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Monday, November 10, 2014

New & Updated VLA Courses!



Updated courses:
* ENG/LA II
* Physical Science
* Integrated Physical Science
* Social Studies Kindergarten
* Social Studies 110

New courses:
* Physics (Full year)
* Games through the Ages
* Study Skills
* Digital Skills
* Game Design Studio
* Modern Storytelling
* AP Physics
* Integrated Eng/LA I
* Integrated Eng/LA II
* Integrated Eng/LA III
* Integrated Eng/LA IV

Coming Soon:
* Social Studies 120 (Updated)
* U.S. History (Updated)
* Game Production & Marketing (New)
* AP World History (New)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September


Students,
Well, it's September and the school year is in full swing. We hope you are working daily on your VLA lessons in order to complete them by the deadline given to you by your school district.  Remember to email your teachers if you have questions as you are working. They are there to help you. Also remember to save as you complete each question. This ensures that you don't lose any work if, perhaps, the power were to go out or  you walk away from your computer for an extended length of time.

If you are interested, we have new courses. These include courses on gaming, such as Gaming Through the Ages. Contact your school district for more information.

Have a great school year!

Monday, August 4, 2014

30 Fun Summer Activities - Things to do Before Summer Ends

  1. Have a water balloon fight.
  2. Go for a walk along the beach or a wooded path.
  3. See the sunrise.
  4. Have a picnic.
  5. Watch the sunset.
  6. Make play-doh.
  7. Read a chapter book aloud to your kids.
  8. Read a novel (something just for you!)
  9. Go to an amusement park or local county/state fair and ride all the thrill rides!
  10. Go fishing.
  11. Make homemade ice cream in a Ziploc bag.
  12. Sit outside and sip iced tea.
  13. Make fresh lemonade.
  14. Camp out in a tent.
  15. Catch fireflies.
  16. Take pictures of the kids having fun!
  17. Eat watermelon outside, and let the juice run all over the place!
  18. Walk in the grass barefoot.
  19. Use lotion, soap, or shampoo that smells like coconuts.
  20. Paint your toenails.
  21. Get out the kids' watercolor paints and paint a picture of summer means to you.
  22. Collect seashells and save them with some sand in a decorative bowl.
  23. Sleep in at least once.
  24. Hang your bed sheets outside to dry and bask in their clean sunshine smell.
  25. Eat strawberry shortcake.
  26. Get someone else to take your picture with the kids, smiling and sun-kissed.
  27. Write a letter to a friend and include at least three great things that have happened this summer.
  28. Thank someone who has helped you out.
  29. Eat your favorite summer fruits and berries.
  30. Go swimming as a family.
 ** Article from About.com

