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Is Jazzles ELA the Change-Making Program I Claim?

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An Open Invitation to Psychologists and Neuroscientists Interested in the Science of Music and Song in Education
As scientists, how often do you have the opportunity to really influence a major shift in how children learn, opening a pathway to mass literacy and transforming the lives of millions of disadvantaged children?

Join me!
Most research as to how music changes our minds and what that means for education, has been conducted across general or very specific areas.
For example, what is the relationship between music and memory? How music engages us? How music creates emotions? How it makes us want to move? How music changes our brain’s plasticity and does this make us smarter? Why some music is more powerful than others? How it improves auditory capabilities? Music and the motor system. The relationship between music and verbal language including the processing of linguistic syntax. And of course, the benefits of music for speech therapy, etc.

A Different Opportunity – A Whole Curriculum Program
Now, for the first time, there is the opportunity for leading psychologists and neuroscientists to research the effect of music and song across a whole critical curriculum program and determine, whether or not, Jazzles ELA and its methodology holds the power to breakthrough over 50 years of plateaued reading levels.

Targeting PreK-Kindergarten, Jazzles ELA is unique as the only fully integrated, song-powered curriculum program in the world.
So it’s the only program that can be used to research the power of music at the most important developmental period for children, in the most important curriculum subject, measurable over time in a real educational environment.

The subject of two theses, Jazzles ELA delivers outcomes matching the research findings and discussions from experts in this field including Lawrence Parsons, Jamshed Bharucha, Daniel J. Levitin and Aniruddh Patel (etc).

The Key Question To Be Answered!
‘What is going on inside children’s brains, when Jazzles is going on?’
Anecdotal evidence suggests ‘lots’ but we don’t know.

Think About the Implications!
If current research findings in the science of music and song apply to Jazzles ELA, then the program will be shown to make children smarter, help them read earlier, read faster and carry over in other cognitive areas like math.

An Aussie teacher, a Revolutionary Approach and How It Almost Didn’t Happen.
Now, the obvious reaction to ask is how is it possible, that out of the blue, an Australian kindergarten teacher could produce anything capable of delivering a change-making program when unsupported by any university or financier.

Well, that is partly answered by clicking this link.
A lot is centered on my love of music and my skills to compose, visualize and produce animated learning songs seeing how these can be thematically integrated with the Arts to pluralize learning.
For a publisher, that’s a hard combination of skills to put together.

Here’s What Jazzles ELA Does:
Broadly, most children that readily achieve reading fluency do so because their parents have a literacy ‘rich’ background. .
But what if the parents have no literacy background and can’t functionally read?
Look at the figures! Forget reading to children in bed as the savior for literacy! Nearly 1-in-2 kids in the US and 3 in 10 in UK have no books. I cannot find a figure for Australia but adult functional illiteracy and innumeracy is 47% as a national average – hardly the ideal incubator of developing reading skills.

The Jazzles ‘animated reading songs’ succeed with all kids but importantly, with children from low or no English literacy backgrounds.
The system’s essence is a series of carefully structured animated alliterative lyrics that create rich recallable vocabulary (with understanding) across a mixed-ability class.

This provides the scaffolding for discussions, role play, reading and writing scenarios. Activated oral vocabulary is viewed as multimodal texts from which children can learn sight words, grammatical information, the use of punctuation and spelling. It’s VAK-T.

Through music, song, laughter and performance, Jazzles ELA effortlessly develops all 6 beginning reading skills: Alphabetic Principle, Phonemic Awareness, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Fluency and Concepts about Print.

Very Importantly – It’s Pure Howard Gardener!
In his just released book, ‘The App Generation’, Howard Gardner says, “Pluralize your teaching. Teach important materials in several ways, not just one (e.g. through stories, works of art, diagrams, role play).”

Pluralization is a critical attribute of the Jazzles ELA program – and very important for ESL/SPED students in mixed ability classes.

Join Me and Let’s Change Children’s Lives.
Two independent theses, plus independent classroom teachers, support this program for ‘astonishing results’ far ahead of anything they are mandated to use.
Based on our extensive experience, Jazzles represents a big missing piece in the puzzle as to how music and song can influence education – at least in terms of how to achieve mass-literacy.

If you are interested, have any suggestions, just click this link to email me.

NOTE: I like to add my thanks to Elena Mannes and her acclaimed PBS documentary “The Music Instinct: Science & Song,” that has opened my eyes to recent discoveries of the power of music and its connection to the body, the brain, and the world of nature. Elena’s book ‘The Power of Music: Pioneering Discoveries in the New Science of Song’ is available from Amazon by clicking this link.

