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Stretch Break for Kids

What it is:  As computers and one to one environments become more prevalent in schools, it is important to remember proper ergonomics.  Stretch Break is a free software that is downloadable for both Mac and PC platforms.  The software is designed to help prevent computer related strain injuries by reminding students to take breaks while using the computer.  Every 30 minutes the software asks students if they would like to stretch.  Full animated figures lead students through simple stretches.  Then the software returns students to the task they were working on.  Teachers can designate how long to wait between stretch sessions and how many stretches to lead students through in a session.  Stretch Break for Kids was designed by a team of health care professionals.  The stretches focus on the neck, arms, hands, back, legs, and wrists.  The software also includes some important eye exercises.  There are 20 stretches total, many that focus on prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. How to integrate Stretch Break for Kids into the classroom:  Stretch Break for Kids is a must for every computer lab.  Any time that students are using a lab computer they should be reminded of proper ergonomics and learn how to properly stretch for health.  Load Stretch Break for Kids on classroom computers and even on the computer that is connected with the Interactive Whiteboard.  Throughout the day (you determine how often and how long) set Stretch Break to pop up and encourage students to stretch as a class.  Even if they aren’t working at the computer all day, these stretches will help them get some blood flowing and release tension that can build up while they are doing their school work.  This is a great one to download to your own computer, you need to be reminded to stretch too!    Tips:   Stretch Break for Kids contains Ergo hints for healthier computing in addition to the stretches.  Spend some time teaching your kids healthy computing habits, as technology becomes more and more available in the classroom, these healthy habits become more important.  The free Stretch Break for Kids software is network compatible. Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Stretch Break for Kids in your classroom.

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Learning Box Base 10 Blocks: Virtual math manipulative

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 07-09-2011

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What it is:  Today while I was doing a quick Google search for a place I could buy a set of base 10 blocks, I came across this AWESOME digital version by accident.  What a happy accident!  Learning Box has a virtual version of base 10 blocks that builds in a fun practice game.  Students are given a target number and drag base 10 blocks onto the paper to represent that number.  As students add blocks, a counter at the bottom of the page shows how many blocks are currently on the paper.  This is a great way for students to digitally practice place value, counting by hundreds, tens and ones.

The outcome of my shopping trip for base 10 blocks: the digital version is MUCH cheaper (read:free) than the physical version (not free).  While I understand the value of the physical blocks, the digital version is a fantastic alternative for classrooms without the budget for each student to have a set or for students to continue practice at home.

How to integrate Learning Box Base 10 into the classroom:  The Learning Box Base 10 blocks are a great example of a virtual manipulative.  They help students visually represent numbers and place value.  I like the way the slider and cups on the bottom of the page help track student progress as they drag blocks to the paper. When students get the target number, they don’t start with a blank slate, instead a new target number is given and students have to figure out which blocks to add or subtract. You can adjust the level of difficulty and place values practiced by clicking on the 1, 10, and 100 circle to the left of the paper.

Learning Box Base 10 would make a great center activity in the one or two computer classroom.  Students can use the digital manipulatives with the built in game or to help them represent real-world problems.

Start a whole-class game with the Learning Box Base 10 blocks using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  Students can take turns at the board solving the problem and “phone a friend” if they need some additional support.

Tips: This Learning Box activity is flash based…I’m hoping that someone comes out with an app of manipulatives for the iPad (hint, hint).

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Learning Box Base 10 Blocks in  your classroom!

Comments (8)

[…] Read this article: Learning Box Base 10 Blocks: Virtual math manipulative […]

Kelly, I LOVE the Learning Box base 10 blocks and have used them with my first and second grade classes when they were learning about place value and doing addition with regrouping. I found that site and others with similar virtual base 10 blocks on http://www.internet4classrooms.com in the math skillbuilders for second grade. The kids have a great time using these and they work great for differentiation.

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[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Learning Box Base 10 Blocks: Virtual math manipulative […]

[…] the home page to entice me.  As I entered this blog I was greeted by a screen shot of digital base ten blocks… “I must read more” is my only thought!  Kelly Tenkely is the creater of the iLearn […]

I have used electronic base 10 blocks in my third grade classroom for a couple of years now. I was amazed at how much better they grasped place value, as well as constructing and deconstructing large numbers with this tool. The kids were so excited to be able to use the smartboard and the electronic base 10 blocks to make numbers. I think the hand on component of this technology really reinforces the concept and increases students’ understanding and retention of place value. Thanks for sharing!

Love that your kids responded so well to the virtual! I’m always hesitant to go JUST virtual because I know some kids really love holding the blocks in their hands…they are so darn expensive that this is a great alternative!

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing these Debra.

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