Best Sites for Elementary School Students
by Jen O'Neill
After spending 2,100 hours in school per year, elementary school kids often confess that they don’t always find a classroom setting to be an ideal place for learning. A different learning environment, such as after school or at home might be able to offset the stress kids experience in the classroom. There are many ways to keep kids encouraged by awaking their innate desire for learning. Help kids to break out of the classroom box, and stimulate their imagination, curiosity, and learning styles.
In traditional learning environments, playtime often takes a back seat to structured education; however, the power of curiosity could be kids’ greatest catalyst for learning. According to the article, , “Not The Creative Type? Think Again,” author Chris Trayor believes that school standards actually educate children out of our creativity. Disciplines, such as music, help kids reconnect with their creative sides, whether they are writing, composing, playing or listening to it. Art projects also foster kids’ creativity whether their interests dwell in writing, listening, composing or playing music. Art projects help to foster creativity and the visual learner will be drawn to viewing painting, photography and other art, while the hands-on learner will have an inclination to create their own artwork.
To take creativity a step further, parents can look around the house to find science experiment or math lessons in their daily routines. For instance, baking and cooking is a lesson in chemistry and playing pool is a geometry lesson. Math puzzles are exciting ways to inspire kids’ minds, without having to learn lessons in a formal way. Since each child possesses their unique learning style—kinesthetic, auditory, verbal, or logical—science experiments are ideal methods of tapping into almost every learning preference.
As the saying goes, “history repeats itself,” and it’s never too soon for kids to make historical connections to current events. Learning about historical figures and events—the good, the bad, and the ugly, will pique the interest of kids and get them motivated to learn about historical figures from all eras, parts of the world and walks of life—there are so many great stories to be told, thanks to history!
Online reading can be a great way for kids to learn how to read or to enhance their reading skills. Scholastic provides online games and activities so that kids can interact with reading in a different ways, versus the traditional way of viewing words on a page. Starfall has games and phonics, which are enticing ways stir kids’ love for reading and helps to put fun into learning. However, there is no supplement to interacting with an adult role model, teacher or family member and working together on writing projects will enthuse kids to read and write. A simple way to go about doing this is by getting together with your child or student to write a short story or tale with a holiday theme; captivate memories or dream up wonderful times together through Suite101’s holiday writing projects.
Active and noisy learning is just as critical to acquiring knowledge as quiet learning, such as reading. Part of “active learning” includes asking questions, discussion and problem solving. Since 21st Century learners love playing on the computer, games, including some video games, can be a medium to maximize kids learning abilities. Although parents should monitor the amount of time their children should spend on the computer, a few hours a week of playing video or learning games can enable productive learning.
Having alone or down time is also excellent for learning. Kids need opportunities to explore, to become stimulated by their own thoughts and ideas and playing alone or with one other person can be an ideal way to pique their inner-curiosity. Suite 101 provides different game ideas kids who “just want to be alone for awhile,” through games kids can play indoors, outdoors or a combination of both. Use the Web to find games that inspire a vision for kids, like NASA’s build a space station, or a fun quest to a new world they would not otherwise be able to access, like National Geographic’s prehistoric virtual journey.