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Today’s Kids Don’t Have Time on Their Side – Do Something About It Now!

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On July 7, 2013, the New York Times, published an editorial by well respected columnist Paul Krugman, titled ‘Defining Prosperity Down’.
Commenting on latest employment date, he wrote “Full recovery still looks a very long way off. And I’m beginning to worry that it may never happen.”

Growing levels of poverty, lack of certainity and opportunity for our children weighs heavy on the minds of myself and my husband who, figuratively speaking, took pen to paper to write a comment that the NYT published.

Kevin’s end message is not that we need to rethink the role of ‘Arts Integration’, but we need to do it now!!
DoEs, ISDs, politicians (on comfortable salaries), today’s kids don’t have your time on their side. You need to act now!

Here’s what he said:
“Paul, I am afraid long-term unemployment, particularly for disadvantaged, is a reality. It will get worse.
When I grew up I worked for employers like Unilever (Lever Bros) and Interpublc who fostered my career.
Today, its carnage for every employee.

I live in Australia where the average wage is $70,000 but where property values now exceed 10 times earnings. A different type of poverty!
I am not sure of the solution but I do think its foundations is PreK – G1.
We have to create literate kids with confidence – and instill in them the ethos to create their own way to earning money without relying on organization unless they are like COSTCO which do the right things by their employees.

My kids went to top schools, they live very comfortably and I know they look after the people who help them.
Paying garbage wages is a social disgrace but if you look at TV soaps, etc, why would you be surprised!”
Kevin Condon Sydney
TAKE OUT
Arts Integration has the ability to power literacy, build confidence, creativity and instill all children with a positive view of their ability to succeed!
JazzlesELA.com proves it! If you have any doubts, just ask me!

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Generational Poverty Does Not Extinguish Creativity And Why This Is So Important!

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No one disputes generational poverty is inherent and likely to grow.
But as a teacher, we have to cope with the children of generational poverty.
And you know?
We can!
It just depends on the resources and strategies we are given to use.
Assuming the school looks after the hunger, just imagine these kids entering the classroom.
They are stressed, depressed, angry, depressed and oppositional!
Why wouldn’t they be?

What’s the solution?
Arts Integration because it creates joy and inclusion to power whole class engagement and motivation

I use JazzlesELA.com, my own ‘Arts Integrated’ curriculum program.
(In fact, having canvassed every major LinkedIn educational groups and every educational #tag one on Twitter, it appears to be the only one that meets/exceeds Common Core Kindergarten ELA)

From class start, I create a joy-filled classroom with children watching carefully structured animated music videos. They are singing, they are moving, they are creating actions – all for a purpose – memory power. When you see, laugh, hear, move and sing, you remember everything! By following specially formatted prolifically alliterative, phonemic awareness, rich subtitles, they are intuitively developing all six big ideas of reading.

Instead of knocking TV, we borrow familiarized program format properties. Working in groups, children dramatize the sung story becoming weather anchors and news reporters. With karaoke, they’re stars of ‘The Voice’, backing singers or members of air-bands, etc. No guitar but they can all be a Keith Urban!

All of this is building their creativity (which generational poverty does not extinguish) while powering themed, systematically evolving vocabulary and oral language skills. Plus, they are working together in groups learning 21st Century Skills, like co-operation, sharing, being kind to each other.

So, let’s start forgetting children’s backgrounds.

Ask any PreK or Kindergarten class. Can you use a computer? Can you sing? Can you dance? Can you color and paint? Can you pretend to be a slippery snake? Hands will go up everywhere because they are at an age when they can. (Children use the computers to research topics, etc.)

Let’s start using Arts Integration to give these children a sense of purpose and value.
Finally, remember for them to learn, they have to read, and to read they have to have vocabulary.
To adopt a quote by Robert Pondiscio of the Core Knowledge Foundation, generational poverty isn’t destiny, but vocabulary, confidence and creativity definitely will be.

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Do You Know of Any ‘Arts Integrated’ Multimedia ELA Curriculum Program for Kindergarten?

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As part of a procurement process, an important government agency has asked us for the names of any competitors to our JazzlesELA program so they can compare resources and pricing.
We are genuinely unaware of any – so I would appreciate your help.

Program Description
JazzlesELA is a complete ‘Arts Integrated’ (or ‘Arts in Education’) program that is fully digitally delivered.
Essentially, the program is a ‘kindergarten-in-the-box’ package containing a fully developed ‘Arts Integrated’ pedagogy, methodology and SCORM compliant LMS resources – including over 500 sequenced, themed, song-powered animations, games and printable activity sheets.

