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Bi-lingual Games Offered Online for K-6
by Diane S. Kendall

There have been games online for kids since the Internet swept into the classroom, but unless you've looked lately, you might be surprised at how much they have improved. Such is the case with a new set of bilingual games (English and Spanish) from Scholastic called Maggie's Earth Adventure Games at http://www.scholastic.com/maggie which are definitely worth a peek. If nothing else they demonstrate where the future of the online delivery of educational content is going.

Maggie's Earth Adventure Games are fast paced. The animations are clever, well executed, colorful and are delivered using Flash, a very basic browser (i.e. Explorer, Safari or Netscape) plug-in that's probably already installed on all but the oldest of your school computers. While the games are of the drill and practice variety, they do drill things like math skills, homophones, and parts of speech that all really need a certain amount of repetition for retention.

And here's a sampling:

  • Clean Up Your Grammar - Students recycle the trash that washes up on the shore by clicking and dragging nouns and verbs into their correct recycling bin. If they make a mistake, trash is strewn back on the beach.
  • Short Circuit - This reminds me of an old science project I did where I designed a game board where two item that matched were wired together and when I touched metal alligator clips with wires attached to the matching items they completed a circuit and a light bulb went on. (Ah the days before electronics!) Now that 's all done on screen. Kids get to click over the switches of the two items that want to match and voila a circuit is made. But really the best part of this activity is that they match up prefixes and suffixes to their meanings. A great way to build vocabulary and, dare we say it, get ready for the SATs.
  • Around the World in 80 Seconds - Students solve addition, subtraction , multiplication and division problems at varying levels of difficulty. Get the correct answer and the pilot flies on to the next destination as the word turns.
  • Besides showing great design and drilling topics that need to be drilled, the games come in various levels to entice users to come back and test their skills again. They are also available in both Spanish and English and simple enough that besides being used for bilingual (ESL) instruction, they could also be used for beginning Spanish language classes. A teacher's guide is also available online. While visiting Maggie's Earth Adventures Games also be sure to take a look at all the other great tools and information Scholastic has for free for teaching professionals at http://www.scholastic.com.

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