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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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Who’s developing a sequential, ‘arts and technology’ integrated, multimedia 21st century ELA program?

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Seems everyone wants the engagement power and educational benefits of Arts plus Technology.

Why?

Because, apart from the 3 R’s, we teachers need to cater for all learning styles and multiple intelligences while also developing non-cognitive skills, and keeping it all entertaining to engage every student!

Combining the Arts with the cost effectiveness and the engagement levels of on-line internet delivery, just adds to the benefits!

Now I’m all for research- based information that leads to change and developing practical resources that meet educational needs. But it seems that there is too much analyzing, too many committees gathering information and too little money spent on program-resourced solutions!

We have researched and found the flaws, heard the experts.
Where are the solutions?

Why aren’t more experienced, mature teachers asked to contribute from their wealth of practical knowledge and experience? I’m sure many retired teachers would love to be asked to share their wealth of wisdom.

Meanwhile generations of children are lost in inappropriate, outdated programs. Endless blame-gaming and talk has failed them.

AND don’t blame the teachers.
The solution needs to start by equipping teachers in teachers colleges and already in schools – but please give them the sequential program, methodology, and engaging resources children today are expecting.

Let’s look at the evidence in the NCTQ’s May 2006 Report ‘What Education Schools Aren’t Teaching about Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren’t Learning

Finding No 1: ‘MOST EDUCATION SCHOOLS ARE NOT TEACHING THE SCIENCE OF READING’ (Page 4).
Finding No 9: ‘NO AGREEMENT IN THE FIELD ABOUT WHAT CONSTITUTES ‘SEMINAL’ TEXTS’ (Page 12).

‘Another problem is fragmentation in the field of reading instruction. In contrast to most other fields, where professionals generally agree on a core of seminal texts, no single reading text, no matter what its approach, was assigned in more than a handful of the courses we examined, and only a tiny fraction of texts were read in more than a single class. Teacher educators clearly have not reached any sort of consensus about a single scholar or text that serves as essential reading in the field. In truth, the field is a free-for-all.’
SOURCE: National Council on Teacher Quality May 2006 Report.

Not so using the JazzlesELA ‘learn to read’ method that involves simultaneously learning the 5 necessary components of good reading instruction (as identified in the review of research by the National Reading Panel report released in 2000), while also learning Concepts about Print and practicing oral English!

My sequential JazzlesELA/ESL multimedia program is designed for the beginning of Elementary school. One of its extraordinary strengths is achieving very high levels of engagement in mixed ability classes through the integration of Arts and Technology.

If you can’t reach them, can you teach them?
Click this link and test for yourself the effectiveness of a ‘relatable’ arts-integrated, multimedia program!

At the very least, you will discover that Jazzles ELA offers every child the opportunity of a happy, confident start to school with a unique, 21st century, arts-integrated, multimedia ‘learn to read’ approach.

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11. U.S. students struggle with vocabulary! Why The Jazzles Vocabulary Approach IS the NAEP’s Vocabulary Approach!

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Number 11 in My Series – Strategies Making the Jazzles Difference
‘U.S. students struggle with vocabulary’, says a new study from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.
The same article adds ‘Vocabulary skills of students nationwide closely track students’ reading comprehension levels.’

So where do we go from doomsday?
Commenting on the research, Francie Alexander, Vice President and Chief Academic Officer for Scholastic Education, says the results show that developing a rich vocabulary “can become a huge task for students, one that schools must take on beginning in the earliest grades and continuing through high school.”

Does Vocabulary Development Have to be a Huge Task?
Certainly not! With Jazzles, children acquire vocabulary knowledge intuitively, easily and almost automatically, through the combination of:
1. Highly engaging, song themed, vocabulary rich resources.
2. The use of multiple mnemonic-based strategies to power vocabulary development – e.g. Matching Captions; prolific alliteration: developing vocabulary using connected text; lyrics emphasizing nearly 75% of words found in high fluency and sight word lists; creative writing using storyboarding; etc.
3. The use of creative arts for reinforcing and extending vocabulary and comprehension. For example, the use of drama and creative play to develop expressive vocabulary and oral skills.

