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‘The Arts’ of Reading Excellence

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So much emphasis on English and math testing to the annihilation of the arts!
The tide has turned!

All over the country, parents want to know what creative arts programs their children will be offered.
They understand the benefits of creativity through music, art and drama.
Above all, they want their children to be eager to go to school, socialize with their peers, as well as having learning confidence!

Teachers are overwhelmed with overcrowded curricula.
Cut backs have chewed into music, performance and visual arts programs.
But now, even governments are recognizing the positive evidence for including the Arts in schools

But what if Visual and Performing Arts became the medium through which children learn to read, write and communicate?

That’s what Jazzles ELA does. It uses the Arts to absolutely power vocabulary, phonemic awareness, print awareness, letter-sound correspondence, comprehension and fluency through its ‘learn to read’ songs and themed activities.

Jazzles amusing, animated and ‘captioned’ songs, simultaneously engage visually, kinetically and aurally – so every child’s learning style is addressed. Optimized, and mostly intuitive, children are learning all the 6 beginning reading skills through hearing, singing, following the words while performing ‘karaoke (they love that!), miming, dancing and playing percussion instruments to the beat.
Children are interacting socially through choral singing and performance, to learn, automatically and happily, initial sound frequency, high frequency/sight words and grammatical information – all in alliterative, song stories with meaning! It’s all fun practice and never rote.

Afterwards, children collaboratively work in pairs or groups to re-purpose internalized song sentences and research related topics to become script-writers, TV reporters or producers of mini dramas. You can even video these performances for review!
It’s massive, creative engagement – powering contextual vocabulary and oral language delivery – as well as non-cognitive skills of co-operation, performance, confidence and self-esteem.

And after school, brimming with confidence, your students will go home and ‘teach’ their parents and siblings the songs they’ve learned, showing off their word power while explaining the roles they’ve played!
Even if their parents can not functionally read, they can sing a song..
So now there is positive ‘schools to home connect’ with literacy benefits!

Jazzles ELA has a ‘learn to read’ package with over 400 scaffolded, song-themed, interactive resources integrated into its research-based methodology and pedagogy. Two independent theses prove it works at exceptional levels.

We all know the recall-power of music and song!
Just watch American Idol and see the judges sing every memorized word along with the performers!
Music, performance and coral singing engage students. Every teacher understands how beneficial that can be!

Compare Jazzles ELA to other early reading program relying on rote practice and sight word cards!
Which do you think students would rather?

Could marrying Creative Arts with Language Arts be the ultimate solution?

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What one of America’s Most Respected Educators Thinks About Jazzles

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Back in 2008, James J. Harrigan Principal New York State Recognized Closing the Gap School, agreed to write a review of our Jazzles program. Since then, we have done an enormous amount of work on integrating Jazzles to meet and mostly exceed the Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten ELA; created ‘advanced’ ELA Lesson Plans, added a few resources, and renamed the program Jazzles ELA.

Principal Harrigan is a veteran educator with over 30 years experience within the nation’s largest Public School System. He is a past recipient of the New York State Catholic Teacher’s Association’s EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR, the New York City Board of Education SUPERVISOR OF THE YEAR award and the Emerald Society’s EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR. Here is his forword to a manual we created on the Jazzles methodology and pedagogy, soon to be republished.

THE JAZZLES LEARNING SYSTEM

If someone told you that your 5-6 year old child could be guaranteed to graduate from high school, more than likely graduate from college as well, and earn an extra million dollars over the course of their work career, you’d probably say “Where do I sign up?”

Well, the above scenario is not a hypothetical situation. In reality, nearly 40% of parents of children beginning school in kindergarten or grade one face this situation. Why? Because their children do not have the requisite skills to become proficient readers and will be relegated to a second class academic and economic status.

The cold statistics of decades of educational research confirm the following statement: Nothing is more critical to the academic success of a child, as well as their future economic and social well being, than the ability to read well and with understanding.

