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Why Drill and Skill are Necessary in Education

I am a very creative person.  I love discovering, thinking, designing, and having a finished product to show.  I learn this way. Before I can create to demonstrate knowledge, I need to build a good foundational understanding.  Lately I have notice that “drill and skill” are getting a bad reputation in the education community.  Drill and skill games are sometimes seen as a waste of time, a memorization of unnecessary facts, or a lesser use of computer time.  I believe that drill and skill has an important place in education, particularly in the primary years where basics of learning are built.  These activities give students an opportunity to practice a skill and become familiar with it before creating with it.  Drill and skill games and activities give students room to find patterns and build understanding.  Consider a lesson on homophones, we could just ask students to create illustrations of each word using a program like Tux Paint and upload them to a presentation or class wiki.  But without some drill and skill practice, students may not have solidified their understanding of the concept.  They will most likely complete the assignment, but because they haven’t practiced the skill first, they haven’t had adequate time or interaction with the concept to recognize patterns and make connections.  If we begin with some drill and skill, students create with a more solid base of understanding that can then be built upon.  We offer the student the light-bulb moment when they start to recognize patterns or connections in content.    The mistake that is often made in education is the belaboring of drill and skill.  We burn students out with the constant fact practice, never giving the chance to actually do something meaningful with those patterns they have discovered in learning.  I am finding that, as in everything in life, learning requires a balance.  Don’t completely cut drill and skill from your classroom and don’t go overboard with it.  Give students an opportunity to practice the skills that they are learning, and then allow them to do something with them.

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We Give Books: Read digital picture books online for free

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 09-01-2012

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What it is: We Give Books is a fantastic initiative from Pearson.  Here, you will find award winning digital picture books for students through age ten.   There is a mix of fiction and non-fiction, a variety of authors, and a balance of read-aloud books and independent readers.  New books are added every month along with special, seasonal books.  Now any student with internet access also has access to high-quality picture books!  Even better? The more books you read, the more books that are made available for everyone.  Choose a book to read, choose a literacy partner campaign to support through your reading, and the more that you read, the more books that are shared with those that need them.  Way cool! The site reminds me of Lookybook (which is sadly no more).  I’m happy to *finally* see another option!
How to integrate We Give Books into the classroom: We Give Books instantly increases your classroom library and puts high-quality books within reach for children everywhere.  We Give Books makes an excellent companion to the interactive whiteboard or projector-connected classroom computer for a class read along.  Pull up a story and read the book chorally, ask students to take turns reading, or simply follow along.  Everyone can see the pictures and words!  This is a great resource for practicing reading strategies together as a class.
We Give Books makes a wonderful reading station on classroom computers.  Students can access wonderful stories any time through We Give Books.  For those students that struggle with indpendent reading (or are emergent readers) there is a read-along option on some of the stories.  Students can follow along with the reading building fluency, flow and vocabulary.
If you are a primary or elementary teacher, this is a must-add link to your classroom website or blog.  Be sure to share the site with families so that students can access the same wonderful library of books from home.  Students (and teachers) can create their own library where they keep the books they have read (or enjoy reading).  To add a book to a library, you must be a member of We Give Books- no problem, it is quick and free to become a member!
Tips:  Students can use the word cloud on the right side of the We Give Books page to find books about their favorite subjects.  Thank you to @Shannonmmiller for pinning We Give Books on Pinterest, it is a great find!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using We Give Books in  your classroom!

Comments (3)

In 2nd grade we are focusing on comparing non-fiction texts. We read aloud The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and compared it to Abe Lincoln the Boy Who Loved Books. Both stories are inspiring tales of learners unable to attend school but become motivated life-long learners, teaching themselves from books.

[…] We Give Books is another outstanding place to find free […]

I would like to use the resources with my Grade 4 class!

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