With the help of technology, kids learn new skills with Lego blocks for reading, writing, and teamwork.  They are also learning some computer applications.

44 fourth graders at Palmer Lake Elementary School are having a lot of fun with the Legos, but say it is hard work.

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“It’s hard, but we can type faster and read better,” says 9-year-old Nathan Wolfrum.

Fourth grade teachers Nicole Meyer and Ann-Alicia Goad received a grant last year from the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club.  The grant enabled them to buy Lego Education StoryStarter kits and software.

The $1,528 grant paid for enough materials for all fourth-graders at Palmer Lake Elementary, in Lewis-Palmer School District 38, starting this school year. The kits include a toolbox of traditional Lego building blocks with people figures, curriculum and software for students to grasp the basic mechanics of how to craft a well-composed story.

Students either write a story and build a depiction of it using Lego blocks, or construct beginning, middle and end scenarios with Lego toys and then compose a story. They photograph the Lego scenes with digital cameras, download them to the computer and combine the elements into a storybook presentation.

“You have to learn how to drag stuff on the computer, to make text boxes with words,” said Maxwell Duran, 9.

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The educational materials align with educational standards, which Meyer said will help the children on new assessments next spring.

“Kids don’t know how to highlight text, drag and drop, create tabs or save their files, and this program teaches them that,” she said.

But they also are able to hone such skills as capitalizing words, indenting paragraphs and using proper grammar.

“I like that you can write something and you can build it. That helps you see it and write better because you have something to do with it,” explained student Kayden Kimball.

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