That is why, as a principal of an urban elementary school for 20 years, I strongly recommend the Jazzles Learning System as an effective and cost efficient tool to increase student reading achievement.

Before I return to why I know Jazzles is an effective program to help struggling reading and enhance the reading ability of all young readers, let’s briefly examine the state of reading in the United States:

Despite nearly 50 years of national focus on reading development, from the 1960’s ESEA legislation to the recent NCLB initiative, the majority of children in the U.S. are still failing to read at a proficient level. These statistics, based upon the most recent (2007) National Assessment of Educational Progress *(NAEP) of reading achievement, are sobering, if not alarming.

What does NAEP tell us? It tells us that only 67% of grade 4 students scored at or above the basic level, with only 33% of students scoring at the proficient level. Conversely, this means that one-third of this national representative sample of 4th graders scored below basic, that is, they do not even have an even partial mastery (the definition of basic) of the skills necessary to become good readers.

So what is the usual reaction to this dire news and depressing statistics?

Both parents and educators usually grasp on to the latest reading initiative or embrace the “flavor of the month” reading program. Alas, as any experienced teacher will tell you, there is no panacea or “silver bullet” to generate skilled readers.

However, there are communities and schools using curricula and programs, which defy the odds and turn out proficient and advanced readers. Their success story can be duplicated.

From my personal experience, the Jazzles Learning System falls into this elite category. Why? For a number of reasons:

Jazzles is practical and time-tested. An early childhood teacher with over 20 years of classroom experience teaching kindergarten and grade one students developed the program.

Jazzles utilizes a multi-sensory approach, emphasizing visual, auditory and kinetic activities and Jazzles is consistent with the latest brain research on learning. It takes the traditional activities of early childhood education and integrates them with 21st century literacy benchmarks and classroom technology advances – particularly interactive whiteboards.

What it really does superbly is take these traditional early childhood classroom activities, and through its interactive program of music, movement and creative games, it enhances and reinforces the literary skills expected of kindergarten and grade one students today.

Most importantly, Jazzles corresponds clearly with any balanced, comprehensive and sequential reading curriculum. Its games and activities are consistent with the essential elements of reading – phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary development. For example, the Jazzles Learning System emphasizes nearly three quarters of the English language words included in most high fluency and sight word lists.

Jazzles is an individualized and differentiated learning system. The technology allows the students, whatever their reading ability, to access the program at their own level. The scaffolded learning system allows students to advance at their own pace. Jazzles also works especially well for ELL and special needs students who react immediately to the positive reinforcement and feedback built into the program’s strategy. As these special populations increase in number and percentage in our schools, Jazzles can be one pragmatic solution to help these students reach state and national literacy standards.

Lastly, and most importantly in a school or home setting, Jazzles is a near perfect supplement to a K-1 reading program. Through its feedback assessment system, it allows teachers to identify and isolate particular reading deficiencies and utilize Jazzles activities to target, remediate and reinforce the skills necessary to bring students up to grade level.

There is probably no greater joy for a parent or educator than to see a reluctant or struggling reader become totally engaged and enthusiastic about reading.

I have seen this occur consistently with students using the Jazzles Learning System- you can make it happen for your children as well.

James J. Harrigan
Principal
New York State Recognized Closing the Gap School

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Neuroeducation specialist wanted to test Jazzles ELA Conceptual Model.

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We are trying to find a neuroscientist / neuroeducation specialist to research why the Jazzles ELA program  and conceptual model achieves boosts in learning and reading skills.  
Educational equity would be the major beneficiary as well as facilitating quality teaching.
If you know of any institute or PHD who would be interested, please let me know.
Sincerely
Lesley Beth 
lesleybeth@jazzles.com
The Brief
Does the conceptual framework and the pedagogical methodology approach typified by Jazzles ELA boost memory, attention, language, reading skills, mathematical patterns, curiosity, preparedness for learning and global intelligences and if so how can this be demonstrated using for example fMRI,EEG with supporting data and images.
Background
Jazzles ELA is a very large music/song powered VAK multimedia program independently researched to boost literacy outcomes/reducing learning times.
Musically animated videos, catchy ‘can’t get it out of your head’ ear-worms/repetunes plus key changes and ‘same language’ subtitles appear to be the major factors.
Educational equity would be the major beneficiary as well as facilitating quality teaching.

