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Some of our employees at KidzClix also teach classes to children for The Center for Gifted in Illinois 4 times a year. It’s a great way to stay involved with education for kids in K - 11th grade. The Center for Gifted offers innovative and creative courses for bright and talented youth. One of the classes taught is a game design course that uses the free online software called Scratch. If any kids out there in cyberspace would like to try their hand at creating simple to elaborate games for other kids to play online for free, then we recommend visiting the Scratch website and giving it a try. It’s tons of fun and easy for kids ages 8yrs and up to learn.

Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions: info@kidzclix.net. Maybe one day you’ll be creating awesome games and activities for KidzClix.net!!!

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Halloween is just around the creepy corner, down the dark hallway, as spooky sounds are coming from… kids - “I don’t know what to be for Halloween…” or “I wanna be giant Transformer robot alien!” or “I can’t wait to pig out on all that candy!” or “Can we decorate our house with scary stuff?”

Planning a safe & fun Halloween is a great way to bond with your kids and provide them with crafts. Just don’t forget to teach them about important safety issues.

Dark House with Ghosts - Happy Halloween

Here are some helpful links to websites we found that can help you prepare for the scary times upcoming (it’s actually not scary, but rather fun!).

Safe Halloweening

Make Your Own Costume

Halloween Craft Ideas

Books that Are Fun and Scary for Kids

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The Parents’ Choice Awards program honors the best material for children.  KidzClix.net is the proud recipient of the prestigious Silver Honor award for the Fall of 2009.

Website Award 2009

Link:

Review:

KidzClix.net is an online magazine and community designed to foster creative thought in a wide variety of topics, with an emphasis on science and math. KidzArena, the magazine section of the site, updated monthly with topics such as “Sci Time,” “Math Mania,” “Build It!,” “Artz Studio,” and “Kidz Kitchen.” Each topic has activities and interactive articles that are funny and interesting for the older elementary age group.

Visitors work to build a tower from shaving cream and straws, trying to make it as tall as possible. When young builders believe their structure is sound, they can turn on gravity with a press of the button to see how it holds up. If not, go back and try it again. Some of these activities are hilariously “gross”, like the Household Germ Hunt, where players swab different parts of an absolutely disgusting house to find the places harboring the most germs.

Articles are made more interesting with interactive features. “The Quest to Digest,” a step-by-step description of digestion, is made more engaging with clicks to coat a chewed apple with saliva and to swallow the bolus. Mmm! The magazine area is rounded out with art activities, including some cool optical illusions, and videos of kids in the kitchen cooking a variety of delicious dishes. Several of the activities come with off-line ideas, extending the learning beyond the computer.

KidzClix also has an online community for kids featuring moderated chat and forums for kids to talk about different activities and topics, get homework help, and connect with friends. This fun site holds up on multiple visits. The monthly subscription rate of $6.95 is reasonable considering the content changes on a monthly basis.

Amy Kraft   ©2009 Parents’ Choice

Amy Kraft is a children’s media producer with extensive experience in a wide array of media and curricula and excellent track record of meeting budgets and schedules seeks rewarding producing and game design work in children’s interactive entertainment.

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torrancelegacycreativewritingawards1

DESCRIPTION:   Scholastic Testing Service, Inc. (STS), The Center for the Gifted at National-Louis University, The National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC), The National Association of Gifted Children Creativity Division, and the Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development invite students to submit their best creative work to help celebrate the great legacy of educator/creativity pioneer Dr. E. Paul Torrance.

ACCEPTED GENRES: Poetry and Short Stories

Poetry submissions must focus on either “The wonder and wisdom of nature” or “What do you see in nature and how do you respond to it”?
Short stories must focus on one of the following creative themes: “Singing in One’s Own Key”, “Shaking Hands with Tomorrow”, “What is Magic” or “The Flying Monkey”. Students are encouraged to freely interpret these themes. Please also note that there is a 1,250 word limit for stories. There is no prescribed word limit for poems. Only one story and/or one poem will be accepted from each student.

ELIGIBILITY: Students in grades 4 through 12 (specify the grade in which the student will be enrolled in as of September 2009). Please note, participants need not be enrolled in gifted programs.

DEADLINES: All submissions must be received by August 24, 2009.