JazzlesELA caters for all VAK-T/learning styles. It features multiple mnemonic strategies based on the Arts – including singing, dance, drama, art and performance.

Meeting/exceeding Common Core State Standards Kindergarten ELA, the supporting 26 Lesson Plans feature advanced ELA strategies that can also be used for Professional Development. For example, how to teach vocabulary, phonemic awareness, creative writing, etc.

Behind all the program’s laughter and fun, there is ‘academic rigor’ tailored appropriately to kindergarten. This claim is supported by two independent theses that demonstrate the program’s potential to overcome 50 years of literacy failure and turn the majority of our children into proficient, even advanced, readers.

You can download the theses from this link I think you will find some astonishing results

Transforming traditional play based learning into 21st Century learning, the program engages mixed diversity classes (including SPED and ESL) at exceptional levels – close to 100%.

While it has very many similarities to A+ schools and Reggio Emilia, it is highly scalable with very easy teacher in-servicing.

The program’s core focus is developing an active vocabulary/oral language base as the precursor to successful reading and learning.

Along with developing all six big ideas of beginning reading, JazzlesELA uses ‘arts integration’ to also develop essential non-cognitive skills such as co-operation, sharing, curiosity, confidence and self esteem.

This government procurement inquiry is a major opportunity for us.
I hope you can help.
Even a ‘no knowledge’ answer would be much appreciated.
lesleybeth@jazzles.com

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What is Your Creative Vision for Education?

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Why do we need creativity in education and what are the barriers to achieving it?

Adobe has just published this thought-provoking video on clamor to return creativity to the curriculum.

86% of parents and 73% of educators in the USA believe that creativity provides for higher quality teaching and learning.
But no-one directing the curriculum appears to be listening!
And parents are revolting!

For example, just last month, the Washington Examiner reported parents fighting back after DC Public Schools announced plans to cut more than $300,000 from The Fillmore Arts Center that offers classes on two campuses in dance, digital arts, theater, music, visual arts, creative writing and physical education to students in 11 DCPS elementary schools this year.

Why I’m Fighting Back Too!
Watch the video! As Adobe says, “…there is a growing concern that the education system itself is a barrier to developing the creativity that drives innovation. Parents and educators agree that today’s education system places too much emphasis on testing and not enough investment in the training, tools and time needed to teach creativity.”

Adobe’s video is great but I’ve actually done exactly what they are advocating.

JazzlesELA is a whole creative curriculum – hundreds of resources including animations, games and lesson plans – all done with Adobe Creative Suite!

In fact, I should offer Adobe access to the JazzlesELA website to demonstrate the concept of a creative curriculum!

Take Out Point!
In the video, you will notice some clever graphical texts that evolve to form the title ‘A Transformative Change’.
It’s not so much the issue of creativity, what frightens educators is the culture and training needs to achieve it.
It appears daunting! Well for PreK-Kindergarten, it’s not – JazzlesELA is the only packaged ‘Arts in Education’ multimedia, learning styles on the market.
Two independent theses to support it. It’s best case based on UNESCO standards targeting PREK to G2 plus ELL, ESL, SPED.

If you want me to talk about it on a panel or TV show, just call me 530-687-6305 or email me lesleybeth@jazzles.com – you can ask me any question because I’ve years of practical experience teaching 1000′s of children with an arts integrated program.

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Can You Measure Rigor?

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EXEMPLARY SCHOOLS is a great forum on Linkedin.
The other day, a discussion started on engagement in learning featuring a great infographic.

Kevin, my husband, I wrote a comment as follows:
“The concept of ‘engagement’ is like ‘fun’ – everyone claims their program is fun – except they are never asked to prove it. Same with ‘engagement’ – except not as used as often and certainly never required to be demonstrated but it is critical to learning. A 2007 PISA (OECD) study, showed levels of ‘engagement’ was the single factor that differentiated the nations with the highest and lowest levels of student achievement….!!

The reason he did this is because I was working in an inner city school putting engaged learning into practice!
So here’s the story!

Jazzles ELA excels in engaged learning! Seriously you could stake the proverbial house on Jazzles versus any other program to engage today’s diversified classes.
It’s one of my hobby horses because it is so important yet no one seems to care!

