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7: Memory Strategies Making the Jazzles Difference – But Never Rote!

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How often have parents come up to you and complained their child is ‘bored’ at school?
Somehow it is inferred that it’s the teacher’s responsibility to produce entertaining, educational resources that can compete with today’s interactive games!
In the past perhaps, because teachers were allowed to use their creativity. Today, it’s all about highly prescriptive programs ‘teaching for the test’!

To teach them you must first reach them! How?
Engaging resources! Engaging pedagogical experiences! That’s how I designed Jazzles ELA – so the resources do the heavy lifting, slashing class management issues and creating quality teachiing time.

Embedded Learning Styles
The Jazzles learning system excels in using VAK engagement, but also provides experience opportunities for identifying and developing multiple intelligences!

When you see, laugh, hear, move and sing, you remember everything!
This is the Jazzles claim that is both research based and accepted by every educator. For the first time, these features are integrated into a comprehensive, song-powered, ELA program, designed to accelerate learning in mixed ability classes.

The Jazzles ELA Learning system balances social interaction and interactive technology. That is why Visual and Performing Arts feature highly. Not only do ‘Arts’ experiences develop vocabulary which is the greatest predictor of reading writing success, but all importantly, non cognitive skills of communication, negotiation, creative, inferential and critical thinking, etc.

What about practicing skills?
It’s been proven that children need to practice 16 times to be able to automatically recall. For children with learning difficulties over 40 times.

So how can we get children to want to practice without the boredom of rote?
Jazzles uses multiple, ‘memory-embedded’, practice strategies and resources that are highly engaging and fun!
It’s variety! Variety! Practice! Practice - but practice that is never, ever the same!
Jazzles uniquely keeps children’s learning ‘everyday’ fresh, intriguing and newsworthy for parents!

How?
Each Jazzles ELA Unit starts with its key resource JazzleOke 1 (animated, reading-songs with matching text/captions).

Children automatically join in, to happily practice and learn – because of the:
• Variety of 22 different styles of music over 26 songs! (From ‘Big Band’ to ‘Funk’.)
• Variety of musical backing instrumentation (think kinetic percussion).
• Musical ‘hooks’ – the most powerful mnemonic – that ‘catch’ the ear of the listener.
• Multiple singers – male/ female with solo, duet, trio and unison plus harmonies.
• A wide variety of song topics that interest children with cross curriculum links.
• Lyrical ‘hooks’ – deliberately and prolifically alliterative to ‘hook’ the brain for recall.
• Alliteratively highlighted Matching Captions – synchronized text (reading) to matching images. (Visual Literacy)
• Humor and mischievous cartoon characters – not perfect, but always good or trying to help!

After all this fun practice that activates vocabulary and beginning reading skills, Jazzles Advanced ELA Lesson Plans deliver multiple means of practice using JazzleOke 2 and 3, Interactive JazzleBooks 1 and 2, creative Visual and Performing Arts, and guided play (including interactive games). All of these are scaffolded to reinforce the top indicators of beginning reading and writing (internalized/oral language, phonemic awareness, comprehension and concepts about print).

As one teacher remarked:

“They spontaneously sing the songs when they are working, they talk about it & it helps them find the links with letters & other words.”

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Have You Ever Thought Of Yourself as a Human Teacher?

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We’ll get to the question above shortly.

In the popular Blog of ‘November Learning’ there’s an illuminating article about ‘Why Schools Must Move Beyond One-to-One Computing’.

The story leads with the experiences of an ISD superintendent, who had spent the past month reviewing one-to-one computing programs in various school districts. He was trying to decide whether his own district should commit to the enormous expense of a one-to-one program at a time of declining resources.

To quote the Blog (click to open), the conclusion from his visits did not leave much room for interpretation.

“Horrible, horrible, horrible implementation from every program I visited,” he said. “All of them were about the stuff, with a total lack of vision.”
His research convinced him not to move forward with one-to-one computing.’

I empathized with his experiences and decided to post a contribution to the Blog based on my own experiences as well as my despair at how computerized beginning reading programs are promoted, and indeed accepted, in our school system.