See my previous blog Creating Mass Literacy – Overcoming Disadvantage

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13. How Jazzles ELA’s ‘Matching Captions’ can Develop Mass Literacy.

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Number 13 in My Series – Strategies Making the Jazzles Difference
Jazzles ELA uses an advanced, customized version of a widely acclaimed literacy development strategy called ‘Same Language Subtitles’.

Integrated with music videos, the SLS strategy is endorsed by the Google Foundation, UNESCO, World Bank, various governments and academics as a way of helping millions of people, particularly the disadvantaged, gain access to regular reading practice and improve literacy.

Here’s how it works and why it’s so important.
Extensive research shows that subtitles such as the ‘Matching Captions’ in the JazzleOke animations, are read just like text in a book.

Unlike subtitles, close captioning and karaoke, the visualization of each JazzleOke animation is designed to create comprehension of the meanings in the ‘Matching Captions’ lyrical text. This way children relate the words they see to the content represented in the images.
This visual explanation of the connected text enhances comprehension.

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Additionally, the design creates a binding relationship between the audio, the sound track, the visualization and the ‘Matching Captions’.
This enables students to ‘take-out’ letter-sounds, while familiarizing themselves with words, phrases and meanings.

Watching the JazzleOke animations, reading the ‘Matching Captions’, seeing contextual clues in story lines, collectively singing and moving to the beat, all children (including English Learners, mildly autistic and disadvantaged students) experience an unbeatable combination of ways to absorb and internalize words and their meanings.

Even if too young to read with understanding, these ‘Matching Captions’ intuitively familiarize children with short sets of connected text while promoting ‘left to right tracking’ of words in meaningful context while also building familiarity with Concepts about Print.

By mixing entertaining cartoons with catchy music, prolifically alliterative alphabetic lyrics and specially formatted subtitles, Jazzles entertains while powerfully, yet intuitively developing all the foundations for learning to read.

Additional Benefits
Research shows that musical and phonemic processing interact – benefiting attention span, comprehension and memory.

Singing along to Jazzles Matching Captions, transforms the usual passive-observation role of screen exposure that includes text into interactive conscious and subconscious learning. Benefits go beyond developing vocabulary, comprehension, fluency and concepts about print – because when children know a word and are then asked to use it in a phonological awareness exercise; they find the task easier than if they had to use an unfamiliar word.

Creative Writing – Teaching Tip!
Here is a way to develop listening, understanding and creative writing skills with the JazzleOke ‘Matching Captions’ Challenge!

Turn children into make-believe ‘Movie Script Writers’.

Have them watch the JazzleOke animation and then write their own ‘Matching Caption’ for the storyboard. (When developmentally ready.) This way you are turning ‘watching and listening’ into creative play that combines aural, visual and written skills! Creating ‘Big Picture Matching Captions’ is a powerful language learning strategy that is fun and anxiety free. Children are far more interested in learning to write and spell when they are using words for a purpose

“Very Funny! Excellent Idea!” “Mixing cartoons and learning is very suitable for teaching Phonics to EFL learners … even adults like watching cartoons!” Says Dr. Kusumarasdyati, PhD. Lecturer English Department, Surabaya State University, Indonesia

Special Education
For children requiring intervention programs, Jazzles ELA is a breath of fresh air! Suddenly, they are creatively learning more than just simplistic English. Singing along to the JazzleOke Matching Captions, children comfortably take risks with their pronunciation, knowing they will be unexposed to any embarrassment.

Singing allows them to concentrate very carefully on each subtle sound until they get it right!