Benefits go beyond developing vocabulary and comprehension, because when children know a word and are then asked to use it in a phonological awareness exercise, they will find the task easier than if they had to use an unfamiliar word.
See footnote: Research shows that, as in Jazzles ELA, musical and phonemic processing interact.

If every child had access to Jazzles ELA, I can tell you this.
Jazzles is absolutely ‘guaranteed’ to build your students knowledge not only of most of the words they need to know, but also hundreds of words that add sparkle to their texts!

As Headstart teacher Judy Toscano of San Antonio confirms (2013):

“As for how former students are doing, the Pre-k 4 teachers and the kindergarten teachers can see a huge difference between my students that have used Jazzles and other students that have not. They demonstrate a more advanced vocabulary and have letter names and letter sounds more developed. My students also show better scores on the assessments we administer then the other pre-3 classes on my campus.

Here’s the Jazzles Quick Guide to Oral Language Development!
Jazzles fosters vocabulary using group/choral singing supported by song-themed discussion topics, and visual and performing arts experiences.
1. The Jazzles animated song stories achieve high levels of intellectual and emotional engagement.
2. The content of each song story is both highly relevant but more importantly ‘relatable’ – perhaps best defined by Tracy Johnson, one of America’s top media audience programmers, as ” .. turning content into connective communication that resonates with the audience.”
3. The story content ignites curiosity that children can immediately explore using the Google and Bing (Maps and Video) toolbar embedded into our user interface.
4. The Jazzles Advanced ELA Lesson Plans provide teachers with discussion topics that achieve very high levels of student interest and interaction.
5. Widespread participation is achieved because, having related to the song animations, children are familiar with the ‘plot’. This creates the interest and self-confidence to share their knowledge and real-life experiences. This is especially important for ESL students.

The Jazzles Vocabulary Approach IS the NAEP Vocabulary Approach

“The results come from the biennial National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly called The Nation’s Report Card.
The NAEP vocabulary test demanded more high-order, abstract thinking from students, inviting them to use the context of a passage to figure out words’ meanings instead of simply asking them to define words in isolation.” Says USA Today.

That’s exactly what Jazzles does!
You would be amazed at all the creativity generated when children become TV reporters, weather anchors, ‘witnesses’ etc.!

I get children to work in pairs or small groups, planning an interview, creating a storyboard, playing a role, developing a story or dramatic performance related to the animated song story!

From the very first time they sing along to the Jazzles animated stories (JazzleOke 1), you can see just how fast and naturally students develop not only their oral vocabulary but also their communication and cooperative skills!
As a teacher, I just love their confident report-backs and group interactions!

Try It! Why Not?
Are you struggling because of vocabulary deficits, particularly with the disadvantaged?
Why not just test Jazzles in your classroom?
Just click the link to download and install the Jazzles ELA demo unit – ‘Blue Bus Blues’ (38Mb – no information required – includes uninstall.exe) – and then experience the Jazzles’ power to develop vocabulary and listening skills in real-time!

Start by referencing page 2 of the Advanced ELA Lesson Plans.
Here, you can see the structured Inferential, Literal and Evaluative Question prompts suggested. Now just add/tailor your own!

As Core Knowledge founder E.D. Hirsch Jr. says “Students don’t learn new words by studying vocabulary lists. They do so by guessing new meanings within the overall gist of what they are hearing or reading.”

Note:
Research shows that musical and phonemic processing interact – benefiting attention span, comprehension and memory. Source: ‘The Effect of Harmonic Context on Phoneme Monitoring in Vocal Music’’ National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine USA Also The Relationship of Lyrics and Tunes in the Processing of Unfamiliar Songs: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Adaptation Study’ The Society for Neuroscience

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