Tag Archives: education

T-Minus Twenty

T-Minus twenty days.

Including today there are twenty days of school left in the 2016-2017 school year. The need for a break in the action is showing on students and teachers alike.

Yesterday I was sitting at my desk during my prep period, trying to muster up enough energy to grade some papers that had been piling up and looking for a little motivation to keep me going. During this moment of soul-searching my gaze found the small posters of math quotes that I asked my students to make the first day of the trimester.

The assignment I had given the students that day was to find one positive math quote that spoke to them. Something that they could hold onto this trimester and look at when they needed a little inspiration. I had read through all of them when they turned them in and then hung them on the wall, but I hadn’t really looked at them since that time.

Yesterday I realized just how glad I was to have students who took that assignment seriously and really looked for quotes that were math related, positive, and inspirational. I’m going to share some of my favorites with you because you might need a little math motivation too!

If you’re a teacher, a student, or a parent of a child in a math class I’m sure we can all use a little end of the year pick-me-up!

Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms. Its about understanding! - William Thurston

 

Even the hardest puzzles have a solution.

My students know that I value perseverance over a quickly achieved correct answer and seem to have embraced that as a norm.

Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. - Robert Collier

 

Math is the most beautiful and most powerful creation of the human spirit.

Some days I wonder if they listen to anything I say, but then I see quotes like these and I know they’ve heard some of the things.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them. - Albert Einstein

 

A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new. - Albert Einstein

Not all the quotes were specifically math related but they were all related to thinking, persevering, and learning from mistakes.

At the end of the year my students may not all know how to write a quadratic equation. They may not know how to find a linear regression formula to fit a scatter plot. They may not know how to find the height of a building using trigonometry. But, hopefully, at least most of them will know that math is more than just memorizing equations and getting right answers. I hope they leave my room with a little more confidence in their academic abilities. I hope they leave with a more positive outlook on math in general.

So here is my motivation for the last four weeks of the year:

All of my students deserve the best educational experience I can give them. My best might be different for each student. My best might be different depending on the day and how I feel. But I know I can’t take the easy route just because we’re all counting down the days. There is still teaching and learning to be had!

T-minus twenty days to (hopefully) reach one more kid. We have T-minus twenty days to try some new strategies. T-minus twenty days to make a difference in someone’s academic career.

T-minus twenty days. Let’s do this!


If my post or one of my students’ quotes inspired you or gave you a little motivation to finish strong this school year tell me about it in the comments!

If you’re still looking for that little push you need tell me that too! I love to hear from my readers!


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Dacobots

Math Lovin’ Review: Dacobots eLearning Portal

 

I received one month of complimentary access to the Dacobots eLearning portal in exchange for an honest review.
This is a Math Lovin’ Momma #SponsoredPost. All opinions expressed within are 100% my own.


The Math Lovin’ Momma Reviews:

Dacobots Home Page

Dacobots eLearning Portal


As a parent and a teacher I am always on the look out for new or new to me products that can help my daughter at home and my kids at school be more successful academically. Sometimes it feels like there are so many products on the market that have similar purposes it can be overwhelming. In my short career, thus far, as a teacher I have played around with a lot of the options that are available for middle school and high school age students but now that my daughter is getting old enough to start looking at preschools my focus has started to switch to finding eLearning opportunities for her as well.

Dacobots eLearning has lots of games based on a variety of topics offered at many different grade levels. The program is still currently in its Beta phase of development, which means that there are still some bugs that need to be worked out and there is still content being added. However, I feel that I was able to try out a lot of content in the one month that I had membership.

The Basics:

Dacobots eLearning portal has games for students in grades K – 6, divided among six categories. The categories include: Health, Math, Science, Language, History, and the Arts. Currently there are no games in the Arts category or for grades 1, 2, 4 and 6, but since the project is in Beta I’m sure there will be games coming soon to those groups. 