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12. VAK Learning Styles is Surfacing More and More with Our Teachers

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Number 12 in My Series – Strategies Making the Jazzles Difference
OVERVIEW
Jazzles ELA is designed to match the learning style profiles of all the main student sub-groups in mixed ability classes.
In 2008, two independent university theses found Jazzles had significant impact.
In one, nearly 40% of the students (half on free lunch and with no reading level) achieved year end, literacy outcomes in JUST 12 WEEKS of the first semester.
Other benefits included greater focus, improved behaviors and improved abilities to recognize patterns in math.

Read below and see how Jazzles ELA provides the resources and strategies to engage today’s student diversity.

HISPANIC
Jazzles ELA strategies and resources comprehensively encompass all the key recommendations for ‘Educating Hispanic Students’ published by CREDE 2002. These include:
• Culturally-responsive teaching, cooperative learning (including utilization of context for meaning, use of nonverbal and verbal cues), instructional conversations (detailed in each lesson plan) and cognitively-guided instruction.
• Technology-enriched instruction including web-based images (now facilitated by Jazzles ELA embedded web search).
• Digitized books for pronunciation,
• The roles of multimedia including ‘creating a meaningful context for learning’ as well as ‘facilitating auditory skill development by integrating visual presentations with sound and animation’.
Jazzles ELA excels in all these areas.

BLACK AMERICAN
Movement and rhythm components are vital – along with the full battery of Jazzles ELA resources and strategies. This includes:
• Kinesthetic/tactile experiences.
• Processing visual information.
• Opportunities for expressive creativity (e.g. oral expression).
• Nonverbal communication (including intonation, body language, dance and drama, etc.).
Important strategies include working with background music playing (a key Jazzles ELA language practice strategy) and creating an environment that encourages harmony, cooperation, and socialization.
Jazzles ELA embeds all these strategies in its resources and pedagogy.

LOW SES
The Jazzles ELA pedagogy tackles all the core challenges these students face including lack of vocabulary, general knowledge, self-confidence as well as behavioral and emotional problems. Features include:
• Jazzles ELA is a multifaceted program that enables children to experience and practice learning in a multitude of different ways. For example, a key vocabulary strategy is to use the JazzleOke cartoons to power language rich conversations, drama and topic exploration.
• By focusing on one JazzleOke theme a week, children rapidly develop a common class-wide language base familiar to every child. This enables every child, advantaged and disadvantaged, to join-in happily.
• Week by week, low SES students incrementally develop their language base, general knowledge, their confidence and the joy of learning cooperatively.
• With Jazzles, there are frequent, varied, and extensive language experiences through its directed listening and discussion strategies.
• This includes the role of rich language. Around 5% of JazzleOke lyrics are composed of ‘big/unfamiliar’ words – like ‘astronaut’, ‘astonished’ and ‘outstretched’. These big words are the ones children find easiest to remember while also fostering word consciousness.
• For low SES students, song-powered JazzleOke brightens their day with happiness and joy. It also provides unique opportunities to engage families in their children’s education and in the process improve literacy standards in the home.

ESL/ELL/LEP
Multimodal texts, of which Jazzles has all, are widely adopted for ESL/ELL/LEP. Examples include illustrated texts, movies/music videos with same language subtitles, choral singing, performance, drama, whole/part body movements – as well as experiential and interactive learning so students learn by doing.
• The primary Jazzles multimodal resources are the animated song clips supported by same language subtitles. (JazzleOke)
• It is well researched that viewers automatically read captions and subtitles first, even before the visuals, and in the process transform screens/television from picture viewing into a predominantly reading activity.
• It’s a strategy endorsed by the Google Foundation, UNESCO, World Bank, various governments and academics because same language (lyric) subtitles can, in the words of Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, “help millions, of people gain access to regular reading practice and improve literacy.”
• Uniquely, with Jazzles, visualization is designed to match the lyrical captions to promote meaning.
• It also designed to create a binding relationship between the audio, the sound track, the visualization, and the subtitles. This enables LEP/ESL/ELL students to ‘take-out’ letter-sounds, words, phrases and meanings.
• Jazzles ELA strategies promote inclusion and growth in self confidence.
• Singing with JazzleOke overcomes embarrassment in pronunciation while also promoting memory for vocabulary in connected texts.
• Vocabulary acquisition with understanding is developed by promoting vocabulary usage in domains of knowledge (for example JazzleOke ‘Orange Octopus’ in relation to oceans and marine life) in combination with drama extensions that develop language rich understanding.

