Call me amazed! We’re going to skip educational controversies today and focus on family fun – the kind that’s available via computer, with guidance and suggestions from teachers. Rushford-Peterson Elementary School teachers many great, family-friendly web pages on their website. A friend told me about the web pages elementary school teachers in Victoria, Minnesota have posted. Princeton North Elementary also has computer-based activities that families can use with their youngsters.
If you are the parent of an elementary youngster, or a teacher, this is something to see! Here are three of the best examples, of about 45 school websites around the state that I looked at.
To see what Victoria Elementary School has done, start at their website: ves.district112.org Then click on staff and you’ll see information created by the teachers at each grade level, k-5. Click on a teacher’s website. On the left will be “educational websites.” The many great activities include:
* The beloved Dr. Seuss characters, featured on a website, allowing youngsters to practice reading, writing and oral dexterity skills. : www.seussville.com/#/games
* Origami ideas: www.origami-resource-center.com/easy-origami.html
* Games and activities helping young people learn to, and improve their reading, please see www.starfall.com, and www.funbrain.com
* Reading and thinking games with characters of various races, check out
Brian Beresford, Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Eastern Carver County School district told me that the lists “are a combination of suggestions we made and things teachers find. ” He would be glad to discuss what the district has done. Write to him at BeresfordB@district112.org
Teachers in the Southeastern Minnesota school district of Rushford-Peterson district also have systematically post a number of websites that families can use to extend and enrich learning. Start by going to their home page, www.r-pschools.com. Then click on the elementary school, and go for example to the 4thgrade website shared by Mrs. Hoiland, Mrs. Wolter and Miss Johnson, or the 5th grade website of Mrs. Pat Hatlevig. Check out the “websites: Links for Learning, as the 4th grade teachers call them. I love “fruit shoot,” which helps promote learning basic math (and “manual dexterity.” And there were great “Magic tricks” with numbers in “funology,” found on Mrs. Hatlevig’s website. These are just a few of the many examples available.
Princeton North Elementary School in Princeton Minnesota has done this a little differently. They’ve apparently worked with a company that produces reading books. The website mentions the company name on the left hand side. Clicking on that name brings you to many games to help promote reading skills. There’s also a section on math skills. You’ll find all this at
www.princeton.k12.mn.us. Click on North Elementary School, and you see the items on the left hand side.
Some readers may be thinking, “Hey, lots of schools have lists of great computer programs.” You could be right. I looked last spring at more than 30 schools website, and only found one school that did this. This fall, I looked at about 45 urban, suburban and rural school websites. I sometimes found one or two teachers in a school who posted websites. But Victoria and Princeton have done this with all of their grade levels.
Are there other schools that have done this? Quite possibly. I did not look at every one of the school websites in Minnesota.
Also, can every family use these websites? If they don’t have a home computer, the answer is no, unless they go to a local library. But it’s certainly true that families with a home computer will be able to access these websites more easily than others.
But I think families that do have home computers should look at these websites, and spend some time on at least a few of them with their young child/children.
One of my earliest happy memories with our youngsters is having them sit on my lap when they were about a year old, playing a computer game that helped them learn to spell their name. I typed in their name. Then I showed them where on the keyboard the letters were, that spelled out their name. When they pushed the right button, there were colorful fireworks on the screen, and loud “hooray! Good job!” The kids just loved it.
Recently, a friend pointed out www.savewords.org I went there and laughed for 15 minutes. I learned about a number of words I’d never heard of, along with hearing from words that pleaded, “pick me!” The site is colorful and yes, lots of fun. So it you want to know about “aquabib” (water drinker) ichtyarchy (the domain of fishes), operiment (a covering) and hundreds of other words, check out this website.
The options are limitless. Rushford-Peterson, Princeton and Victoria offer great examples. Parents at any school can go to their websites, and find terrific activities for their youngsters.