There are basic skills that form a foundation in each of the core subject areas.  Students who cannot quickly recall basic math facts struggle with daily mathematical problem solving.  A child who doesn’t have his sight words memorized struggles with reading fluently.  Poor spelling can cause a student to have trouble writing.  You get the idea.  These foundational skills must be mastered if we are going to help students build the complex concepts that they need.  We know we need to provide opportunities for students to practice these basic skills but it takes time and traditional practicing methods are often boring.  Adding a dose of technology into your skill drill-and-kill can grab a student’s attention and keep them interested long enough that they just might remember the facts.

Here are three ideas to make skill review more fun:

1. Raps on iPods

Catchy tunes and rhythm can often aid in the memory process, so it only makes sense to pair our reviews with music!  Examples can be found all over the internet and here is a fantastic example found on TeacherTube:

You can then take the songs and videos and load them onto iPods for students to review anywhere!

2. Video Flash Cards

Power Point slides saved as jpeg files can make great video flash cards to practice math facts, sight words, or vocabulary.  Load the slides into Photostory or Movie Maker.  Have students record the answer, pronunciation, or definition.  Flash cards can be viewed at the computer or loaded onto an iPod for portability.

3. Websites

There are a number of great websites that provide opportunities for students to practice basic skills.  Many of the websites mimic traditional methods of practice (i.e. flashcards), but they add color or animation to grab your attention or make things interesting.  Other web sites hone in on students competitive nature by presenting the skill review in the form of a game where students can earn points for correct answers or speed.  I’ll include a few of my favorites.


Math:   Spelling: Vocabulary:

Repetition of basic skills and information is important, but it doesn’t have to be dreadful.  Take some time to add a little technology into your rote practice of skills and I guarantee you will grab students’ attention and keep it!

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