Avatars

Each game category has an specific avatar that leads the user through the games. Currently there are four active avatars and a slot for a fifth avatar that is grayed out. The four active avatars include:

                  G4                                   Zalmox                          Derzelis                          H.E.N.A        
     Dacobots: Math Avatar - G4   Dacobots: Science Avatar - Zalmox   Dacobots: Health Avatar - Derzelis   Dacobots: History Avatar - H.E.N.A.                     Math                                Science                            Health                           History

Since there is not an existing avatar for Language or the Arts I’m assuming the grayed out avatar will eventually be the guide for one of those categories. 

All of the avatars speak with a very robotic sounding voice. I don’t really mind that but sometimes they are difficult to understand. What they say is always shown on the screen as well, but children who are not yet reading or who are not quick readers may not be able to read the instructions before they leave the screen.

The Games

Finding a Game

There are a lot of ways to search for the games. You can specify a grade level and a category, you can search for a name, or you can just browse through all of the games available. At last count there were 130 games available for play with a paid membership. 

Dacobots Games Browsing Interface

As you can see from the screen grab above, some of the games have an unlocked yellow padlock in the lower right corner. That padlock means that those games available to play without a full membership. Right now there are only seven games that are free to play and most of those are Kindergarten level games.

Game Play

Each Dacobots eLearning game has three parts. The first part is generally the place where the main teaching takes place. The avatar will give information or instructions related to whatever topic you have chosen. In the screen grab below, from the Brain Power series (free-to-play) game ‘The Human Brain‘, you can see in the first part Zalmox is giving information about different parts of the brain.

Brain Power: The Human Brain - Part 1

In the second part of the game, the avatar guides the user through some activity after a brief review of the information given in part 1. If a mistake is made the avatar will tell the user the answer was incorrect and let them try again. For instance in ‘The Human Brain‘, as shown below, part 2 asks the user to identify the parts of the brain and the activities associated with each part. 

Brain Power: The Human Brain - Part 2

The last part of each game is a review of the information given in part 1 and practiced in part 2. However, in part 3, the avatars do not provide any guidance beyond the basic instructions until the user has finished their attempt at a solution. Sometimes this means that the activity will have to be repeated because the user completed the challenge incorrectly. In ‘The Human Brain‘, part 3 requires users to identify brain parts and their jobs in more detail, while also introducing them to some new ideas. 

User Incentives

Many eLearning portals that I’ve investigated have some kind of user incentive that help keep students engaged and wanting to keep playing games. Dacobots is no different. The Dacobots award users with collectible cards for decks that correspond to certain game series. Right now there are 11 decks for users to complete, the number of cards in a deck varies depending on the number of games that correspond to that series.

Dacobots: Gears of the Mind Card

When you complete a game satisfactorily you get a card showing you’ve mastered that skill. When you collect a card it shows the card face when you are viewing your card deck, as seen below.Dacobots: Brain Power Card Deck

Current Series Corresponding to Card Decks:
  • Arithmetic – 5 cards
  • Healthy Eating – 2 cards
  • Dangerous Habits – 4 cards
  • Brain Power – 10 cards
  • Basics of Genetics – 2 cards
  • Parts of Speech – 2 cards
  • Bygone Civilizations – 5 cards
  • Autumn Secrets – 21 cards
  • Winter Magic – 21 cards
  • Masters of Astronomy – 31 cards
  • Signs of Spring – 27 cards

Membership Options

There are a few options to choose from when choosing how you’d like to pay for your Dacobots eLearning membership. Users can choose a 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, or 1 year membership. As with most subscription-type services choosing a longer membership time equates to a small amount of savings in the cost.

Dacobots Membership Options

For my US readers, those prices currently equate to $5.29 for one month, $10.63 for three months, $18.11 for six months, and $26.66 for a full year. Basically, a buying a three month membership is like getting one month free, a six month membership gets you 2.5 months free, and buying a full year at one time is like getting 7 months free, so if it is something you like and expect to use for a while the full year membership is definitely the way to go.


My Thoughts

All in all I really enjoyed the games and I feel that they do have a nice balance between fun and learning. Obviously there are some games I liked more than others, as with any eLearning system, but overall there were many more games I liked than there were games I did not like.

I like the characters of the various avatars and I like that their voices are not all the same. However, as I mentioned earlier they are sometimes hard to understand. Sometimes the words seem a bit jumbled together and other times I just feel it is hard to understand because there are no pauses or voice inflection.

