By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
Sixteen little penguins need help jumping from iceberg to iceberg as a hungry killer whale swims menacingly in the chilly water below.
The fate of the poor little penguins lies in the hands of a third-grade student, who must quickly find the answer to a math equation to lead the penguins to safety.
“Ice, Ice, Maybe” is one of many games available on PowerMyLearning.com, a website with links to thousands of educational games and activities organized by subject area and grade level —and it’s free.
Over the summer, students may experience a loss in academic skills when they do not engage in educational activities — a phenomenon educators like to call “summer slide,” said Tina Barrett, technology integration specialist with Madison County Schools.
Library media specialists at each school have been developing PowerMyLearning “playlists” that correspond to each child’s academic need, Barrett said.
Students take Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments three times a year. The student’s resulting “RIT Band” score is matched to a certain “playlist” of educational games and activities so students can work on areas in which they need the most help.
The activities are aligned to the new Common Core State Standards, and the district is putting extra emphasis on math and reading subject areas, Barrett said.
Her hope is that parents will encourage their children to use PowerMyLearning.com over the summer to keep students’ academic skills sharp, she said.
There are moments when children are in daycare, at a babysitter’s, or sitting inside on a rainy day that would make good opportunities for students to use the program, she said.
Teachers plan to use PowerMyLearning.com when children return to school in the fall as a way to meet individual educational needs in a classroom full of students, she said.
To give parents/caregivers an opportunity to learn more about the program, Barrett scheduled an online information session Monday from 6 to 7 p.m. that can be viewed from home or at the Madison County Training Center near Madison Central High School. Sign up for the informational session at http://goo.gl/199JB.
The video also will be available Tuesday at the district’s website (www.madison.kyschools.us) where parents may visit the “Parents” section and click on PowerMyLearning to learn more.
The school district had been looking for a way to extend student learning beyond the classroom and to give parents a resource to help their children with homework, Barrett said.
Barrett searched for such a program, but was unable to find the right one that would work for the district.
Superintendent Tommy Floyd tweeted about the district’s need, she said, and author Tom Vander Ark led them to PowerMyLearning.com.
Vander Ark is author of “Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World,” which was a required read for district employees last summer as part of their professional development, Barrett said.
PowerMyLearning.com was developed by education nonprofit CFY and is funded by the Bil & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Some of the games students will have access to on PowerMyLearning.com would normally cost money if purchased separately, Barrett said.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.