Having Fun with Phonics while Cultivating a Love for Reading

Having Fun with Phonics while Cultivating a Love for Reading

Having Fun with Phonics while Cultivating a Love for Reading

Most schools and play centers stress on teaching children the ‘phonemic sounds’ of the letters before introducing them to the letter names. Well, are you confused? Did you know English language has 44 unique sounds, despite there being only 26 letters in the alphabet (A-Z). Each of the 26 letters have a dedicated sound and some sounds are produced by the combination of two letters.

What is phonics?

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Phonics is the most effective way of teaching preschool children to read and then learn to write. It helps children comprehend words and distinguish one word from the other. The goal of teaching phonics is to help children correlate the sound to the spelling so that the word can be decoded easily. Knowledge about phonics will also help children identify which letters to use while forming the written words.

Being able to read the words correctly, increases the child’s reading fluency. He is more confident and no more struggles with the printed words he sees in a book or on screen. Even if an unfamiliar word which the child has never read before is presented to him, he is able to apply the rules of phonics and read it correctly.

How early can a child start learning phonics?

Usually children begin learning phonics as soon as they say goodbye to their toddlerhood age. A three to four-year-old is quite equipped to start his journey into phonetic expressions and rhymes.

To begin with, a lot of action songs are introduced to the child.

For example: See me play on the drum. Playing drums is lots of fun, with a /d/-/d/-/d/-/d/-/d/-/d/-/d/-/d/-/d/. See me play upon the drum!

In this song, the child pretends to hold ‘drum sticks’ and bang the imaginary drum to make the /d/-/d/-/d/ sound.

Fun activities for children to learn Phonics

You know what the best part about teaching phonics is? There is no rule book or a paper and pencil way of learning letter sounds. Educators and parents can be as creative as they want. Children can sing, interact, dance, and read to learn by play-way method while having lots of fun with their fellow learners. Here are a few interesting ideas to teach phonics to young children:

Online Phonics Game

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ReadingEggs presents unique online games to develop a strong foundation of phonetic awareness amongst your little champs. ‘Fast Phonics’ gives them access to over a hundred highly interactive phonics games to boost letter-sound recognition skills from /a/ to /z/ and beyond.

This programme has 20-fun-filled levels and each level is represented as a ‘mountain peak’. Children gradually climb each mountain with every passing challenge in a systematic manner and get rewarded for it. There are a dozen of animated videos, printable worksheets, and fun-activities to enhance the child’s reading skills.

I-Spy Game

This is a very common game played to memorize association between the sounds and the words. From the magic box objects are made to appear one-by-one and the children have to guess the sound by which the object begins with. For example: show a ‘ring’ and children relate the /r/ sound to the object.

Dr. Seuss Books/Poems

Children love Dr. Seuss books for their very attractive illustrations and simple short stories. Some of the books you might already be familiar with are; ‘The Cat in The Hat’, ‘Fox in Socks’ and ‘Hop on Pop’. Do you notice a pattern in all the titles? Yes, they all rhyme. Read these to your children at bedtime or during the day to familiarize them with rhyming words and ask them to think of other words that rhyme to test their vocab.

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Design a Phonics Wall

Set aside a corner in the classroom or your home to display a set of CVC (consonant – vowel- consonant) words and leave a blank for any one letter. Let children decide for themselves as to which ‘letter sound’ is missing and encourage them to fill in the blank. Once you think the child has mastered these set of words, change them and introduce another batch. This is simple, fun, and as children see it around them over and over again, they become better readers.

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E-Learning with Smithsonian Science (SS) at Home Kits from Carolina

E-Learning with Smithsonian Science (SS) at Home Kits from Carolina

E-Learning with Smithsonian Science (SS) at Home Kits from Carolina

E learning has been on the rise since the past decade, but never before has it been this effective and important at the same time! Online schools and other online ways of learning have taken popularity in UAE and specifically so in urban populations of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and so on. With the current global situations, the world needs an E-Learning solution that is practical and effective, right? The added challenge of online-school and keeping up with the curriculums has created the need for a solution that enables students to keep the right pace in their learning, while also bringing them to a level playing field. Smithsonian Science At-Home Kits are on their way to doing just that.

