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Last week, I helped assemble gingerbread houses for my son’s Kindergarten class to decorate. I sat down at a table covered in empty milk cartons, graham crackers broken into various shapes, and buckets of icing. The other parent volunteers and I exchanged timid looks until the teacher met with us and showed us a fully assembled prototype. It was then that we understood what our process should be. When we saw the finished product—the goal—we could relax and get to work.

Nothing can replace the learning that happens when students interact personally with a good teacher. Not even the most sophisticated computer can compete with that. However, the use of technology in connection with face-to-face learning can have huge benefits for both teachers and students. That's one reason why blended learning—a mix of online and classroom learning—is gaining popularity in schools around the world.

Why is it fun to play games? Researchers have found that it’s the learning aspect of games that makes them fun. When we’re playing games, we’re making choices, realizing consequences, mastering skills, and working toward goals. We’re developing our understanding of systems and rules. Our brains are highly stimulated by this kind of learning, and we’re motivated to keep doing it. The best part is that our brains are working hard, yet we don’t feel drained by the effort—we’re just having fun!

Congratulations to Star Student Brianna P., a fifth-grade student at Bryant Elementary in Owosso, MI! Brianna's teacher, Dede Raffaelli, had this to say about her:

Did you know there is a downward spiral of reading failure? It starts with the foundational skills. Beginning readers who have difficulty learning to read words accurately and fluently may continue on a downward spiral, making it harder and harder to catch up.

Make Your Student a STAR!

Read Naturally Star of the Month​Share your student’s success story—nominate him or her for our Star of the Month award. Win a Barnes & Noble gift card for the student and a Read Naturally gift certificate for your class!

pointer Submit a Star-of-the-Month entry

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