RULES and SUBBMISION GUIDELINES: please visit http://ststesting.com/cw.html or contact Scott Rich at Scholastic Testing Service, Inc. for more information or general questions. For further discussion, contact John Franklin Smutny at 847.256.1220 or joanfsm@aol.com


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Educator's Choice Award SealKidzClix.net – the nation’s fastest growing networking site just for kids- has achieved a prestigious award. Recently, the site was designated a 2009 Educator’s Choice Award winner.

We are extremely proud of this award, because it is evidence that we are achieving our goal of promoting educational activities designed to inspire critical and creative thinking in children.

For more information on the Educator’s Choice Award, please visit www.centerforgifted.org (see Enrichment).

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In April of this year, 60 children at the Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA received a surprise from KidzClix.net.   The youngsters each received a gift certificate to KidzClix, along with other gifts that were donated.  This cool surprise was organized by “Dekoposh,” an organization of teens whose mission is to make a difference in the lives of others.  KidzClix was excited to help them in that mission and received a lovely note of thanks.

Below are some pictures taken from the event. Enjoy :D

Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA

Mattel Children's Hospital

Mattel Children's Hospital

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KidzClix.net received high marks from the Morton Grove (IL) Police Department during an internet safety forum for parents, held at Melzer Elementary School on May 19, 2009. The MGPD warned parents about the“crime wave” on the internet and the potential dangers to children as they navigate the web. As a special guest of the forum, KidzClix.net provided internet safety information and was recognized for providing a safe place for children to learn and have fun on the internet.

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KidzClix Safe & Secure1.       Tell us about yourself.

I am a technology specialist for a school district in Oak Forest, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. In my position, I am called upon to be an expert in the use of technology in teaching and learning. In addition, I have become an expert in the technology children use for entertainment, including social networking and virtual worlds. Most importantly, I am the mother of three very technology-driven teenagers.   A great deal of what I’ve learned has been from personal experience with my own children.

 2.       What do you enjoy most about your work?

 

I welcome opportunities to help people explore the truth about social networking sites and internet safety.  That’s why I am so honored and enthusiastic to be able to work with KidzClix in providing information to parents. 

 

3.        What should parents be most concerned about regarding their child’s use of the internet?

 

We need to be life-long learners when it comes to the Internet, because just when we think we know it all, new trends emerge. If I had to pick a topic that parents need to learn about, it would be cyber bullying.  Just like on the playground, your child may very likely encounter a situation when someone will use technology to bother or intimidate them. They need to be prepared and know that using bad manners online can sometimes be worse than encountering meanness offline.

 

4.       What other concerns should parents be aware of?

 

Make sure your child is extremely careful online. Don’t reveal personal information as there is a potential for identity theft, even for kids. For example, never share your password with anyone except your parent. Even your most trusted friend can be mad at you someday and potentially use your password to pretend she is you and perhaps behave badly and make people think it’s you saying mean things. Children also need to know that what’s online never goes away. Everything they say and every picture that’s posted can be copied and pasted, downloaded, reposted, emailed, IM’d, and used against them in some way—even if what was said or pictured is taken out of context.  Also, make sure your behavior online is of the same standard that you expect offline. Never share any information or say something that may someday embarrass you or your family.

 

5.       What are some ways that parents can protect their children?

 

·         First of all, be engaged with technology.  Learn about what others are doing on the internet and develop your own set of favorite activities, whether it be video conferencing with your out-of-town relatives, using Facebook to connect with classmates, finding recipes, or reading the news. You’ll be helping your children understand the benefits of the web from your direct modeling.

·         The best internet filter is a parent who shows real interest in their children’s online activities. When your kids are on the internet, ask them questions, compliment them on their good choices, and laugh at the videos they enjoy.

·         Teach children exit strategies for getting out of uncomfortable situations. Discuss how they may encounter people with bad manners and who make bad choices online, just like they do in “face-to-face” life.

·         Learn how to check the browser history to see which sites your children go to and what information they research (even informally), and respond to what you find with additional suggestions, not criticism.

·         Teach them common sense tips and tricks like, never click on a pop-up ad, don’t forward “chain emails” as to supply strangers with a list of the personal emails of all their friends, and if inappropriate content comes on the screen, treat it like an accident and close the browser window.

