Did you know that if you wish for something to go from short term memory to long term memory that you need to practice, practice, practice? Think back to when you first started to learn something, whether that was learning to tie your shoes, type, or learn a skill such as cooking, it took repeated times before it became “automatic”.
I remember the first homemade spaghetti dinner I made for my husband included Italian breadsticks. I hadn’t worked with yeast before so I didn’t know what the bread should look like when it was ready. I followed the directions and let it “rise”. After the prescribed time I took the dough out of the bowl, and began making the bread sticks. For some reason the dough still looked to be the same height as when I had originally begun. As I put them in the oven I thought maybe they would rise a little more from the heat. Well…when they came out of the oven they looked the same as before they went in, but since I was a new baker I thought that was what they were supposed to do. I proudly laid the breadsticks on my new husband’s plate along with a plate of spaghetti and sat down to eat my spaghetti dinner too. We each took a bit of the breadstick and about broke our teeth! They should have been called “breaksticks” instead! Of course, I had to throw the entire batch away, but I did learn a lesson. I would have to practice making the dough again and again to get them “just right”.
That pathetic and funny story is a reminder to me of teaching a new concept to my students. When my students first come to my classroom they don’t know all the countries and capitals of the world and where they are located. But, they can learn them so when I say, “Cuba”, they will know it is off the eastern coast of the United States and its capital is Havana. Through repetition, facts and processes can go from ignorance (as in my breaksticks), to knowledge, to automatically remembering (automaticity).
If you are like me, your eyes gloss over and you don’t think you can take looking at the 8×8 flashcard with your son or daughter one-more-time! I am here to offer help (and relief) for your children to practice those facts that are foundational for learning through online games or . I am including websites for older students as well since they are in need of these helps as well.
Elementary/ Junior High
sheppardsoftware is a website that I refer many parents to because it has fun games that provide drill.
Fun Brain has reading and math games that your child can play and for a reward on a job well done can play other games afterwards
ABCya! has games from preschool through fifth grade that include phonics, reading, math, logic, social studies and keyboarding, just to name a few!
Studyladder is interesting because it provides online lessons and worksheets as well as drill. Areas of study are: math; English; science, health, safety; and language.
Junior High/ Senior High
quizlet is a great tool to use to create flashcards, but it also has a wonderful feature to be able to use a variety of ways to review. You can even have your student take a quiz that automatically grades it. You can record this for a grade if you choose.
studystack is a flashcard creator, but you can also use other cards that have been created. There are many subjects to choose from and several ways to play. Some of those ways are hangman, crossword puzzles and letter scramble.
studyblue (high school/ college) can be used to create flashcards or search for sets other people have created. They are ways to share flashcards with others and there is a free version, as well as two pay versions.
Great article Lisa!