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Effective home learning achieved

The curriculum designed in the Home-Kits by Smithsonian Science is crafted keeping the needs of the learners in mind. Courses are divided into consumable Modules with each having their independent goals. A storyline that allows the student to form logical progressions from their perspective is created for every module. Layers questions, situations and set-ups help keep the learner engaged and enables them to develop problem solving skills.

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How does the learning happen?

The Home-Kit is designed to move the learning process to the home while not compromising on the quality of education the learner receives. The mediums include instructional videos, digital card sets and other digital resources. The video and resources guide the student through the topics in the module and enable them to learn and understand independently.

How are the lessons designed?

Creating an effective learning method is half the job done in learning, right? The Home-kit is designed in a 5-part format that allows the learner to follow a designed path.

Part 1: Getting started

The ‘Getting Started’ section includes questions and discussions that build a base for the topic of the module.

Part 2: Activities and Assignments

This section includes a list of the activities that are important for the lesson. The instructions to follow them are also listed here.

Part 3: Bringing it all together

Concluding the class activity and coming to a final understanding requires the students to share ideas and thoughts. This section does that with a run-down of all important points.

Part 4: Assessment

This section of the module includes and states which part of the lesson can be used to measure the level of understanding of the learner

Part 4: Additional Optional Assignments

This section of the module is for that extra level of challenge to the student. Since this is optional, it is an added experience. These assignments can be assigned to students if time allows.

Teaching methods are great but what about tests and results?

The assessment in the @Home-Kit is done with a multi-level system, through which a complete understanding of the students’ learning can be made. The system includes Pre-Assessment, Self Assessment and more.

Pre-Assessment:

This part of the assessment of the student is a preparatory stage, where they get to engage in tasks and activities that help measure their level of knowledge and their understanding

Formative Assessment:

Specific assessment strategies are used based on what part of the curriculum form the gist of the learning for the student. The section also instructs what to look for, in measuring the understanding levels of the student.

Self Assessment :

The learning of the module is not complete unless the student has had a genuine opportunity to learn. Self assessments help with that. They also allow the student to learn with greater independence and understanding of their own learning methods.

With their over 90 years of experience in education Carolina has built the perfect way for students to learn with high results inside their own homes. The flexible and valuable online resources enable the students from countries such as the USA, UK, UAE and so on. The online resources are created with clear goals in mind for the student, which is why the @Home-Kit by Carolina, builds around the experience of learning at home by bringing in all the benefits of a classroom.

The Smithsonian Science at Home-Kit from Carolina is designed to move the learning process to the home while not compromising on the quality of education the learner receives. The mediums include instructional videos, digital card sets and other digital resources. Have a look at how e-learning keeps pace with the School curriculum:  

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Creative Ways To Get Kids To Love Maths

Creative Ways To Get Kids To Love Maths

Creative Ways To Get Kids To Love Maths

Making math lessons fun can be quite a challenge for teachers and parents alike. Young learners are full of energy and to get them to concentrate on solving problems, seems like a herculean task….doesn’t it? Some students dislike math because they think it’s a boring subject. Unlike science which is full of discovery and social studies which amuses the young minds to delve further, children feel math is full of problems and finding solutions to it, is just not their thing.

If you are an educator or a parent trying to get your kids to do some math, we can totally relate to your plight. Take a deep breath, cause Mathseeds is here to make math fun!

As the name suggests, Mathseeds is all about math. It is a comprehensive online mathematics programme for children as young as 3 – 9 years of age. Mathseends offers a wide range of child-friendly activities that are enjoyable, covering different math concepts. Fundamental topics such as numbers, shapes, and measurement, are presented in a game like manner to kids.

Have a read on how Mathseeds makes the subject a pleasurable experience:

Create a Dedicated Avatar

Children love cartoons and they very much relate to the character. Most importantly, children learn important lessons through toons, because they find them very interesting. The world of fantasy is full of color, joy, excitement, and kids love the thrill of imaging the character as their best friend. Mathseeds encourages the young learners to create their own personalized ‘Avatar’. Moreover, each math lesson begins with animated characters to make it entertaining and knowledgeable. As children unlock the next level of activity, they are introduced to newer characters. Through the learning journey the 5 characters keep children entertained by dancing, making funny movements, and most importantly motivating the child to learn math skills.

