a younger child; etc. It is important to teach a child how to relax while being stuck and how to develop an alternative way of attack.
It is crucial to create a warm, supportive and playful environment for problem solving. Your child should feel at ease in order to fully dive into a problem, and to associate hard intellectual work with pleasant feelings later on. A respectful and constructive feedback loop by a teacher or parent is essential in early years. –
Critical thinking is a skill that children need to be taught. Critical thinks skills allow children to use reasoning and think creatively to solve a problem. While these skills are not obtained overnight, they are developed over time with the help of teachers and parents. By following a specific plan, teachers and parents can help develop these skills in kids.
1, Have children analyze stories after they read them. Have them answer questions about particular character’s motivation and possible history. By doing this, you are asking them to look beyond what is written on the page.
2, Encourage group activities. When children on working together, they are able to watch how each person solves problems. They can also bring up ideas and opinions that another child may have not thought of.
3, Do not ask questions that can simply be answered with “yes” or “no.” Ask questions that require more thought-out answers.
4,Constantly ask your child for their opinion on why something is the way it is. Instead of just answering the question for them, you can help them come to the answer on their own.
Resources for Teachers
These are sites that provide useful links to educational websites and/or tips regarding curriculum design, integration of technology into the classroom, etc.:
Kulsara is a K-12 educational portal containing a huge database of subject questions, exciting contests, educational videos and skill games, a lively discussion board and much more. Make Learning Fun!
“Free-Reading is an ongoing, collaborative, teacher-based, curriculum-sharing project. We’re looking to provide a reliable forum where teachers can openly and freely share their successful and effective methods for teaching reading in grades K-1 and for at-risk students in later grades.” A comprehensive reading program that is collaboratively produced using a wiki.
Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators is a categorized list of sites useful for enhancing curriculum and professional growth. It is updated often to include the best sites for teaching and learning.
“The Ultimate Teacher Resource”–Teachers.net offers a variety of teacher collaboration tools including chat, discussion boards, lesson plans, articles, links, photo sharing, and job searching.
Blue Web’n is an online library of 1700+ outstanding Internet sites categorized by subject, grade level, and format (lessons, activities, projects, resources, references, & tools). You can search by grade level (Refined Search), broad subject area (Content Areas), or specific sub-categories (Subject Area).
The Lightspan Network® is a suite of online tools for teachers. Besides standards-based learning activities for students and families, it includes a wealth of technology-based professional development resources. Teachers can create lesson plans, search the Web for educator-reviewed content, and connect with other educators—and everything aligns to your state standards.
LCD TV Teachnet.Com was started in August 1995 by the husband/wife team of Lee Shiney. It offers various resources for teachers and students from free lesson plans to graphics, media kit, etc.
‘Best’ education blogs:
http://oedb.org/library/features/top-100-education-blogs and http://incsub.org/awards/2006/the-edublog-awards-2006-winners/
Education blog award sites for 2006. A starting point for teachers interested in reading blogs about education. Since most of the sites contain a blogroll linking to other blogs, you will quickly find links to thousands of blogs.
Forum Network is an audio and video streaming website providing citizens the ability to watch and listen to lectures given by some of the world’s foremost scholars, authors, artists, scientists, policy makers and community leaders. These lecture events are hosted by world-class cultural and educational organizations across the country.
Web quests were designed to help students learn to navigate the Web and locate information in a meaningful way.
CONCEPT TO CLASSROOM is a collaboration between Thirteen Ed Online and Disney Learning Partnership. This URL featuresCONCEPT TO CLASSROOM’s take on webquest.
This site is designed to serve as a resource to those who are using the WebQuest model to teach with the web. By pointing to excellent examples and collecting materials developed to communicate the idea, all of us experimenting with WebQuests will be able to learn from each other. A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web. WebQuests are designed to use learners’ time well, to focus on using information rather than looking for it, and to support learners’ thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation. The model was developed in early 1995 at San Diego State University by Bernie Dodge with Tom March.
The Quest Channel of Classroom Connect brings adventure reading into the curriculum. The Galapagos Quest featured here is an adventure about ocean ecosystems, the origins of the diverse indigenous species, and the extinction threats to plant and animal species in this volcanic archipelago. Investigate the impact of humans on the environment and determine how to help preserve the natural beauty of our planet.
Content-Based Teaching Sites
In addition to the Quiz Lab, FunBrain.com has educational games designed for learners of all ages. This guide should help teachers find the games that are most useful to their class. They are grouped by title, subject, and grade level.
Housed within the walls of San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, the Exploratorium is a collage of over 650 science, art, and human perception exhibits. The Exploratorium is a leader in the movement to promote museums as educational centers.
TryScience.org is your gateway to experience the excitement of contemporary science and technology through on and offline interactivity with science and technology centers worldwide. TryScience is brought to you through a partnership between IBM Corporation, the New York Hall of Science (NYHOS), the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), and science centers worldwide.
The NOVA program chronicles the building of the state-of-the-art Clark Bridge over the Mississippi River. On this Web site, you can test your engineering skills by trying to match the right bridge to the right location.
Forum Network is an audio and video streaming website providing citizens the ability to watch and listen to lectures given by some of the world’s foremost scholars, authors, artists, scientists, policy makers and community leaders. These speaking events are hosted by world-class cultural and educational organizations across the country.
Online College AAU provides more than just an education. We provide an encouraging learning environment that meets the unique needs of today’s service members and their families.
Bill Gates foundation is working with the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington on a free, online game called Refraction. The goal of the game is to rescue animals whose ships are stuck in outer space. The ships require different amounts of fuel, powered by lasers. So the players have to manipulate fractions to split the lasers into the right amount of fuel.
“Imagine if kids poured their time and passion into a video game that taught them math concepts while they barely noticed, because it was so enjoyable,” Gates said during his speech at the ECS national forum.
As students play, their progress is visible to the teacher on his or her computer, allowing the educator to see instantly what concepts students understand.
Teachers have not had these tools before. Fragmented standards that differ from state to state and district to district have made it hard for innovators to design tools to reach a wide market. The common core will help change that.
In the classroom of the not-too-far-off future, kids will have computer devices with phenomenal interactive content. This will allow teachers to do what they call “flip the classroom.” Instead of learning a concept in class and applying it at home, students would learn the concept at home, on video, and apply it in class, where they can get help from the teacher.
When students learn a concept on video, they can take as much time as they need and learn at their own pace. They can pause the video, rewind it, or just listen to it all over again.
Then the students can use class time to do the problems. The teacher sees instantly on the dashboard which kids are getting it, and steps in if someone is stuck. The students move on when they master the material, and not before. This is very different from the old method where every student moves on to the next topic after the test, whether you got an A or a D.
Now we finally have the answer to the old riddle of education – ‘do you teach to the faster kids or the slower kids?’ This technology will let you teach each child. And often, when the so-called ‘slower kids’ are given the time and attention they need to master a core concept, it turns out they accelerate – and they’re faster than anyone thought.
I hope you’ll do all you can to help speed the adoption of new classroom technology. Teachers have waited long enough. Doctors don’t sit alone in their offices trying to find new ways to heal their patients. They’re supported by a huge industry that is constantly working to provide them better tools. Teachers deserve the same kind of support, and the common core state standards create an historic opportunity to make sure they get it.