I think the card decks are a fun addition and they give kids something to work toward as they are learning new things. Overall, I really enjoyed the time I had with the portal and Dragonling loved playing the Kindergarten level games (with a little bit of help). I could definitely see this being an eLearning portal we subscribe to in a year or two, when Dragonling is ready for Preschool or Kindergarten!


Follow Dacobots

To keep up with new releases and other news Dacobots eLearning creators would love to have you follow them!

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/dacobots
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dacobots


What do you think? Would your kids or grandkids enjoy learning through games and puzzles? Let me know in the comments below!


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Water Is Hope

Water is Hope

Nearly one billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water worldwide. In some parts of the world, potable water comes from unprotected sources and often carries bacteria and harmful diseases, including E.coli, cholera, and hepatitis A.

March 22 is World Water Day, a day for everyone to recognize that clean, safe drinking water is a luxury that far too many people take for granted. In most places in the developed world all we have to do is turn on the tap to get a glass of safe, clean water to drink, but there are still many places where that is not the case.

In some countries, getting a glass of water means walking four miles to the nearest source, a task usually left up to the women and young girls. For their efforts, there is no guarantee the water will be clean and they run the risk of assault as they perform this necessary chore. Once the water is collected, they return home, another 4+ miles, carrying a 40 pound jerrycan full of water.

Sixty-three children in Uganda die every day from the lack of clean water. Their small bodies are not prepared to deal with the various parasites, bacteria, and diseases found in their unclean drinking water. Many of these children die from diarrhea and dehydration.

The supply of water is limited and the demand for water is ever increasing. The need for freshwater and energy will continue to increase in the coming decades, due to the growth of society. This increase in demand will cause a strain on the already limited water resources available in many developing communities and countries.

Water is hope.

Clean water can give a village hope. Hope that young girls are able to attend school instead of spending hours and walking many miles in the pursuit of drinking water. Hope that boys and girls will no longer be too sick and weak to attend school, a better education will lead to opportunities to earn a better living. Hope that more women can feel safe in their own communities by not putting themselves in a vulnerable situation while collecting water their families need for survival.

Clean water is the first step to a better education, a growing economy, and to the end of poverty in these areas.

Clean water is hope.

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Three Avocados, a St. Louis-based nonprofit coffee company, has announced they are hosting a “Wake Up to Water Day” to support World Water Day. Founded in 2010, this nonprofit company gives 100 percent of its net proceeds to provide clean drinking water in Uganda and education in Nicaragua.

Today, on World Water Day, Three Avocados encourages all coffee-drinkers to grab a friend for a cup of coffee and discuss the topic of clean drinking water, water famine, and the increasing demand for water around the world.

“Every day is a World Water Day for us at Three Avocados. For every bag of Ugandan coffee we sell, we provide clean drinking water for life to individuals in Uganda, a region which suffers a water crisis. Easy access to clean water can bring hope and preserve the local culture.”
.-Joe Koenig, founder of Three Avocados.

Join Three Avocados for a cup of coffee and to spread awareness of World Water Day on March 22.

Every day for the last few weeks I have been able to #wakeuptowater with a cup of freshly brewed Three Avocados coffee. Knowing what this company stands for definitely gave me pause to think as I enjoyed my cup each morning.

Three Avocados Coffee - http://www.threeavocados.org/

If you’re a bold coffee lover, I heartily recommend their Ugandan coffee. The aroma is intoxicating and the flavor unmatched. Plus you’ll enjoy that cup a little more knowing that you’re helping to provide clean drinking water to the people of Uganda.

Ugandan Coffee - Clean Water

If you’re looking for a more subtle flavor for your morning cuppa, the Nicaraguan coffee is what you want. It also has a wonderful aroma and a mild flavor that leaves you wanting another cup.  Each cup of Nicaraguan coffee helps to provide a primary education for children in Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan Coffee - Primary Education

Three Avocados is also offering a free, limited edition World Water t-shirt with any purchase of $25 or more, today only. To learn more about this wonderful company or to purchase online, visit http://www.threeavocados.org.