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Indulge in Interesting Activities

You will be surprised at how participative your kids are when presented with math challenges in a child-friendly manner. Mathseeds gradually introduces the learners with nine different activities based on the math concept they have learnt. Each activity is presented in a different manner enabling the little ones to use their thought process creatively. The initial stages of the activity focus on numbers, counting, and shape recognition. Later, the child unlocks an advanced level where he is made to measure, add, subtract, multiply, and divide, without missing out on a single moment of joy.

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Reading an E-book

Once children are comfortable with their numbers, they are ready to uncover the Mathseeds e-book. What better way to reinforce math concepts than to read it in a story-like form? These books are a delightful treat to understand the language of mathematics. If reading is not their thing, students can use the audio feature to let the ‘bot’ narrate the story to them. Umm….very interesting! How you wish as a parent to have had access to such cool programs during your school days!

Watch the Baby Pet Come out of its Shell

Watching a cute pet hatch from the golden acorn egg is a thrilling experience for children more so when they have worked towards it. Children fall in love with their e-pet and demonstrate responsibility in trying to take care of their personal e-pet. Each pet appears from a different environment such as, the Savannah or even the Artic areas. Integrating geography in math lessons is indeed a cleaver idea, isn’t it?

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Rewarding the Child at Every Stage 

The golden acorns are like prized possessions that children are proud of flaunting. Collecting a bunch of them gives children a similar feeling as to winning Golden trophies. Then they can opt to spend those acorns for buying different items for their ‘tree house’. This makes learning math a truly enjoyable experience. Your little munchkins won’t mind putting in some extra effort to ‘earn’ those brownie points and hatching another e-pet.

At the end of all things fun, games, puzzles and learning children are awarded with a printable e-certificate as a reminder of their achievement. Head to our website today https://knowledge-hub.com/mathseeds/ because we are ready to get the games started!

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An Innovative Assessment Tool in The Digital Age

An Innovative Assessment Tool in The Digital Age

An Innovative Assessment Tool in The Digital Age

Assessments are an important part of the educational process. An evaluation of the student’s understanding of the subject reflects whether the educational goals are being met with. Periodical assessments for students help them learn about their own progress and motivate themselves to prepare more passionately for the exams.

The average assessment score of the class is an indication of the educator’s success to deliver lessons effectively. Most importantly ‘assessments’ give answers to important questions. ‘Are students grasping the concepts properly?’, ‘Is there an alternate technique required to the teaching methodology?’, ‘Are students getting It right the first time?’

Assessments are also a revelation for the following reasons:

  • Some students may have learning issues which are recognized based on how well or poorly they fared in a series of assessments. The earlier the school gets to know about this, the sooner they will be able to make special arrangements for the student.
  • Students require some guidance and feedback for them to steer in the right direction. Assessments give a chance to the teacher to give constructive feedback in details, to the individual student and follow-up on his/her progress.

In recent times, technology is being integrated into the school assessment system to shorten the cumbersome process of examinations and evaluations.

Assessments are an ongoing process and it takes-up much of the class teacher’s time & efforts in preparing papers, keeping the model answers ready, correcting the sheets, and giving feedback to the students. This diverts the teacher’s attention, which could have been otherwise utilized more effectively for preparing teaching aids for students.

Markezy Empowers Assessments with Technology

Markezy is restructuring ‘school assessments’ and taking it to a new level by integrating technology in the grading system. The system is designed with an aim to cut down the workload of educators and make evaluations as simple as possible.

But does it work only for online exams? What happens when you have to evaluate a test paper which is conducted in a ‘pen and paper’ format?

Well, fret not! Markezy brings the best of both worlds together. Students may comfortably appear for their exams in ‘pen and paper’ format and the evaluation will be done digitally. Sounds very convenient, doesn’t it?

Let’s give you a deeper understanding of how Markezy works by following a step-by-step guide.

Step 1- Create and curate questions: Teachers can use the digital platform to create questions in different formats such as; MCQs and essay type questions. Once the questions are ready, the teacher allocates a scoring to each question, based on the importance of the topic.