So we were both somewhat overwhelmed by the followng response from Professor John Sizemore, M.Ed., who teaches in the highly respected Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education. He’s a bit of an expert in this area. His resume notes: “John brings a practitioner’s perspective to the students entering the field of education or honing their skills to be principals. He has served in many administrative roles in public education, most recently as assistant superintendent in the 100,000 student Jefferson County Public Schools. John has served as consultant to a variety of urban and rural districts across the country, focusing on restructuring schools. Additionally, John has published articles on teacher advisory programs and principal leadership in restructuring the middle school. John received his B.A. in Social Studies, his MA in Guidance and Counseling, and his Rank I in Supervision and Instruction from Eastern Kentucky University.”

If you are a member of LinkedIn, you can reference the article by clicking this link: 27 Ways To Increase Student Engagement In Learning

Here’s what Professor Sizemore had to say:
“Maria, I totally concur with Kevin. School leaders and teachers speak of rigor, but it is really just talk. Until you measure rigor, it is all conjecture. With research I have been doing on rigor and engagement, in over 40 schools engagement follows rigor. As goes rigor so goes engagement. Early on l speculated active learning was the trigger to engagement, meaning that if you pedagogically tended to active learning that rigor would result. After more than 20,000 observations, it is clear rigor (thinking level) is at the top of the food chain. In every school’s data, when rigor increases so does engagement. You can have high engagement, but it is resting on the good nature of compliant students. This was determined by schools results that had high engagement, but very, very low rigor. In this case, it was a rural school district with students that did what the teacher asked.

Kevin is so right on with his analysis. School and teacher leaders talk of rigor and engagement, but until you measure these areas, you do to know. Thankfully, I have developed a quick assessment tool to get empirical results. The schools with whom we work know the difficulty of trying to change rigor and engagement. The difficulty in improving schools is In knowing how to change systems which then change school results.

We have found school leaders are challenged with knowing what to do too change results. It is not more PD, but the right PD which focuses on how to increase rigor,
By John Sizemore”

At long last we have found someone who knows how to measure rigor – we hope to use his assessment tool either directly or as the basis for a thesis. If you know anyone interested in this, please have them contact me.

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Can you integrate rigor with joy to create peak level engaged, active learning?

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Education to Save the World is one of my favorite blogs. Today, they carry an articles “Your Turn: How do you create a joyful classroom?”
I read it with interest because it is missing or understating the concept of rigor.

Rigor sounds the opposite of joy and often is.
So what is rigor and how can you integrate rigor with joy to create engaged, active learning?

Richard W. Strong (2001) defined rigor as “the goal of helping students develop the capacity to understand content that is complex, ambiguous, provocative, and personally or emotionally challenging”. In her (2008) book ‘Rigor is NOT a Four-Letter Word’, Barbara Blackburn’ wrote that “Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels, each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels, and each student demonstrates learning at high levels.”

In a 2012 whitepaper entitled “How do you identify rigor in the classroom?” Rick Jenkins, Jeff Goldhorn, and Mike Webb wrote: “To teach with rigor is to teach accurately and completely. In order to teach accurately, a teacher must have knowledge of both content and pedagogy. Teachers must teach their content without error and have content knowledge that is deeper than that which they teach. Teaching accurately also implies a use of pedagogy that ensures students learn content for understanding. Content knowledge without pedagogy leads to superficial and short-term learning. Pedagogy without content knowledge can result in student misconceptions and misunderstandings.”

So there’s the challenge! Joy does indeed create engagement. But high engagement may come with very low rigor.
What’s the answer?

You have to create a pedagogy/methodology incorporating the rigor integrated with resources and activities that bring the joy!

With JazzlesELA, I have extensive song–themed resources combining animated, subtitled songs, karaoke and interactive song books enhanced with interactive games and printable activity pages. Scalable lesson plans provide the fun/joy with the rigor.

The program does achieve exceptional results – broadly it halves the time to achieve Common Core Kindergarten ELA outcomes.
Here are a few of my strategies:
• The attention and memory power of music and songs.
• Coral singing to create a happy, unified optimum learning environment.
• Singing to activate a class-wide common, oral vocabulary base (song lyrics) – irrespective of the range vocabulary levels (including ESL) of children entering the class. (Diversity is the biggest challenge in public school classrooms.
• The power of ‘whole /part/ whole’ and contextual teaching for developing reading and writing skills and strategies.
• VAK engagement for optimal learning.
• Creative Visual and Performing Arts.
• Interactive technology.
• Visual Literacy.
• Multiple, fun practice strategies.
• Themed, curriculum extensions.
• Guided and independent learning.
• Pair and group interaction.
How to increase rigor and combine the joy is the real challenge!
With JazzlesELA, you have a best practice case – supported by research.

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