Students reinforce spelling and math skills, and even learn coding, in new Osmo games.
Samantha North, Carley Tawbush, and Matthew Bentley were talking in class.
The three, first-grade students in Brooke Oke’s class at Belle Terre Elementary, huddled in front of the mounted iPad, helping each other figure out what the image on the iPad was, and how to spell it. Oke is proud of the way her students have adapted and excelled on Osmo, a new program created by former Google employees.
“They’re over there taking about it, and solving it, and they are doing it all on their own,” Oke said.
Samantha, Carley and Matthew were stumped. The picture on the screen is a girl on a water slide. The word they are looking for has five letters. Slide would fit, but when the “s” is put under the red reflector that attaches to the top of the iPad, the letter isn’t right.
“What I like about these programs is, it’s pretty challenging,” Oke said. “You think it’s going to be “water” or “slide,” but it gives them the abstract thinking they need to have.”
The students have all but one letter, the first one. They have _-l-u-m-e, the missing letter? F for flume. The answer brings more questions, what is a flume? Matthew said he likes it because he is learning new words and his spelling is improving.
“I like it because it helps me spell a word, and it helps to learn,” Carley said.
“The reason I like this game is I like to be with people and work with them,” Samantha added.
On the other side of the classroom Aberi Nelson is learning coding on a new program Oke showed her that morning. This is Aberi’s first time with this learning game. Oke explained the program to the six-year-old, and by 10 a.m. she was totally engaged in the process.
“This is the beginning stages of coding,” Oke said. “It takes them through, step by step, on how to get this little guy through the forest to eat a strawberry.”
Aberi clapped as she successfully maneuvered the monster up the scree in his quest.
“I like how cute the monster is,” Aberi said. “I’m learning that I can make him go so he can get to the strawberries.”
Across from Aberi, Grace Exantus is doing what she likes – math. The class has been learning how to add two numbers together, with Osmo she is adding multiple digits.
A 20 appears on the board and Grace slides the small numbered squares under the reflector until she has added the right combination that totals 20.
“They are thinking ahead, which is a huge skill that has gotten lost in recent years,” Oke said.
The program started out in her classroom, but has been picked up by the school. Oke has purchased some of the programs with grants, the school purchased a program with the “A” funds, and she had purchased some programs herself. Oke is now an ambassador with Osmo, which provides constant communication between her and the corporation.