Daily Log – A Topic I Love by T

I’m excited to announce that my boyfriend’s oldest son has agreed to participate too. As a way of engaging him in an on-line dialogue, I’ve decided to ask him to write about a topic he’s excited about these days: Magic Cards The Game

One of his best, life-long friends is a few years older than him and now attends high-school. Because of their different ages, family needs, and very different school back grounds, they haven’t had much of a chance to hang out over the last few years. Not that there’s no school due to the strike, they have the chance to share some interests. One is The Game of Magic Cards.

So, T, I’m happy you’re here too. I’d love to read what you have to say about:

– How long have you been playing Magic and what is it you like about it?

about 6 months.and i like play magic because its fun.

– What’s it like playing with C.? Have you learned anything about Magic from him?

its like awesome.everything there is to know about magic.

– Are card games like Magic Cards good ways for kids / youth to learn?

yes.thanks for having me : ).

Heh T, I’m really glad you decided to join in and enjoyed hearing your voice here.   One thing I’ve learned from you is that kids learn better when they are really excited about something.  you have taught me a lot about passion and enthusiasm.  When I listen to you taking about some of the subjects you love: Magic cards, gaming, modding, hacking and coding, and basically the freedom to be yourself and design your own play and your own learning, I realize how important freedom of choice is for kids.

I enjoyed reading your responses here and get the sense you care about the topic of Magic Cards.  I’m wondering if you could write a little more about each question, maybe give some details.   For example, what are the advantages of hanging out, playing with and learning from an older friend like C.?    What aspects of Magic Cards make it really fun?   You have a lot to say, T.  Our readers would like to hear more from you, and I’d love to see you write more.

xo. Belinda




Daily Log – A Topic I Love by D

I was pleased with my boy D’s engagement yesterday, so I thought I’d try again today!

Yesterday, we set off to spend some money D had saved on Nerf Guns he’s been wanting. He was pleased with his purchases, and headed straight to his dad’s house after the shopping trip to play. Let’s see what he has to say about it all.

Today, D, I’d like to give you a choice. Please answer the first two questions, and then choose one of the last four.

– What is it about Nerf Guns that you like?

i like the nerf guns because they shoot really far, and some of the other nerf guns are really REALLY REALLY!!! big so this one is a good size for me

– How did you choose the two guns you bought yesterday?

well i had wached a lot of videos about nerf guns so i had a pretty good idea about what i wanted.

– Describe one of the guns you bought, what are the good and bad things if any about it, and why you would or wouldn’t recommend it to others. In other words write a short review.

the gun shoots really straight and it is a really cool looking gun….and ,i am 9 the gun is perfectly my size so i would recommend this gun 8 out of 10 or 84 out of 100.

– Please tell us about Nerf Gun Mods. What is a mod and why do young people love them so much?

– There’s a You-Tuber who does videos about Nerf Gun mods. I’ve forgotten his name. Who is he? Why do you watch his videos? Tell us about one of his videos you particularly like. In what ways has it inspired you?

– Some parents do not like their children playing war games. What is your opinion about that? Why do you like playing these games? Can you understand why some people don’t like it for their kids? What would you recommend to them?

Ok, so he did it. This time D answered the questions as quickly as he could. There are other kids around playing video games, making bread, so he’s distracted by them, and didn’t put as much enthusiasm into it as yesterday. Earlier though I was introducing this blog process to my boyfriend’s oldest son, and D said, you should do it, it’s really fun, so hopefully you’ll see a post or two from him.

Yesterday, I also asked D what he thought of the exercise and he confirmed that he likes typing a lot more than hand-writing because it’s faster. So I’m wondering now whether I should just keep him going on with these mini check ins, appreciating what he has to offer, or whether I should encourage him to write more.  What do you think?

What happens when we give children choice?  Will they always chose the easiest route?   Do their experiences at school with being forced to do work they don’t necessarily want to do lead them to avoiding difficult tasks?

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Anyway, thanks D.  I’m glad you’re doing this with me.

First Day – Video Games and Role Play

My son, 9 and a half returned from  the weekend at his dad’s this morning.  The first thing he did after a polite dose of weekend description, and a half hour greeting, play and breakfast with the boys upstairs, was play a video game.  I let me him loose on it, knowing he’d be eager to play at his own speed, rhythm, but after an hour or so, I encouraged him to get off so that I could use the home computer.  He’s now dressing up and role-playing, likely based on the game….here’s my question, is this learning, and if yes, in what ways?  Here are a few questions I asked my son and his typed responses.

–  Can you describe what you’re doing right now and why you like it?    

me and my friends  always used to play ARMY, guys  with are ARMY, costumes and          our ARMY, guns and grapplehooks  and  boms.   butt we stopped doing it so today i was dressing up and inventing new costumes because i want to start doing  it again.

– Why do you like the video game you were just playing and how did it inspire your dress      up play?

      i really don’t  know why i like this  video game its just really fun , the video game is called tf2 or team fortress two and this video game did not inspire my dressing up at all except the fact that they are both related to  modern warfare.

– How do you feel about the strike?  Are you going to miss school?  Why or why not?

i do not miss school at all because my friends are not in school either.

Ok, that was a fairly painless and simple task.  The question still, is this learning?  I chose some basic questions based on what my son was presently engaged in, I let him answer them when he was ready, and basically put no pressure on him at all.  He’s not very keen on writing, that’s why I chose two topics that he is interested in: gaming and costume / role play.

I am pleasantly surprised.  First of all, he accepted my task willingly, he applied himself, asked for quiet, and requested a few spelling tips.  He spent about 20 minutes doing this, which felt like a lot to me.   I know getting him to do hand-writing in class is like pulling teeth.  It’s both a physical and emotional staring for him:  his hands hurt and he can never think of stuff to write.  I think he finds hand writing laborious and slow, and so loses patience.  Because he jumped right in today, I have chosen neither to correct his mistakes  nor to discuss his content with him right away.  I will engage him in a feed back discussion tomorrow, if it seems he’d like that.  What my aim here is to bring out his love of expression in the written form, and to not lose him, as his school writing often does int he drudgery!  My boy loves to talk, he loves to tell stories, and reviews of films, he expresses his opinions in volumes and torrents, but has not yet caught the bug of writing it all down.

As a language teacher, I am trained to look at spelling, punctuation, syntax, and content of course, but what is intriguing me and pleasing me most in my son’s answers above his wealth of expression.  You can clearly see which two questions engaged him more.  Also, he has used a couple of lovely complex sentences and phrases to express himself very clearly.   While there are a few mistakes in punctuation and spelling, I can see that D has used comas and periods, a creative use of capital letters to emphasize, and was engaged in spelling. Overall, what is revealed by this exercise is that he does have something to say, and he says it fairly well.  Few of these techniques have been taught to him directly, rather he’s developed his expression from lots of discussion at home and school, and a lot of reading and encounters with complex ideas.

Did he write about topics he cared about?

Will he return to this forum again to do more writing?

Did he enjoy this or at least find it satisfying?

Can I track his progress and engage in an expressive exchange with my son in this way?

My guess is yes to all of these, and so for me the answer to the question, is he learning? is YES.

Does your child struggle with literacy skills?  Would you like to see her/him writing more?  What ideas have you tried to engage your child/ren in writing?  Have they worked?   Does your child prefer other forms of self-expression: talking, making videos, music and so on?  Can these be viewed as literacy?  Does your child love reading, but not writing?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Tune in tomorrow, for another day in Strike Days Adventures in Home learning.