 

6.       What is the most important advice you can give a child about internet safety?

 

Tell your children that they can depend on you to help them. Studies show that even if children are likely to go to an adult when they are bullied on the playground, when it comes to internet bullying or harassment, they are NOT inclined to tell their parents. This is because they fear that parents will take their technology away, further isolating them from a tool that helps them stay engaged and connected. Let your children know that you will not over-react, but will instead help them come up with appropriate behaviors to avoid uncomfortable situations.

 

7.       What is your opinion of social networking sites for children?

 

Parents and educators should view social networking sites as a training ground for adult life. We can’t predict how life will be impacted by technology in five years, much less by the time our kids are adults. If almost all of our teenagers and young adults are online, I feel that it’s imperative that young children have a chance to interact online so they can learn about privacy and good behavior choices in an environment that is supervised by those who have their best interest in mind. In addition, there is such a tremendous benefit from meeting new people—interacting with others in another part of the country or even the world. Children can understand first-hand how relationships, cooperation, and collaboration can develop from being open to learning from and about others on the Internet.

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Golden-Apple-Award.jpgAn interview with math specialist Carol Fisher, who creates challenging math activities for KidzClix.  Carol is a Golden Apple Award winner and has worked as a math teacher and curriculum creator for Chicago Public Schools over the past 35 years. 

 
 1.Tell us about yourself.  Why did you become a math teacher?

Well, first of all, I really enjoyed solving problems as a child.  Sometimes I got frustrated when my teachers wouldn’t or couldn’t answer some of my questions (apparently I was quite annoying).  Even in elementary school I knew I wanted to be a teacher.  By the time I got to college I realized that many of my friends didn’t like math because of their teachers, so I knew that being a math teacher was what I wanted to do…. I wanted to be the teacher who would answer all the questions and make everyone like math.

2.You’re a Golden Apple Award Winner.  What is that?

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching  was established in 1986 because its founder felt that excellent teachers did not receive adequate recognition for their contributions to building a stronger, better-educated society.  Each year since 1986 (I won in 1989), teachers have been nominated for this award.  Thirty semi-finalists are selected, and those thirty are observed in their schools and interviewed.  Ten finalists are selected and publicly recognized on a Chicago PBS broadcast each year.  The winners also receive a computer, a one-semester sabbatical, and a cash award.  More importantly, they then become a member of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators and work with other members on a variety of programs to ensure a better education for all.

3.Did you like some kinds of math better than others?

As a child, I really liked the computation problems because I could solve them quickly (and that’s mostly what we got, anyhow).  In high school, I discovered geometry and how much fun that was.  Now, I especially enjoy sharing problem solving and art-related math with others.

My secret is that I don’t like Suduko!

4.What do you tell teachers who are learning how to teach math to kids?

The first thing is to find out if they themselves enjoyed math in school.  If they didn’t they have to figure out why.  Then they have to realize that they can find the fun in math and share it with their students.  Allowing students to dialog before, during, and after math lessons is critical, so is using multiple modalities.  Manipulatives at all grade levels help bring understanding to a variety of topics.  Mathematics is both content and process, the process being necessary to understand the content.

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5.What advice do you have for kids who think they hate math or aren’t very good at it?

First, realize that there are many reasons possible… a teacher who doesn’t understand how you want to learn, competition from others, etc.  Then I would look to outside sources.  There are several books that can show you how math can be fun.  Try:

The I Hate Mathematics! Book and The Book of Think by Marilyn Burns

Math Curse by Jon Scieszka

Fractals, Googols, and other Mathematical Tales and Math Stuff by Theoni Pappas

Anno’s Math Games (I, II and III) by Mitsumasa Anno

Math Doesn’t Suck and Kiss My Math by Danica McKellar

Obviously, www.kidzclix is a great website and has wonderful activities that are fun!!!!

Once you find some area of math that you enjoy, you may find that school math is more tolerable.

6.What advice do you have for kids that are so good at math that their math classes are too easy and boring?

