Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ice Mint


Here's something a homeschooling parent shared with us. Thought that was innovative enough. And the learning continues.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Nice to have everywhere in the Philippines

If only Vicente Labro's article titled "Village school goes high tech" could scream and get enough attention.

... then perhaps the idea won't remain a pipe dream.

Now if you ask me, I'm more inspired by Sugata Mitra's Hole-in-the-Wall project.

Photo credit: jeffooi.com


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Story - the shortest distance between truth and a human being

Photo credit: britishcouncil.org

You may consider this is an apology for rediscovering the value of story-telling. Elisa Pearmain echoes Anthony de Mello and writes: "(h)earing stories from many spiritual traditions reminds us that as human beings we share a common longing for connection, and often find that in how we treat each other." And this is something that moms would naturally be able to provide their children -- the Holy Scriptures and even the Book of Virtues could come in handy -- during family time before the lights are off for the night.

But apart from personal and spiritual growth, Pearmain states that stories are doorways into Learning, Social skills, Peace, and Relaxation and fun. More here.

Small wonder that "Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang" has become memetic.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dartboards and Math

Photo credit: Sydney Western Suburbs Darts League

I'm not your usual bar or pub denizen. Nor have I ever been especially in my college years. So you can't expect me to like playing darts. But the idea of blending dartboards and Math is now a tad irresistible.

You might argue that it's not something one would imagine as useful in the classroom for learning about addition or multiplication. Think again. This flash-based game could help demonstrate the point. But then again, wouldn't it be nice to use real dartboards?

Now if you ask me why the dartboard numbers are in the order they are, this could probably hit the bull's eye. As to going to pubs, perhaps on St. Patrick's Day? Green beer would be interesting.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The world around us follows an orderly pattern

... despite the chaos that is regular fare in news media.

And Leonardo Fibonacci of 13th century Pisa took extraordinary pains to understand this. Yet from my experience with traditionally-schooled kids doing mundane Math, it makes me wonder why Fibonacci sequence is not introduced after a child knows about 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. So I get a non-plussed look when I declare that 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, is followed by 5.

Good thing I got this activity to explain the concept via tangible patterns. I call it Math + Arts and Crafts.



Could be a springboard when introducing Fractals and Financial Markets later in his career. Who knows maybe the world would be in less turmoil by then.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Creativity is the mother of genius

You must have seen this before.


Photo credit: metro.co.uk

Yes they call it a zorse. And no that wasn't a handiwork of a Photoshop genius.

But I digress. What makes for a great story-teller's ability to conjure mythical images of basilisks, dragons, griffins, or unicorns that capture the imagination of their rapt audience? Sorry for the rhetorical question.

Point here is that young learners now have the benefit of online tools for unleashing their inner Homer or Rowling.

Perhaps Switcheroo Zoo can come in handy. Better yet, more advanced writers could lay their hands on ficlets.com.

So what's with the creative writing thing again? Go figure below.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

How do you test for Intellectual Giftedness?

Photo credit: news.bcc.co.uk

Susan Hyde offers some answers. She identifies some typical traits:
  • Intense Sensitivity
  • Intensity of Interest
  • Rapid Learning
  • Advanced Vocabulary and Sense of Humor
  • Early Reading
  • Perfectionism
She then describes a variety of assessment approaches that may reveal specific areas of strength and weakness, twice exceptionality, and learning styles.

The bottomline seems to make sense, if you consider that traditional practices may be inadequate for a gifted child's appetite for "self-actualization":

"[G]ifted testing should be used to create individualized academic plans for students who need daily intellectual challenges in order to reach their potential.

Read more about Hyde's article here.

As to the traits, I'm a bit curious about "Sense of Humor". Marcel Marceau comes to mind. Perhaps being a comic artist could be a sensible career for some gifted children? Seriously.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Let me call this education beyond Eureka

I thought I could stick closely to the structure of the lesson on Scientific Method, control, variables, etc. with this activity (pdf)on fuselage, wing size and flight of the O-wing glider.

But education should be fun right? So they played and enjoyed it they did. I'd like to think they also learned a thing or two about making a hypothesis.

video

Dont Know What - Simone

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Digital Animation: Start them young ?

You must have heard of the following (in no particular order and by no means exhaustive):

W.OW., FPS, MMORPG, Ragnarok (ca. 2006), online casual games, Wii games, etc.

Mostly they involve digital learners as consumers. Now wouldn't it be nice if involvement were in the form of "gamers-as-producers"? Machinima or Spore comes to mind (No intention to provoke debate between religion and science with the latter).





But great things come from small beginnings. So why not consider starting with stick figures?

Pivot Stickfigure Animator come could in handy.
"Pivot Stickfigure Animator is a unique software, that allows you to create stick figure animations easily and without any artistic skills. You can move the sections of the sick figure and easily create a chain of animation frames that can be previewed as you go. You can use more than one stick-figure in the animation, and even create your own stick figures using an easy to use visual editor that lets you assemble objects out of lines and circles. In addition, you can optionally set animation size, speed and more. The result can be saved as animated GIF file. Fun and easy to use, surprisingly well featured."