Thursday, June 26, 2014

12 Ideas for You This Summer!

  1. Plan a PicnicYou don't have to travel far to have a picnic. In fact, you don't have to travel any farther than your own backyard. The fun isn't only in the picnic alone, but in the planning of it. It is a perfect way to create some cheap summer fun.
  2. Plant a Garden
    Gardens offer kids a perfect opportunity for learning about plant life. If you start early enough in the season, you can start the garden from seeds. That is the ideal way to start a garden since the kids can watch the garden grow from the very beginning sprouts. However you start too late in the season to plant seeds, you can buy a few seedlings from just about anywhere, including many grocery stores. The kids can still watch the plants grow. Have them keep a chart of the growth every day or two. They can even draw pictures of the plants as they grow. And be sure that your child waters the plants and gets rid of the weeds. 
  3. Visit the Library for Summer Fun
    Libraries are wonderful sources of free fun for gifted kids. For one thing, libraries often have free programs for children. But it's not just the programs that make libraries fun for gifted kids. It's the books the libraries hold that gifted kids will also find fun and exciting. 
  4. Plan Some Family Fun Nights
    Families don't need to go on vacations or spend lots of money to enjoy some time together. All they need to do is plan some fun activities to share. Among the possibilities are watching movies or playing games together. Family nights can provide summer fun anytime, but especially on those rainy days when the kids can't play outdoors.
  5. Camp in the Backyard
    You don't need to travel any farther than your own backyard to plan a camping trip. Part of the fun is in the planning, so take your time to find the right spot to pitch a tent and decide on activities the whole  family can enjoy. 
  6. Create a Backyard Waterpark
    A waterpark in the backyard? Absolutely! If you already have a playset, all you have to do is get a hose (or two) and prop them up to spray water on it. If you don't, this might be the time to get one. You may have to spend money on one, but it will still be cheaper than what you'd pay for a family vacation. If you don't want to go with a playset, get a small backyard pool. Again, all you have to do is set up some hoses to spray either over the pool or around it. You're limited only by your imagination!
  7. Plan a Scavenger Hunt
    You can encourage your children to explore nature with a nature scavenger hunt which could include items as simple as different shaped stones and leaves. Or you can hide objects of your own around the yard and give your children clues that will help them find them!
  8. Make Music
    You can create music with just about anything that makes a sound. You can buy cheap kazoos or make your own by covering a comb with waxpaper (a clean comb!) Pots can serve as drums and lids can be cymbals. Empty jugs can be used, too, to make "music." It's easy to kids to get carried away with just making noise, so be sure to make this activity a musical one. Help your kids learn about music, while having fun.
  9. Have a Yard Sale
    This activity can have several goals. You can get your house cleaned of clutter, give your kids something to do, and make a little money! You can also take the opportunity to teach your children a little about economics!
  10. Make a Map of the Neighborhood
    This activity can provide a little exercise, too, since children have to walk around the neighborhood to make notes of what they see and determine what belongs where on a map. You should set boundaries so your children don't go farther than you want them to go. For areas farther from your house than you would like your children to go and for children who are too young to walk around the neighborhood on their own, you can go with them and get a little exercise yourself!
  11. Conduct Simple Experiments
    Most of us don't have a handy list of easy experiments to draw from, but libraries have plenty of books with experiments for children. Plan a trip to the library (another great activity) and find a book or two with experiments.
  12. Put on a Play
    This activity can be as simple or as complex as your children would like it to be. The simplest way to put on a play is to act out a familiar story (like Little Red Riding Hood), using whatever you can find around the house for costumes. The more complex methods of play production would start with the children making up their own story, writing a script, planning the costumes (that mom and others might help make), rehearsing, creating a flyer, and making tickets.  
From website giftedkids.about.com 

Friday, May 30, 2014

101 Fun Things to Do with Kids This Summer

Care.com has an article by Ilene Jacobs entitled 101 Fun Things to Do with Kids This Summer