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Step 2- Publish and print assessment papers: The publisher finalizes the questions to be printed in collaboration with the teacher. A random serial order is generated before printing or publishing the assessment, so as to avoid any sort of mischief amongst the students in class. For security reasons, the test paper is predesigned with the student’s ID and photograph for proper allocation. The assessments are ready to be generated and do not need any additional formatting.

Step 3 – Student writes the assessments: Based upon the description of the assessor, the student appears for the exams in the online format or on pen and paper. Enough space is allocated to accommodate the answers, and diagrams on the answer sheet. Confusion is eliminated, as each child appears for the assignment that only he/she has been assigned to and last-minute panic is done away with.

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Step 4 – Scan and upload the assessments: The simplest step is to scan the answer sheets and upload them onto the Markezy tool for evaluation. MCQs are automatically graded by the computer and no sort of human intervention is required. The scans are clear and an auto-bifurcation is done by the system such that each Q&A appears on a different page to ease the checking process. A comment section is provided by the system with auto-fill feature allowing the teacher to key-in their feedback more effectively.

Step 5 – Grade students online: Markezy streamlines the grading process and makes it a jiffy job for the educators. The best part is, teachers can evaluate assignments from anywhere, at any time of the day or night. The model answer paper prompts the evaluator to quickly skim through the answers and assign marks accordingly. And of course, the system saves the evaluator from tedious calculations by self-calculating the total score.

Step 6 – Analyze reports: Evaluators get an easy overview of the performance of an individual student and a collective score of the class. One can analyze which Question from amongst the set of questions has been a challenge for students in attempting it correctly by evaluating the scores. The auto-grading aligns the marks in ascending order to determine which student performed well and who could do better in the next exams.

Highlights

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Advantages of Project-Based Learning

Advantages of Project-Based Learning

Advantages of Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning can be described as a form of learning that follows a practical approach towards concepts and information. It also is a format through which the learner can gain a holistic understanding of the subject matter, as compared to stand-alone theoretical information. Theoretical approach of learning also does not equip the learner with the ability to effectively apply concepts of the subject matter, which Project-based learning does very efficiently.

TechnoKids promotes project-bases learning

The idea of project-learning and why it is an effective method of learning stems from the way humans use the information available to them. The human brain processes each piece of information coming its ways and then uses it in real world applications. That is how we learn anything and everything. And to understand a concept or idea truly.

This is where Project-based learning plays its role as an effective method of learning. Activities, Reports, Class projects, and so on are only some of the most common ways project-based learning benefits the learner, while also making it engaging and even fun to a certain degree.

The application of a concept requires not only an in-depth understanding of the concept itself, but also several skills to execute the ideas and build a strong foothold on root concepts. Therefore, Project-based learning is regarded as an interdisciplinary activity. Since it requires the learner to fully understand and apply concepts from various disciplines.

Practical learning can be taken a step further with collaborative work, such as group projects, debates, discussions, and so on. This allows for the student to learn in conditions most identical to real world problems, where including the skills and information on a subject, people require the ability to communicate their ideas with clarity, to optimize and make the process more efficient.

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Hands-on approach to project-based learning

The real stimuli received by a learner in a project-based form of instruction incentivizes and motivates the learner to know more and do more. Information suddenly becomes meaningful because it has a use, and you get to use it. Take a chemical reaction for example; If you were told that 2 chemicals react in a particular way, and that’s that. You wouldn’t be instantly intrigued to know why, but if you were to mix 2 chemicals, that would definitely pique interests, right? What changed? You got to try it for yourself!

Practical or Project-based learning also allows for a critical and creative line of thinking to develop. Solving real world problems requires real thinking, which is always driven by a creative or critical thinking approach. The higher-order thinking required to solve such practical problems, is what essentially is of great use in the real world. It enables the learner to have independent innovative thoughts and the ability to also execute them.

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Promoting critical-thinking

The ability to apply information acquired, allows for learners to have a greater control of their learning experience which in turn benefits as a real-world application of skill and information for the learner. This encourages the learner to think independently and freely, instead of having their thought bound in a unidirectional course. The critical thinking that a learner develops during such project-based learning is crucial functionally but also developmentally.