Take a look at this sample. You might need to click on the figure to see it move. I hope it's good enough for a young learner's first crack at animation.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In teaching you will learn

aka multitasking in a social network environment.

So Marcky was working through the topic "plant classification". I am told he was to read through dicots, monocots, and spores.

Meanwhile, I was scanning Li and Bernoff's "groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies". Next, I began juggling e-mails, facebook updates, and Google searches.



Then I took a trip to the garden patch that we call our very own "fern gully", and clipped samples of, erm, ferns.

After a quick slide prep of a spore specimen, this is what Marcky discovered under the microscope:



Interesting, heh! Now for the bonus part. I just learned that dried fern fibers can be woven into bracelets and cellphone cases.


Photo credit: smallislander

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One good argument for homeschooling?

This shirt never fails to get people's attention. It's a tongue-in-cheek list of excuses for not doing a homework.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

What is less than, equal or greater than for?

Or for that matter, the symbols: < , = , >

Perhaps the following can offer some clues? Better yet, could even make Maths more reality-based?

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

YouTube - Mongo Seeds Time Lapse

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is too much reading bad for the brain?

Photo credit: artfiles.art.com

I did some Google search (as usual). Here's the link to the search results. (Nothing conclusive) -- You don't have to click on it. And I wouldn't even quote any of those.

But I'd much rather quote (with apologies) the following post from a friend in a homeschool group:
"Dr. Elkind, has the opinion that free play and unstructured learning will give kids under 6 the best start. This was because their cognitive capacities should dictate what they should be taught. In other words, if a three year old is eager to learn to read, then by all means teach him, but he should not be forced to tell the difference between confusing lower case letters (d, b, p, q) unless he wants to know."
Sauce for the goose ... I guess the point here is moderation. Golden mean. Rule of thirds. Informal balance, perhaps?

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

How do you teach factoring differently?

Use a board game.

It doesn't have to be a win-lose kind of game because it can be cooperative. Both players win if they maximize or minimize their combined points.



The Factor Game - Upload a Document to Scribd
Read this document on Scribd: The Factor Game

Here's an online version of the factor game.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

90 minutes

That's how long a child ought to be physically active daily -- not just with their fingers on keyboards but in the gym sense.

And that's what Jill reports when she wrote "Make Sure Your Child Learns Sports Skills".

Seems like a good benchmark for us adults too? Remind me to reconfigure my workstation.

Photo credit: Christian Science Monitor

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Want your child to be a pilot? Perhaps Wii can help

Now I'm beginning to sympathize with Jason Rybca's point.

He says:
"Someone told me once that a child that plays video games more often would have a better chance at becoming a successful pilot than someone who seldom picked up a controller. I'm not too sure how much truth there is to that statement, but it would make sense to me, as piloting a large aircraft is much like playing a video game simulator."




Then again I may be wrong. Incidentally that point was a subtext of Rybca's article about Physical Fitness and the Wii here.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

The timeless treasure that is a tangram!

Bricks and mortar make a house, but the laughter of children makes a home. — Irish Proverb

So the Tangram-a-gram site starts with that quote. But I'd like to think that the greater value is the kind of ideas one can generate out of tangrams.

Image via: http://getconfused.net/2008/06/01/play-your-house-lago/

While you are at it, you may want to take a look at a "casual tangram game" too.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Is your child a math genius?

Perhaps you might as well ask yourself the same question. You could be one.

To help you make sense of that question, here's a psycho-geometric test developed by Dr. Susan E. Dellinger. Phil Beadle, describes it " (as) a system which classifies everyone into one of five personality types according to a preference for one shape over another."

Beadle continues:
"Where this is of use for children is in terms of developing their own self-knowledge: being analytical about their own personality type so that they can be reflective about their reactions in certain situations. Anything that can help a child reach a higher level of self-awareness can only be of benefit for his development and for his performance when it comes to learning other things."
More here. Click the image below to take the test:

Would be nice to get your response in the comments below.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Violin + Handheld Game Console

... goes a long way.

I think "too much" Nintendo games using those tiny buttons can enhance finger vibrato skills?

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Prime Factorization and Bill of Rights

Ok, so my 5th Grade kid got into serious talk with me about how he used to enjoy Math especially that part about place values and stuff . Now he's on prime factorization and complains about the headache it gives him (In Manila it's called nose-bleed)! [insert emergency sound clip here]

Instinctively, I knew it's about breaking down a concept into its most basic level and that good prime factorization skill offers solid preparation for Algebra. I was ready to argue that it's about learning to drill down to the core of something, like what's inside a fruit. But he wouldn't budge.

So I launched good ol' reliable Google and found this: "Why learn prime factorization? How does it apply to the real world?". I like that part that says "Sorting numbers is great lesson in sorting reality." The article ends with:
"Math is about seeing how things fit it. It is the science of (among other things) patterns and order. If you learn to accept math as a way to describe and think about certain parts of reality, you will get "the big picture" - the picture of math as something beyond just a boring subject in school."
Now what's with the Bill of Rights? You'd have to read the rest of the article to see what I mean.

As to the factorization drills, perhaps this exercise from Quia could help take away the headache?

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