Summer may be a time to relax, but tell that to kids who are bouncing off the walls or shrieking "I'm bored" every five minutes. How can parents and nannies keep kids entertained, active and out of trouble for an entire summer?
The trick is to plan ahead. Brainstorm ideas for things to do now, so you don't wind up spending the entire summer watching cartoons.
Jill Tipograph, summer expert and founder of Everything Summer, suggests that you: "Take advantage of those bright sunny days and warm summer nights and plan something new a couple of times a week." Jesse Koller, of Play, Create and Explore, holds regular art workshops for local kids. "We have a blast focusing on mostly process art and projects, as well as some sensory activities."
So start creating your summer bucket list today. If you need inspiration, we've come up with 101 things that will keep kids happy -- and you sane.
Hey families, want help making your way through this list? Print it out and give it to your nanny to do with your kids, or hire a new nanny or babysitter to entertain them this summer. If you're a nanny, follow this list to keep you and your charges busy all summer long.
Want more ideas? Check out these 62 Summer Crafts for Kids.
  1. Bake cookies for ice cream sandwiches.
  2. Volunteer at a nature center.
  3. Make a photo journal or a family yearbook.
  4. Have a luau in the backyard.
  5. Visit the beach and collect shells.
  6. Make a fort out of cardboard boxes.
  7. Visit a farmer's market.
  8. Stage an A to Z scavenger hunt, where you have to find something that starts with every letter. Here are 8 more scavenger hunt ideas.
  9. Pick berries.
  10. Have a picnic at a state park.
  11. Make ice cream. Tipograph loves using YayLab's ice cream ball, which you fill with ice cream base and kick around until frozen.
  12. Go canoeing at a local lake.
  13. Build a sandcastle.
  14. Write and illustrate your own book and have it published into an actual hardcover book using IlluStory.
  15. Forget cooking -- set up an ice cream sundae buffet for dinner.
  16. Clean up trash at a local park.
  17. Have a backyard campfire...or just use the grill! Roast hot dogs on sticks, pop popcorn and finish off with s'mores.
  18. Make homemade pizza.
  19. Go for a walk and then make a collage from nature objects you find along the way.
  20. Take bread to a creek and feed the ducks.
  21. Set up a lemonade stand.
  22. Have a water balloon fight.
  23. Practice your origami skills and make objects to hang from the ceiling.
  24. Go biking on a trail
  25. Interview an older relative about what life was like when they were young.
  26. Plan a picnic at a local park -- or in your backyard.
  27. Print out a list of children's books that have won Caldecott Medals. Visit the local library throughout the summer and try to read as many as you can.
  28. Create salad spinner art: Place circles of paper inside a cheap salad spinner, dab tempera paints on top, cover and spin away.
  29. Practice making interesting shadow puppets and then put on a show with your characters.
  30. Plant a garden of herbs and veggies.
  31. Make a sidewalk chalk mural.
  32. Go ice blocking (sledding) in the grass with a towel-covered block of ice.
  33. Have an outdoor painting party using huge canvases or cardboard.
  34. Visit a fish hatchery.
  35. Plant a butterfly garden with flowers.
  36. Pretend to be pirates for a day -- dress up in costumes, plan a treasure hunt and talk like a pirate.
  37. Make an indoor sandbox using colored rice: mix 4 cups of rice with 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring and let dry overnight.
  38. Turn the backyard into a carnival -- set up a face painting area and games like ring toss.
  39. Make totem poles out of paper towel rolls and decorate them.
  40. Visit a museum you've never been to.
  41. Make a giant hopscotch or Twister game on the lawn (with spray paint) or driveway (with chalk).
  42. String beads into jewelry.
  43. Make a bird house out of Popsicle sticks.
  44. Learn about stargazing and identify as many constellations as possible -- see if there are any local astronomy groups for kids.
  45. Create leis with wildflowers.
  46. Go fossil hunting near a lake.
  47. Break out your baseball gloves and start a game, sandlot style.
  48. Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool using straws to propel them.
  49. Play mini-golf -- or set up a course in your driveway by laying different size containers on their sides.
  50. Make your own colored sand and create sand art.
  51. Get a map of the United States and mark off all the exciting places you want to visit -- create the ultimate road trip.
  52. Set up a net and play badminton and volleyball. Or try one of these 11 Backyard Games for Kids.
  53. Visit an amusement park or water park.
  54. Wade through a stream and search for minnows or tadpoles.
  55. Go zip-lining.
  56. Have a tricycle race at the park.
  57. Investigate an ethnic grocery store and make lunch using interesting spices and kid-friendly international recipes.
  58. Visit a fire station.
  59. Collect rocks and paint them to use as paperweights or pet rocks.
  60. Go roller skating.
  61. Visit a zoo or aquarium to learn about animals.
  62. Run through the sprinklers.
  63. Blend your own smoothie.
  64. Set up a bike wash and raise money for a local charity.
  65. Batter up at a batting cage.
  66. Let kids paint the sidewalk or patio with plain old water and sponge brushes. When their creation dries, they can begin again.
  67. Bake cupcakes in ice cream cones and then decorate them.
  68. Assemble a family cookbook with all your favorite recipes.
  69. Go horseback riding.
  70. Make popsicles in Dixie cups using fruit juices.
  71. Catch fireflies in a jar (and let them go at the end of the night).
  72. Stage your own Summer Olympics with races, hurdles and relays.
  73. Create a backyard circus -- kids can pretend to be animals and dress up as clowns.
  74. Decorate bikes and have a neighborhood Fourth of July parade.
  75. Take a sewing/crochet/knitting class.
  76. Make Mexican paper flowers using different colored tissue paper.
  77. Go to a flea market.
  78. Volunteer at an animal adoption organization.
  79. Visit a retirement home and read stories to residents.
  80. Attend an outdoor festival or concert.
  81. Pick a nearby town to visit for the day.
  82. Visit a cave.
  83. Get a map of your area, mark off all the local parks -- then visit them, take pictures and vote for your favorite.
  84. Take in a fireworks exhibit.
  85. Make crafts with recyclable items like stickers using old photos, magazines and repositionable glue.
  86. Make your own hard-to-pop bubbles with 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap and 1 tablespoon of glycerin.
  87. Paint canvas sneakers with fabric paint pens or acrylic paint.
  88. Create three dimensional buildings using toothpicks and mini marshmallows.
  89. Make bird feeders by covering pine cones with peanut butter and rolling in birdseed.
  90. Paint with ice by freezing ice cube trays with washable tempera paint.
  91. Create unusual s'mores by experimenting with ingredients like cookies, bananas, flavored marshmallows and white chocolate.
  92. Have a fancy tea party.
  93. Make a giant slip-n-slide with a painter's tarp and shaving cream.
  94. Go camping in the backyard or at a campsite. Follow these tips for camping with kids.
  95. Let kids paint each other with washable tempera paint, then wash it off in the sprinklers.
  96. Visit a national park and help the kids earn a junior ranger badge.
  97. Go to a ballgame and teach your kids (and yourself!) how to keep a scorecard.
  98. Set up a tent in the backyard to use as a summer playhouse.
  99. Take a free kid's workshop at stores like Lowe's, Home Depot or Pottery Barn.
  100. Have a game night with charades, Pictionary and bingo.
  101. Take a boring brown paper bag and have kids brainstorm creative things to do with it -- you'll be surprised at how many things you can come up with.
Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mathapalooza