Here’s what I said.

How I see it!
As you know I am a kindergarten teacher.
I got so fed up with the boring resources my school provided, I created my own program called Jazzles ELA

I wanted to use technology but in tandem with a well rounded, scaffolded, creative learning pedagogy that includes developing vital non-cognitive skills. (Discussion, sharing, problem solving etc.)

Jazzles ELA is blended learning with a very clear and ambitious vision about enabling every child, irrespective of social status, to become at least a proficient but preferably advanced reader and writer.

At the very center of Jazzles 21st Century Engaging Pedagogy is developing vocabulary (linked with knowledge), the single very best predictor of success in all school subject areas.

However, if you look at commercial PreK – K technology-based literacy learning programs that claim to teach children everything they need to know to read, their focus leads with ‘phonics’ and effectively rote learning of words, the latter justified by research that shows if you repeat a word 16 times, you know the word.

Can you imagine the computer programmers when they heard that statistic?? Ecstatic!

As NIFL’s Advisory Board Member, Dr. Richard Wagner, says “Vocabulary knowledge is really knowledge distributed across multiple sets of words rather than an individual word alone. Acquiring a new word or refining knowledge of one word can improve understanding of related words and concepts.”
It takes more than a computer program to do that.
That’s why the Jazzles interactive ELA pedagogy employs social interaction and group work, etc.

When I tried to license Jazzles ELA to the big publishers, even though one valued the program at $4.0m, unanimously their vision was for something teachers could set the kids could do all by themselves – enabling teachers to focus on those children requiring more one-to-one.

All of this came into focus this week, when I looked at the website of ‘StudyDog’ – claiming to be “the fastest growing children’s reading program for kids ages 4-9.

Here’s the StudyDog claim:
“StudyDog Reading provides a complete, research based, rigorous curriculum. Study Dog is aligned with Common Core and state standards and systematically develops skills with explicit instruction. StudyDog is the only online solution that delivers all the components for effectively developing essential skills for early elementary readers.”

Mmmm! We shall see!

Now read their fine print!
Here’s the very small footnote in a pdf entitled ‘Texas Language Arts Literacy Standards PreK – 1st Grade’. To save you clicking the link and looking at the very bottom of the last page, here is what it says:

“StudyDog is a supplemental, computer-based reading program and, as such, cannot meet those standards that can only be met by human teachers. Those standards are not shown.
So please, what’s the point of the program???

Love your thoughts on that!
And look, with Jazzles ELA there is no small print. I stand by everything I claim – and just for the record, Jazzles ELA meets/exceeds Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten ELA – and yes, it is designed for human teachers (weird StudyDog description!!) and delivers in such a way as to minimize classroom management and create maximum quality teaching time!

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6: Why song-powered Jazzles ELA? Strategies Making the Jazzles Difference

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When watching ‘American Idol’ or ‘The Voice’, have you been intrigued to see the judges singing every word of the song being performed, and even more amazingly, they often predict the song just by hearing the introductory, instrumental bars ?

So have you found yourself mentally able predict the next song on a familiarized album – even before it begins?
I have!
It’s scientifically described as ‘ear-worms’ – ‘a piece of music that gets stuck in your head so you hear it, even when it‘s not being played’.
That’s the amazing recall power of songs that I use for literacy purpose.

Let’s take ‘The Voice’ analogy a step further. The brilliance of the concept, is that the judges only evaluate on the voice – not the appearance.
Sadly, that’s not how it works in life!
After the initial judgement call on appearance, children and adults are judged on their ability to communicate!
Poor oral fluency can wrongly create misconceptions about intelligence or cause low self esteem and cost jobs as an adult.

Even sadder, research consistently finds teachers spend as little as 6% of their time on vocabulary development and even less (only 1.4%) allotted to content area vocabulary.

Every teacher knows that apart from the intervention of repeated practice (requiring time they can’t find), it’s almost impossible to change ingrained, grammatically incorrect vocabulary e.g. ‘I seen him’, ‘She went to the shopping’ etc.!

