"If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow." --John Dewey

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Play with Purpose

It won't be long now.  In just a matter of weeks, many of us will be sending our students off for a summer of sun and fun . . . and forgetting how to reduce fractions.  Wouldn't it be nice if your students wanted to practice some of their math and language skills over the summer so you wouldn't need to spend so much of the new school year getting them back up to speed?  Now is the time to get them hooked on the fun games at Arcademic Skill Builders, Lure of the LabyrinthTypeRacer and more.

Sign up for a free teacher account at http://plus.arcademics.com/register and you can create accounts for your students, and assign activities (games) specific to each of your student's needs.  There are games for a wide variety of math topics, as well as some language arts, geography and typing games, and while most games are designed for K-6 students, a "plus" account will allow you to customize games with your own material for older students as well.  Some games are for individual players only, while others will allow up to 12 players to compete.  Use the grouping feature of your teacher account to make sure that students of like abilities can compete against one another.  Students earn achievement points, and can print certificates at their discretion after the completion of each game.  In the meantime, you can view reports of time spent, and accomplishments by student, or by activity.

Need something a little more challenging for your pre-algebra students?  Introduce them to Lure of the Labyrinth.  This formidable maze game will keep your students engaged for hours . . . days . . . even weeks (I've not yet had a student who didn't like it).  While this site has the familiar look and feel of a just-for-fun video game, students must complete challenging math puzzles to earn coins needed to help them through the maze.  Organize your students into teams, and they can communicate through the site to help each other with the maze, the math and more.

And, just because it is definitely a favorite of my students, let me also recommend TypeRacer.com as a fun way of keeping up keyboarding speed and accuracy.  Users will type paragraphs from songs or novels, and compete to finish typing the text before their fellow racers.  Compete against random opponents, or share a specific race URL with a friend and race against each other.

Let's face it--summer is a time for having fun.  Let's make sure that some of that fun is academically productive.  Do you have an educational game to recommend?  Please let me know, and I'll add it to the custom Google Search Engine below.  Together we can compile a searchable list of resources that will ensure our students enjoy a summer that is both fun and productive.


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