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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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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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3: ‘Whole-Part-Whole’ Learning – Strategies Making the Jazzles Difference

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This is possibly the most important blog about Jazzles ELA. If you understand this, you ‘get’ Jazzles ELA!

The Jazzles learning system uses a ‘whole-part-whole’ learning approach.
We know from experience that if we first see the complete image for a jigsaw, we have a framework and valuable information upon which we can fit the pieces together.

Mixed Ability Classes and the Applicability of Whole-Part-Whole/Global Processing
This is all about embedding learning styles within a pedagogy fully integrated with resource to meet the needs of today’s diverse student intake.

The Jazzles ELA program is rich in kinesthetic and tactual-kinesthetic experiences appropriate for ‘global thinkers’ preferring ‘whole-part-whole’ processing.
This benefits three core student groups in mixed ability classes:
1. Research substantiates that most Special Education children are global processors, with tactual and kinesthetic-perceptual strengths (Kyriacou & Dunn, 1994).
2. This is also true for Hispanic Americans/Asian Americans/ and EFL/ESL including most Asian students (Dunn & Griggs, 1995). Also the majority of children today are visual/kinesthetic learners. (See also #3)
3. Critically importantly for African-Americans, particularly boys. Acknowledged African-American Educational expert, Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu estimates that as many as two-thirds of students and an even larger percentage of African American males are visual-picture, oral/auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic learners (right-brain). However, most of the learning activities are oriented toward visual-print learners (left-brain). According to Dr. Kunjufu, this conflict between pedagogy and Black male learning styles has created a disastrous learning environment for right-brain students, and it must be resolved if Black boys are to improve their classroom performance. (Source: www.africanamericanimages.com)

Meeting the engagement demands of this diversity of children to activate learning is what is so spectacular about Jazzles ELA. No other program does it.

It is true that the process of reading involves the application of more than 1 skill simultaneously. In the past, learning to read involved teaching beginning reading skills often in isolation, and then incorporating them.

Jazzles’ new, song-powered approach is to first emotionally engage children with ‘whole’ text in the engaging form of JazzleOke 1. From then on, every fun, visual, kinaesthetic and aural interaction with this unique resource is the framework for an intuitive, ‘learn to read’ tutorial’!

This is why I encourage everyone to download Jazzles ‘Blue Bus Blues’ Unit to test and explore the themed lesson plans, ‘arts’ activities and interactive experiences. This way you can fully appreciate why both students and teachers love this ‘whole-part-whole’ processing program.

Here’s how!
With every JazzleOke 1 experience, children are simultaneously learning the 6 beginning reading skills while practicing oral vocabulary.

Check how children will process these 6 beginning reading skills as they watch JazzleOke1 ‘Blue Bus Blues’.
• Letter/sound and upper/lowercase correspondence, (Alphabetic Principle)
• Initial sound fluency (Phonemic Awareness)
• Understanding words in context/ visual literacy (Comprehension)
• Internalized English language knowledge (Vocabulary)
• Pronunciation, intonation and phrasing(Fluency)
• L-R tracking , one to one correspondence, use of punctuation (Concepts about Print)

From the mental scaffolding of an internalized language (lyric) framework, students have learning purpose to ‘take out’ sight and spelling words, unusual phonemes, grammatical information and punctuation. Etc. Learned words and language information can then be applied purposefully in communication, reading, and writing.

When JazzleOke I is transformed into the ‘whole’ text as in JazzleBook 2 or in JazzleOke 3, it’s a simple step to experience initial reading success!

This is why I am excited – especially when receive feedback about children effortlessly developing vocabulary and beginning reading confidence that can mean the crucial difference between future failure or success.

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Helping the President’s Committee on the Arts And the Humanities!

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Recently, I came across two excellent reports focused on using the Arts to power engaged learning.

The most recent is UNESCO’s ‘Releasing the Power of the Arts – Exploring Arts Education in the Asia-Pacific’, a very detailed case as to why the Arts is moving to the center of education in countries recognized for having some of the best education in the world, like South Korea (ranked #2) Singapore (ranked #3) and Hong Kong (ranked #5).

The second is from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities focusing on using the Arts to help turn around low-performing schools. Developed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Turnaround Arts initiative is a public-private partnership designed to narrow the achievement gap and increase student engagement through the arts.

