Imagine Learning Teaches Figurative Language

figuratively speaking


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. Read more »


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.

learning times tablesFlash 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. Read more »


6 ways to teach with technology

Our post on post-literacy got me thinking about some ways to use technology as a tool in the classroom. Here are some ideas on using technology with your middle/high school students. These suggestions could both engage your students as well as introduce tech-savvy skills they don’t have yet.

1. Google it. If students have a question, join them in researching it online. Show them the best way to phrase their search with keywords. Google has a search engine specifically for research called “Google Scholar.” Direct your students to this for googling scholarly articles online. SweetSearch is another search engine created especially for teachers and students to use in research. It only searches on credible websites that have been reviewed by the experts of SweetSearch.

2. Analyze sources. Teach students how to recognize which websites/authors/publications are more reliable sources than others. Many teachers find that when assigning research to students, their bibliographies tend to be full of mostly Internet sources that aren’t always accurate. Students are going to use the Internet, so show them where to go. Have them look at publishing companies, the author’s credentials, and the date of the information. This article shows some great questions to ask as you are analyzing the reliability of a source. A good example of showing how irreliable sources can look reliable would be to show your students The Onion. While the site looks very legitimate, it is completely satirical in content and would not be a reliable source for any research paper.

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A post-literate age?

Have you ever heard the phrase “post-literate age?” I personally had never heard the concept before reading Christopher Doyle’s article in Education Week. The idea in general, however, is not foreign to me. The discussion regarding society moving away from literacy to more simplified technological mediums is a very prevalent and controversial topic.

In the article, Doyle focuses on how his students turn to books less and less. He says, “Books, long idealized as foundational shapers of intellect, no longer mold young people’s minds. While continuing to tout their merits, educators marginalize books and have not come to grips with the book’s declining role in society. Over the last few years, my high school students’ facility for print culture has atrophied markedly.” To the older generation, this is a concern. We learned our skills and knowledge from textbooks. It was the focal point of our learning. Because it is how we are used to education, we are concerned when our younger generation seems to disregard those important tools.

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