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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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Time for TED debate on Quality PreK! Let’s Get Real!

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If you are a teacher like me, who goes to school everyday with the aim of improving children’s lives through education, please read this article in today’s (06/14/2013) ‘Education Next’ – ‘How Poverty Is Like Global Warming (& Other Parting Thoughts)’.

It is the last of a series of blogs between Michael Petrilli’s and Deborah Meier, the highly respected ‘founder’ of the modern small schools movement.

In the blog, Mr. Petrilli’s comments that “High-quality preschool, for instance, has great potential, but we don’t really know how to scale up the kinds of programs that have gotten dramatic long-term results.”

Read that twice.
What Mr. Petrilli is saying, by default, is that the programs that have gotten results (like Appletree in DC) have uneconomic teacher-student ratios and require lots of intensive training.

I completely disagree with Mr. Petrilli’s sentiments and substance.
I’ve posted my response on the Education Next blog site.

But, just in case, moderators at Education Next decide not to publish the response (be interesting to see), I thought the issue is so important, I’d publish it this blog.
(Update: After 24 hours, my response not yet published!)

Mr. Petrilli might not know how to scale up high quality PreK but I do!
I have spent 10 years doing it – developing Jazzles ELA.
It is a highly scalable ‘Arts in Education’ early education/beginning literacy program that transforms children’s intellectual and emotional engagement.

It’s not theory; its at work in schools in the US and Australia.
Two independent theses proves it works for Kindergarten children.
Anecdotal reports show it works for PreK.

I cannot provide the long-term stats that Mr. Petrilli relies on because that is a chicken and the egg argument.
After all, the egg is now being laid!

What amazes me is that there are so many educators, like Mr. Petrilli, who make statements like this yet so few who invite educational innovators, particularly ordinary, ‘working at the rockface’, teachers like you and me, to present their 21st Century solutions.

Think about this way!
Despite nearly 50 years of national focus, the majority of children in the U.S. are still failing to read at a proficient level.
So academia and mega-publishers really can’t claim to have monopoly on solutions – their record is not that good!

  • Why do we place so much value on their formula solutions?
  • Why do we never ask them to prove their solutions to engage diverse children on standard teacher/student ratios?

Why? Because if you can’t engage, you cannot teach them? And here’s a fact you’ll never read! A 2007 PISA (OECD) study, showed levels of ‘engagement’ is the single factor that differentiated the nations with the highest and lowest levels of student achievement. And that goes for PreK too!

So Mike Petrilli, Sir Ken Robinson, Lord Puttenham, Geoffrey Canada, Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, step up to the plate for a real debate on what constitutes a new model for high quality PreK that, unlike A+ schools, Appletree, (et.al.) highly scalable, highly cost effective (ok, let’s use the word cheap) and transforming for the disadvantaged.

I’m ready! Let’s do it on TED! BECAUSE it is a debate worth having!
And by the way, lets not focus always on poverty because there are so many abused and stressed kids we need to help too.
If you agree with this post, and your mad with the naysayers, use Twitter and Facebook to send it viral!
It’s worth it!

BIG NOTE:
Love it! New website ‘Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates‘ is publishing messages from teachers to the Microsoft founder

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