Friday, October 07, 2016

Prodigy - the math game we have to yell at our kids to stop playing

I am so proud of Kate.  When we were at student-teacher conferences on Tuesday, her teacher praised her math skills and asked what we had done to work on them.  I told her that we did not do much, but that Kate had practiced a ton on an internet game called Prodigy.  She was intrigued and asked if Kate would be willing to show the class sometime.

Her teacher must have went home and checked it that night, because the next day she asked Kate to give a presentation and demonstration to the class about the game.  Kate showed them on the smartboard how to set up an account, chose a character, their clothes and decorations, and then start playing the game.  She showed them the different parts of the world in the game and how to have a battle.  Battles earn you points, gold, and pets.  To fight a battle you challenge another player, a pet, or a monster.  You cast spells by solving math problems that are grade level appropriate.  I wasn't there, but I can imagine little Kate talking about this game excitedly to her class because she and her sisters love this game.

As a parent, I hate flash cards.  Helping my kids to memorize and learn math facts, spelling, and state capitals is so painful for all of us. They hate doing it and so do I.  At Ballard, Colleen's teacher introduced the kids to an online-math game called Prodigy.  The game is kind of like Pokemon, I think. I never played any of these games, but it seems similar to me.  You set up a character that explores this world and fights monsters, other players, collects pets, and go on missions in order to get gold, advance levels, earn new spells, evolve your pets, and get into the Academy.  In a Battle - you can cast spells, but in order to do so you have to solve a math problem.  The math problems seem to match very well with grade level expectations in common core standards and include not only addition, subtraction, and multiplication, but also story problems, graphing, money, time, and set theory.

The problem with this game is that it is totally addicting. we have to yell at them to get off the computer all the time.  They talk about their missions, pets, levels, and battles.  It has helped immensely with their math facts, but it is almost too fun.  We showed it to our friends in Ankeny, and now they too have to limit their kids time on Prodigy, otherwise they play all the time.  Their math skills are getting way better, but would spend hours a day on the computer playing Prodigy.

So if you don't mind nagging your kids to get off the computer, but want them to learn their math facts, this game is for you.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Cardinals game

When I got back from looking at plots I was invited to go to a Cardinals game with some of the guys on my team from work. Neil won tickets in a drawing as part of a fundraiser for diabetes.  I can't bear watching baseball on TV, but in person I like the pacing and time to talk and socialize. 

Lincoln's house

I was driving back to St Louis and stopped for a phone call in Springfield  I have driven through Illinois probably a half dozen times in the last few years, but  never have stopped to see the Lincoln museum and house. 
It is now a National Monument and meticulously restored to its original paint colors-Quaker brown with green shutters, and it's interior as well. History sometimes seems like myth, but in places like this the reality and immediacy of the past is undeniable. 
I need to take Leila and the kids.