Fun Reading Games to Teach Reading

One of the best ways to teach reading is with fun reading games.These games can be used for learning new sight words & sounds or just to review them. Some fun reading games that my son enjoyed playing when I was teaching him to read are:

Musical chairs – place the letters or sight words on chairs and play music as your child circles the chairs. When the music stops, the child tells you the sound or word. When your child gets the sound/word right that card is removed. The game is played until all the cards are removed & the child gets a small treat for getting all the cards right.
Hide & Seek – Hide flash cards around the house. When your child finds one he/she has to tell you what it says. You can either have a small treat on each flash card like an M&M or give them a treat after they have found and said all the hidden flash cards.
Fishing For Sight Words (or Letters) – Rig up a “fishing pole” by attaching some string to a “pole” of some sort. Use a stick or a broom if you don’t have a real fishing pole. Tie a paperclip or any kind of clip to the string. Have your child sit on the couch and fish over the side of it for their words. When they get one right they can get a small treat. Or when they have gotten all of their cards right, they can get a bigger treat.
Act out the sight words that you can. For example, if I am trying to teach my son the sight word “on,” I tell him to go stand “on,” all kinds of things, and he has to come back in between and look at the flash card and tell me that it says the word “on.” For example, I say, “Go stand “on” the rug in the kitchen. Ok, now come back, and look at your card. What does it say? That’s right “on.” Now go stand “on” your bed,” etc.

Most young children thrive on learning with movement. They retain the information so much better if it is presented in the form of an activity or fun reading game. These reading games are so effective because they incorporate all three aspects of learning: sight, sound, and movement.

Online Gaming Popularity Contest – and The Winner is

When internet first arrived, people anticipated and thought we would find purposes in education and news, but the influence on our daily lives would be small, the opposite is the truth. Internet is a huge resource these days and not only in education and news but it has become extremely big in the world of entertainment. Online gaming is one of those extremely popular internet entertainment forms. If you are not familiar in the world of online gaming this article might give you a quick introduction to the world of online gaming.

Online gaming

Online games are games played over the Internet or an equivalent technology. Online games can range from simple text based games to games that incorporate complex graphics and virtual worlds populated by many players at the same time. Massively multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPG) are being played all around the world via the internet.
Many of these online games have online communities, which makes the online games also a social activity.

A game for every interest

In the world of online gaming there are so many different kind of games that it doesn’t matter what your personal interests are, there will always be a online game that you will like. If you like science fiction, there are too many games to be counted. With fantasy games it is the same thing, the amount is staggering. But there are community games, games for kids, puzzle games, adventures, gambling you name it and it exist. The most popular games from 2007 give a wide variety of online games to choose from.

Top 10 online games (2007)

1. World of Warcraft 8.5 million subscribers. WoW as the biggest MMO in the world.

2. Habbo Hotel 7.5 million active users. Social game MMO popular with teens and growing fast

3. RuneScape 5 million active users. MMORPG

4. Club Penguin 4 million active users. MMO for the kiddies social environments like Habbo Hotel.

5. Webkinz 3.8 million active users.

6. Gaia Online 2 million active users

7. Guild Wars 2 million active users. MMORPG

8. Puzzle Pirates 1.5 million active users

9. Lineage I/II 1 million subscribers MMO

10. Second Life 500,000 active users

Top 10 MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing games):

1. World of Warcraft

2. EVE online

3. Final Fantasy XI

4. City of Heroes / City of Villain

5. Dark Age of Camelot

6. Dungeons & Dragons

7. EverQuest

8. ROSE Online

9. Saga of Ryzom

10. Vanguard:Saga of Heroes

Create your own personality

The great popularity of some online games can be explained by the fact that players can create a character, a new persona for themselves with which they can play a role. Some people find this dangerous and are afraid that players lose control of reality and lose their own personality in the process. In fact role playing doesn’t create a variety of split personalities, it is just a very enjoyable distraction from day to day live. And yes, there are people who take online gaming too seriously and even can get addicted but their numbers are minuscule compared to the people who just have found a healthy and enjoyable hobby in playing these games.

Online gaming is extremely popular and will remain popular for a long time, because it has so much variety to it and it is also a way to meet people around the world. In the near future there will be no shortage of persons who enjoy spending time playing such games, and online gaming will continue to grow and grow in popularity.