I believe we are created with equal brain capacity to learn – just inequality of opportunity.
Music and singing is accessible to everyone – engaging the brain for remembering intonation and pronunciation and the grammatical structure of language.

I deliberately use a wide variety of upbeat musical styles and singing performances as the key Jazzles ELA strategy for emotional engagement and recall.
Singing happily and automatically unifies groups of children – no matter what their socio-economic status is.
It is also the ideal way to practice and internalize English vocabulary – to say nothing of confident oral expression!

Can you think of a more powerful and enjoyable way to activate vocabulary?
It is the single best predictor of success in all school subject areas. And essential for mixed ability classes!
Based on the amount of time devoted to it, you wouldn’t thinks so!

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What Can Be Done When ONLY 12% of Black Boys are on Grade Level?

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The figure of 12% is to be found in Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu’s recently released book – ‘Understanding Black Male Learning Styles’ – in which he says, “Understanding black male learning styles is critical to academic success.”

Which takes us to today Thursday 11th April, Dr. Yvette Jackson will be the keynote speaker at the NYC DOE EMPOWERING BOYS INITIATIVE (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture).

Here Dr. Jackson will present research supporting her ‘Pedagogy of Confidence: Inspiring High Intellectual Performance in Urban Schools‘.

The essence is that high intellectual performance can be achieved when instruction and classroom environment are modified to include culturally relevant strategies through High Operational Practices that fortify the cognitive skills necessary for all students to meet the demands of the Common Core State Standards.

I Blend Research and Classroom Practice!
My Jazzles ELA program is built on research, focusing particularly on VAK-T learning styles and mnemonics. But some times I think research gets more attention than solutions.

So here’s this blog’s takeout!
There is a solution for Black American boys in PreK-G2. It’s called Jazzles ELA.
It is based on decades of practical classroom experiences and the oft forgotten, old time teacher skills, of ingenuity and creativity!
(Sadly replaced these days by committee-based prescriptive pedagogies.)

Using Jazzles ELA, schools will significantly reverse 50 years of failed resources and pedagogies to achieve consistently high levels of reading proficiency among our most disadvantaged.

As Eli Broad (@UnreasonableEli), says in a current tweet ‘Anyone in any line of work can use “Why Not?” to make small but significant changes in day-today operations’.

So my little request to Dr Jackson, Dr. Kunjufu, and all schools experiencing this issue, is:
Why not review Jazzles ELA in the toughest school you can ‘throw’ at me?
All I need is 1-2 weeks, an Interactive Whiteboard, some photocopy paper and art materials.
(Notes: You’ll see an impact on day 1. Doesn’t need much teacher training, because Jazzles is essentially ‘intuitive’.)

Summary
Dr. Yvette Jackson’s is the ‘Pedagogy of Confidence’.
Mine is the ‘Pedagogy of Engagement‘.
Through it’s pedagogy, particularly teaching from what is known, children acquire confidence because risks of failure are effectively removed. (See my very next blog!!)

How Jazzles caters for Black American boys – without losing the girls (or anyone else!).

BLACK AMERICAN Students
Movement and rhythm components are vital – along with the full battery of Jazzles 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 language practice strategy) and creating an environment that encourages harmony, cooperation, and socialization.

Jazzles embeds all these strategies in its resources and pedagog

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 sexes at extraordinary levels.
For boys,Jazzles is full of experiential single-task focus projects and visual-spatial/body-kinesthetic learning, the latter catering for boys’ natural desire to move.

LOW SES
The Jazzles 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 Jazzles 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 Jazzles 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.

Re Other Groups
For Hispanic, REGED, SPED, ESL/EFL refer to Equity for All on my website.

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One of Our Headstart Teachers Facebooked About Our New YouTube Videos.

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“Lesley, loved seeing faces of the fabulous Jazzles singers! Now my kids can see the people singing their favorites songs.”

Here are the links:
Sneaky Snake
Up! Up! Umbrella!

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