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It's a Grand Old Flag! 10 Facts about the Stars & Stripes

Betsy Ross and the flag People around the world recognize it as one of a kind. Officers salute it, children pledge allegiance in front of it, and citizens honor it. It's arguably our most famous national symbol--the flag of the United States of America. While Americans and world citizens alike may know our country's flag, everyone can still learn more about its history and use. For young and old, here are ten important facts to remember on Flag Day, Independence Day, or any other time of year when the flag passes by. Flag History 1. Many flag historians believe that the first American flag combined the Union Jack (British flag) with the 13-striped Colonial Merchant ensign. At that time, posting the Union Jack without authorization was an illegal act, but the Continental Army ignored the statute and flew the flag as an act of rebellion against the British Crown.
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Imagine Learning Teaches Figurative Language

  Sleep like a rock Light as a feather Cream of the crop As big as a bus     The above phrases are examples of figurative language, all of which are commonly used in day-to-day English. Any student--especially any English language learner--can struggle with such figurative speech, particularly when the implied meaning (i.e., idiom) does not translate to the student's first language. The concept of figurative language is also difficult for struggling readers to understand, but all students need to be able to identify and use it in reading and conversation.
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Math Teachers Who Undermine Math Fact Memorization

A guest post by Ben Harrison Developer of Big Brainz math-fact fluency software Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author(s) and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning. The following article was originally posted in February, 2015 on the Big Brainz Blog.   Every once in a while I encounter a savvy educator who is opposed to memorizing math facts--or at least he or she appears to be. Just today I saw a fearful article that exclaimed "memorization can inhibit fluency" and "memorization . . . can be damaging." Of course, educators are doing a wonderful job of championing number sense, comprehension, and problem-solving, but by attacking the vital skill of automaticity, they unwittingly undermine the very processes they intend to champion. From Where I Sit Before I go any further, let me jump to the punchline, because I know that if you're one of these educators, you're already getting ready to give me your very passionate point of view. So . . . if, as an educator, you have a negativity towards memorization, I would suggest that it's because you haven't seen it done well.
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The Truth About Game-Based Educational Software

Math-fact gamification Ask a typical educator about game-based learning and video games in school, and expect at least some skeptical responses. Many educators and parents worry about gaming as an educational tool. Research on the educational worth of video games has been mixed, and some educators point out the fact that most data come from short-term studies. While research on educational software is still young, increasing evidence points to positive outcomes for today’s students—despite the prevalence of headlines linking video games to bad behavior or lukewarm learning outcomes. According to James Gee, an education professor at Arizona State University, blaming all video games for poor results is like blaming all food for the existence of obese people.1
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2017 Teacher Book Nook: Summer Reads

What's on your to-read list this summer? If you're a teacher, you probably have a stack of books you can't wait to start reading. Still, there's always room for more--right? Here are our top picks for your 2017 summer book nook.
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Math Fluency Can Save Your Marriage

Yes, this is a tongue-in-cheek post, but considering how our Big Brainz team members spend their lives trying to help folks master their core math facts, we thought this would be a wonderful story to share about how math fluency just might save your relationship. James Clerk Maxwell and his wife Katherine--together, a math-fluent pair!   Read the article here: Math Fluency Can Save Your Marriage Enjoy!
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The Student Portfolio: A New Showcase for Student Work

Sample list, Student Portfolio If you've been an Imagine Learning educational partner for any length of time, you probably already know how to access offline resources at myimaginelearning.com (aka, the teacher's portal). However, you may not have discovered another wonderful tool within the portal: the new Student Portfolio. Educators gained access to this handy resource in February 2016. If you haven't yet tried it, don't worry--we'll guide you through it here. By learning how to use the Student Portfolio, just think how prepared you'll be for a new year of Imagine Learning this Fall!
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Memorize Your Times Tables, Dear

Six in every ten Americans report having difficulty solving some type of math, and 30 percent of Americans say they would rather clean the bathroom than solve a math problem. Yet 93 percent of Americans say that developing good math skills is crucial to having a successful life. So why would anyone dislike something that brings success? Most Americans develop their attitudes about math from others. For example, if parents don't enjoy math, they may pass that attitude forward to children. Perhaps parents or teachers nag too much. "Memorize your times tables!" they might say, "Work harder!" Or, perhaps nagging isn't to blame. Maybe students feel inadequate during math class because they're just missing out on some key fundamentals. Whatever the reasons, no one can really deny the importance of mathematics. Math is important in everyday life!
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The Culture of Imagine Learning Español

Learning about España In Imagine Learning Español, young students have a great time learning to read in Spanish. As students begin their learning paths, they listen to letter and syllable sounds, sing along to captivating songs, and build reading skills in activities made just for them. But most kids are less familiar with how Spanish is spoken around the world. They might think that every Spanish speaker sounds just like them! The designers of Imagine Learning Español want to help young readers of Spanish appreciate the wider world that surrounds them. With this goal in mind, Imagine Learning Español includes cultural activities featuring Spanish-speaking countries around the globe.
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Do Math Video Games Really Improve Mathematical Skills?

Math can be a frustrating challenge for some kids. Less so for most adults, generally because age and experience make math easier to comprehend. It’s not always so simple for kids. Each child has a unique learning style. Some children learn to add by counting on their fingers. Others may make up a song to help them with their times tables. The best teachers accommodate all learning styles. However, even when teachers use multiple strategies to teach basic addition and subtraction skills, it's sometimes hard to tell if kids are truly fluent in math facts. Flash forward to video games. They've been around a long time and are a huge hit with kids and teenagers. To many teachers (and parents), video games may seem like a complete waste of time. Because kids love them, they want to spend a lot of time playing--sometimes to the exclusion of other worthwhile activities. Enter game-based learning strategies, aka video-based math games. Educators may wonder if these, too, are a waste of time--or if they actually help kids learn. Current brain research seems to indicate the latter outcome.  A Case Study: Timez Attack Big Brainz is a case in point. Its designer, Ben Harrison, was tired of hearing his young daughter come home each day saying that she was "stupid." As she struggled with math, Ben knew there had to be a better way to give his daughter the math skills she needed to feel confident and successful.
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