AGE/MATURITY
Each JazzleOke animation is a ‘multi-age’ mini ‘Learn to Read’ tutorial!
• JazzleOke is used across a very wide age range because all the music and language is totally contemporary, containing no babyish concepts.
• User groups include PreK-G2 as well as teenagers and adults for ELL/SPED.
• Children, teachers and parents are all impacted by the catchy alliterative lyrics and it’s 22 styles of different, contemporary music compositions.

TEMPORARY HEARING LOSS
Permanent and/or transient hearing loss in one or both ears affects more than 14% (one in seven) of school aged children. (Source: American Academy of Audiology 2011) It is estimated that one-third of children with minimal or unilateral hearing loss fail a grade. Long or short term, the Jazzles ELA range of multimedia, reinforced by its visual and kinetic activities, enables those affected to tap into supporting/compensating modes of learning.

BOYS
“Stunning!” Says New York Times Best Selling author Michael Gurian ( ‘The Minds of Boys’).
Jazzles resources and pedagogy is embedded with differentiated instruction strategies that create boy friendly classrooms – while still engaging the girls, both at extraordinary levels.
For boys, Jazzles is full of experiential single-task focus projects and visual-spatial/body-kinesthetic learning, the latter catering for their natural desire to move.

REGED
Visual and Kinetic learners are estimated at 75% of students entering school. Many children only become engaged when moving! Jazzles ELA themed Lesson Plans are full of learning directed kinesthetic-tactile activities – including choral singing, hand/body actions, movement, dancing, mime, percussion, drama/ performance, art/craft etc. These are all directed at developing language proficiency with knowledge proficiency, without which meaningful reading cannot take place because of deficits in comprehension.
Boosting Concentration.
A big issue is children’s ability to concentrate. In a recent poll of 440 teachers, 91% said children’s attention spans were shorter than ever before. Using the focus question prompts found in each Jazzles ELA Lesson Plan, children engage at extraordinarily high levels. Post viewing activities achieve extended high engagement levels with children even ignoring schools bells to keep interacting – “occasionally with real tears being shed!” reported a teacher!

SPED
Jazzles ELA applies highly integrated sequenced, multisensory/multi-modal approaches that universally adopted by SPED educators.
• Most SPED students are global processors with tactile and kinesthetic-perceptual strengths.
• Jazzles ELA is rich in kinesthetic and tactile-kinesthetic experiences.
• Pre-instruction is an important part of Jazzles ELA strategies enabling global thinkers’ to process ‘whole-to-part’ information.
• The Jazzles multimedia content also appeals to a very wide range of developmental ages because it treats all students intelligently. It is never silly or babyish!
• Jazzles ELA is perfect for conditions where music, dance/movement and creative arts expression helps focus and engagement.
• Jazzles ELA enables more Special Education students to be effectively included in regular classes including those with ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, apraxia, autism spectrum (at levels acceptable for inclusion classes), dysphagia, fluency & voice, Down Syndrome, intellectual and learning delayed, reluctant learners and visual and hearing impaired.

ASIAN/PACIFIC ISLANDER
There are 6 major subgroups in the Asia/Pacific Islander population, but in total 47 ethnic groups speaking over 100 languages and their learning styles differ quite widely. Generally it is recommended that they prefer visual and kinetic/practical experiences. The point is that whatever the preferred learning style, it is found in the Jazzles ELA resources and pedagogy.

“I was astonished to see how much their DIBELS scores improved after incorporating Jazzles!”
Says a MO. kindergarten teacher.

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