The Impact of Technology in the Classroom

How has the use of technology impacted teaching and learning in the PK-16 classroom?When is comes to behaviorism technology has made it even easier. It used to be just like Pavlov’s dog, when the student does something right they get praised verbally or with a good grade versus a treat or a scratch behind the ear. Shaping behavior is important and we need to ensure there is a baseline. Technology almost guarantees that specific learning will take place as the objectives are determined by the teacher. Teachers can set specific goals and the students will know what they need to do to get there. Benjamin Bloom first came up with the idea that the student will succeed in learning the task if they are given a specific time to do it. Technology allows for you to more easily chunk lessons into specific times. Students will perform better, especially when they succeed and get the praise of the teacher. Although the stimulus is provided by the teacher, it will do no good if the students do not receive it equally. (Snowman & Biehler, 2003)
Other ways computers assist is that they offer the ability for repetition and feedback to the student. Teachers can also incorporate the appropriate enforcer’s to the lesson whether it is text, video or audio. The student does the task right they can get a smiley face , text telling them they are “Correct” or audio saying “Good Job!”. (Parkay & Stanford 2004)Social Learning is learning occurs when students learn from each other whether it be through modeling, imitation or observing within the social context. How can you do that with technology? Normally the students work on their own computer, but you can have them do a group project. When students do a project together they will observe how other groups are proceeding and imitate them if it is working well. The teacher usually also models what they are requiring the students to accomplish. Even when working individually the students will assist each other as one knows more than another.There are cognitive factors in social learning as well as behaviorism. There is a clear line between learning by observation and student imitation. The cognitive process maintains that the attention of the student is the critical factor in the learning process. The expectations and consequences that are reinforced will bring about similar future behavior. (Ornstien & Lasley 2000)
Cognitive learning is learning that occurs when a learner process information. This is similar to behaviorism but the student has more input to accomplish how they reach the planned outcome. The teacher can model a project but the student may have other information that will aid them in accomplishing the outcome. An example would be how I instructed my students how to set up an Excel spreadsheet. I had them set up a basic spreadsheet showing how much their parents spent on them in a month. This was relevant to the students and caught their interest. They went beyond the initial project and had boarders, colors, etc. on their spreadsheets. The students who did this were praised aloud and the other students wanted to know what they did and how. This tied in the social learning as well as the behaviorism theory (Didn’t even realize it at the time).When is comes to designing and developing lessons to incorporate technology the constructionist have the nod. Seymour Papert of the MIT Media Lab stated,”Constructionism holds that children learn best when they are in the active role of the designer and constructor.” When the student is actively involved they have the buy-in to the success of the project or assignment. The students will be more apt to complete and learn more from it when they have some ownership. The students in turn will share their new found information when doing the assignment with the other students allowing for the constructionist learning. This form of teaching eliminates the grade and goes more with a go, no go process. Teachers assess the students by the completion of the assignment or lack of completion. This is better because of students being able to play a greater role in the process and assessing their own progress.We teach ourselves how to learn. This is the constructivism theory on how we learn. With technology this couldn’t be truer. Most students have a basic understanding of the computer. They can download songs, play games and set up Myspace web page. What they can not do is build a spreadsheet or power point presentation. The teacher will give them a basic understanding but the students will learn from trial and error and construct their own learning.History of the computer use in the classroom started off slow. Saloman and Globerson (1987) suggested that underachievement in schools is because of the lower expectations on the part of the teachers, parents, and society. That was because the teachers themselves really hadn’t been exposed to the marvels of what a computer and the associated software could do for them. The Commodore 64, Apple II along with the Macintosh began their strong emergence in the early 80′s. Software programmers had a vision about the computer and how it could be used in the classroom. They developed software that teachers could use along with their instruction. Apple began teaching the teachers and Macintosh soon followed suit. This was the beginning of incorporating the use of computers in the classroom. (Jonassen 2000)Using computers in the classroom allows for all the learning theories to come to fruition. A computer allows for the cognitive process to bloom and brings about the social learning as well. When a student is given an assignment or project on the computer they will strive to complete it. The different things they learn they will share with other students especially if they think it is the bomb, cool or whack. On the flip side it can inhibit learning if the student is completely computer illiterate as frustration sets in as they cannot proceed as well as others. The computer also allows the teacher to develop lessons for all the multiple intelligences.With the advances computers and programs are taking on a daily basis, it is allowing for more interaction in the classroom(s). It is even allowing students from different schools to interact. Technology also allows for time to be better utilized, the outcomes of the objectives to be more easily determined and goals easy to implement and automate.