While project-based learning has been a ‘thing’ since over a century, it still has multiple facets that are still being explored. The introduction of technology in the learning experience has pushed the ideas of practical learning even further. The open-endedness of a project allows for the learner to extract as much value from it as possible. It also greatly improves the modularity of the learning experience, since, all students can learn based on their interests and skills, while learning to perfect their respective skills. This enables the system to remove causes such as ‘lack of interest’, ‘non-comprehension’, etc, entirely from the learning experience of a student. While all students in a class learn the same subject, each student has the agency to customize their learning experience to their liking.

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On Your Marks. Get Set. Let’s Puzzle Play

On Your Marks. Get Set. Let’s Puzzle Play

On Your Marks. Get Set. Let’s Puzzle Play

Peter played with puzzling puzzles and put the pieces of the puzzle in proper order! Now that was quite a puzzling tongue twister, wasn’t it? Puzzles have always been a classic free-play activity for kids. Puzzles come in a variety of types, patterns, and shapes, with different levels of difficulties.

Puzzles keep the children engaged in some sort of ‘mental workout’ which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. When children are presented with a challenging puzzle, their left brain and right brain are at work together. The left brain prompts logic and the right brain demonstrates creativity, which are essential skills required while solving a puzzle.

Here are a few things that children learn through puzzle play:

Spatial skills: When kids solve a puzzle, they are told to look at each piece carefully to be able to place them correctly, to ultimately form ‘the bigger picture’. Adults use words like turn, flip, and rotate to indicate positioning of the jumbled pieces. Children start using their imaginative skills to figure what the ‘picture’ would look like, if a particular piece was joint to the other. Spatial awareness develops as the child is now becomes aware of how different objects relate to each other and how moving one object affects the other.

Problem-solving skills: Every piece of the puzzle is important. Piece by piece forms a complete picture. The first step to solving a puzzle is to unjumble the pieces and sort them in order. This gives children the chance to learn problem solving. They learn that it is more effective to break down the complexity of the task and deal with it in an organized manner.

Improves memory: Puzzles are great brain boosting activities. The mind is alert and most active in trying to make connections, remembering patters, and matching colors. Attempting to figure-out the puzzle in the first attempt might take a longer time. However, as the child tries over and over again, he gains confidence. At later stages, solving the same puzzle may seem like a cakewalk.

Develops persistence: Cracking the puzzle is like a eureka moment! The joy and confidence of the preschooler is unmatched. However, the process is quite frustrating at times. Children encounter many hurdles and go through an emotional roller coaster in an attempt to solving the puzzle. In the process, children learn to deal with their emotions and be persistent until they get it right.

Highlights Presents Hidden Pictures Puzzle Town App (3+ years)

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To give puzzle play a new dimension and make screen time FUN for kids, Highlights introduced the ‘Hidden Pictures Puzzle Town App’ for children. The app soon become a favorite amongst the early learners and went-on to win a Platinum Award for the Best Mobile Game of 2017.

The app creates excitement amongst puzzlers and rewards them on every milestone achieved. It’s invigorating for your little ones to unlock an animated character and collect points on their way to manifest a personalized ‘puzzle town’.

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Hidden Pictures Puzzle Town consists of the following:

  • 50 puzzles
  • Weekly 5 new puzzles
  • 5 different kinds of puzzles, including Highlights’ famous Hidden Pictures scenes
  • Adorable characters and accessories to enhance play and personalization
  • Additional bonus mini games that help earn more collectibles
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Highlights’ puzzle gameplay aims to transform your children into the ‘best versions of themselves’.

  • Hidden pictures within the puzzle promote vocabulary building
  • Multiple attempts encourage letter recognition and critical thinking
  • Finding their way through the ‘mazes’ help strengthen problem-solving and fine motor skills
  • Matching and pairing activities build pre-math skills through visual memory
  • Identifying an object within the puzzled picture, develops cognitive skills and improves memory
  • Intensity of puzzle increases through adaptive learning technology, as the child becomes more confident

From emotional skills, to cognitive development, and self-esteem, puzzles seem to have obvious benefits on learners. Solving puzzles in the least possible time encourages healthy competition amongst children. Continuous improvement happens when children attempt and re-attempt the same puzzle multiple times.

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