Have you seen this website:
...and tried any of the fun math assignments offered there? There is quite a bit of reading-based, extended math problems. They work perfectly as homework, extra credit, remediation, or for testing practice. It's recommended for elementary and middle school.
Give it a try!! The website looks great and very helpful!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Summer Learning Opportunities

Grades K-8 Online Summer Enrichment

Don’t let your child fall behind throughout the summer months!
Studies suggest, “Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation and reading skills over the summer months.”
PROGRAM DETAILS:
• E-KIDS Program is open to all students entering grades K-8
• Individual student username and password will be issued to access enrichment lessons
• Lessons included within the E-KIDS program: Math, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Spanish and a concluding Summer Enrichment Project
• Each student will be assigned a certified, highly qualified teacher to monitor coursework and answer questions
• At the conclusion of the E-KIDS program, each student will receive a “Certificate of Completion”
• 24/7 access: anytime, anywhere there is Internet available
• Students will have access to the E-KIDS lessons from: May 15, 2014 – August 15, 2014
• Student Enrollment Fee: $125 per student
• Sibling Discount (-$25): $100 per student
  
Grades 9-12 Game Design Bootcamp

PROGRAM DETAILS:
  • 5 six-hour days of hands-on activity
  • 15 minute break—1 snack and beverage provided per day
  • 30 minute lunch break—Bring lunches M-Th
  • Pizza lunch provided by JCESC on Friday
  • Game Design Bootcamp T-shirt provided to all participants
  • Participants take home game from week’s work
  • Certificate provided to all participants upon completion