If you can’t get any additional materials or challenges from your teachers, you have to look elsewhere.  In elementary school, you might look for “workbooks” that are sold in “teacher stores” that are at a higher grade level so you can learn more advanced computation skills.  There are some great books that have a variety of activities that you may find challenging:

The Book of Think by Marilyn Burns

Fractals, Googols, and other Mathematical Tales and Math Stuff by Theoni Pappas

Anno’s Math Games (I, II and III) by Mitsumasa Anno

An excellent source for purchasing challenging math games is www.MindWare.com .

Center for Gifted offers wonderful programs for many age groups in a variety of communities.  Check them out at www.centerforgifted.org

Obviously, www.kidzclix is a great website and has wonderful activities that are fun!!!!

While in school, you may want to take the work you are given and dialog with yourself (in your head) about how this math “fits in” with other math you have done, or have discovered in outside sources. 

You may want to think about how you could make this work more challenging – changing the questions, adding information, etc.

Your parents might ask that you be allowed to work on other materials once you have completed the assigned work.

7.  How do you create activities for KidzClix’s “Math Mania”?

I was a teacher for a REALLY long time, so I look at all the things my students enjoyed doing throughout the years, and I see which ones might work for KidzClix.  Then I write up how I would teach them, and other people at KidzClix see if they would work on the website and decide if they might be interesting.

8.  There are lots of tangram puzzles in Math Mania.  What’s special about tangrams?

Tangrams are an ancient Chinese puzzle that has been around for a very long time.  Tangrams can be used to show many relationships in geometry.  Look at the five triangles.  They are all right triangles, they have one right angle.  The two small triangles can be put together and they are congruent (equal) to the middle-sized triangle.  The middle-sized triangle and the two small triangles can be put together and they are congruent to the large triangle.  The small triangles’ long side (the hypotenuse across from the right angle) is the same length as the non-hypotenuse sides of the middle triangle.  Likewise, the hypotenuse of the middle triangle is the same length as the non-hypotenuse sides of the large triangle.  The small, middle, and large triangles are similar triangles, because they have the same angle measurements, but different length sides.  The sides are in proportion to each other.  The triangles are all isosceles triangles, the two sides adjacent to the right angle being equal.  Therefore, the measurement of the two other angles of all the triangles is 45⁰.

If this hasn’t made your eyes cross yet, the square is geometrically related to the triangles, also.  The length of the side of the square is equal to the length of the hypotenuse of the small triangles and therefore, equal to the length of the non-hypotenuse sides of the middle triangle.  The two small triangles can be put together to form a square that is congruent to the tangram square.  You can use the square and the two small triangles to make a shape congruent to the large triangle.

AND… the parallelogram is another geometric partner to the other tangram shapes.  The two small triangles can be used to form a shape that is congruent to the parallelogram.  The shorter side of the parallelogram is equal in length to the non-hypotenuse side of the small triangles.  The longer side of the parallelogram is equal in length to the hypotenuse of the small triangle and, therefore, the non-hypotenuse side of the medium triangle.  The two acute (less than 90⁰ angles) of the parallelogram measure 45⁰, making them complementary (adding up to 90⁰) with angles on the triangles.  The obtuse (greater than 90⁰ angles on the parallelogram) measure 135⁰, making them supplementary with angles on the triangles. 

The puzzle outlines on KidzClix are a fun way to put the different pieces together, utilizing spatial visualization and problem-solving skills.  All the geometry of angles and sides does not need to be understood to solve the problems, but by just using the shapes, you will naturally understand many of the relationships.

9.  Can math games help kids learn math and improve their test scores?

There are many studies, both by game manufacturers and mathematicians, that indicate games can indeed help children learn math and increase test scores.

Personally, I feel that the use of math games FIRST lays the groundwork by having children ENJOY mathematics.  When you are involved in an enjoyable activity, it is easy to absorb the mathematics involved. 

I do want to make a distinction between learning math and improving test scores.

Mathematics is process – reasoning and proof, problem solving, representation, connections, and communication.  Learning these processes naturally occurs in games.

However, much of our standardized testing focuses on content ONLY – computation mostly, with vocabulary and some number sense.  Some standardized tests include problem solving.  Specific computation operations, like division of fractions, is not going to be learned through “general” math games, but only through a game specifically involving division of fractions.

If you know the specific skills that are tested at a particular level, you can seek math games that incorporate these skills.

As more activities are developed for KidzClix, more content can be included.  The processes are already included in all of their math activities.

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