On the PCAH website is reference to its “landmark study ’Re-investing in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools’ which provides an in-depth study of arts education and its effect on student success.”

In the report’s recommendations, is coverage of three widely used approaches:

  1. Standards-based approach using certified arts specialists.  
  2. Arts integration relying more on classroom teachers.
  3. Teaching artists programs, typically involving working artists.

Each has its merits but generally the report recognizes the constraints of budgets as well as the pressure of ‘teaching for the test’ that has seen dramatic falls in the role of arts.

In an interesting footnote on Page 31 of the report, it says “Many state arts agencies have experienced dramatic budget reductions. The Florida state agency, for example, has less than $1 million for all state arts activities, including arts education, down from a high of $39 million. The Michigan state arts agency had a $29 million budget for grants in 2002 and now has $2 million for the entire state. (In Ohio)… over 80% of classroom teachers report receiving no professional development in the arts.  Arts-related field trips have declined and over one-third of schools have not had an arts related assembly in three years.”

None of this is really new.
That’s why, over 10 years ago, I started looking at ways to integrate the arts in ways that power a relationship with other classroom skills – and particularly literacy.

So it came as no surprise to read in the report that: “The documented benefits of arts integration have also been accumulating over the past decade, although only recently have researchers begun to understand why arts integration may hold unique potential as an educational reform model.
That is really worth reading a second time!

Additionally, I liked the following recommendation on page 50 of the report:

Recommendation 2. Develop the field of arts integration.
Many individuals cited the promise of the arts integration approach; we learned about model arts integration programs and efforts to train arts specialists and classroom teachers in arts integration methods. As arts integration has not received as much concerted attention as standards-based approaches, the field needs development and support to realize its full promise. We agree that the arts will have a more secure place in the curriculum when teachers experience firsthand the deepening of learning in their subjects that comes from incorporating arts teaching strategies, and working in collaboration with arts specialists and teaching artists.

No one agency or professional association “owns” arts integration, so the potential for development, including evaluation and codification of quality practices, is wide open. Further development of the field of arts integration will depend on initiatives undertaken by institutions of higher education (for both pre-service and in-service education), professional development providers (including state arts and education agencies, nonprofit arts organizations), and state agencies and private funders providing targeted support.”

End Thought
For Kindergarten, arts integration has actually received concerted attention from me in a standards-based approach. So naturally, I have offered Jazzles ELA as a best practice case study to PCAH. We have two theses to assist them

The lack of any publisher interest in Arts Integration, is why Jazzles ELA is the only scalable program of its type in the world.

Effectively, it comes as an ‘in-the-box’ package that can be rolled out today and made available to every school in the USA in time for August 2013.
Why and How?
Because all Jazzles ELA needs is an internet connection and a few web-hosted seminars to familiarize teachers with the methodology.
(Note: Music and drama teachers just get it straight away! It’s so intuitive!)

If you are looking for an Arts in Education/Integrated Arts Program for:

  • Kindergarten (and/or PreK) 
  • Virtual School
  • After Hours
  • Summer Camp
  • Mixed Ability/Diverse Classes

just contact me, Lesley Beth and I’ll deliver you a ‘PCAH-style’ package for you. It’s the only such program in the world!

Lesley Beth

 

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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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Test my Jazzles ELA in PreK – G1; it’ll beat any other curriculum program!

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50 Benefits Jazzles ELA Will Deliver You!

I’m just a teacher but I’m very proud to have achieved what the BIG publishers haven’t.
I’ve created, produced and funded a creatively complete, extensive multimedia ELA program that grabs kids’ attentions and propels them into a world of creative literacy.
This is all because of the multitude of advanced, mostly unique, learning strategies I’ve incorporated into the design of the program.
Scroll this page and read 4 – another 26 at least to come!

So here’s the challenge to the big publishers. Use some of the monies you earn from the testing market (anywhere from $400 million to $700 million) to create pedagogies for our 21st Century kids that will actually break through the last 50 years of failure to achieve mass levels of reading proficiency.
That is what all the research and teacher usage shows Jazzles can do.
But I need more than the one state that has signed on to use the Jazzles IP.

Getting You Started!
I’ve given you 50 dimensions in this video! Yes 50!! And it’s set to some of my jazzy music to aid the mnemonics!
DEFINITION:‘Grabs attention’ = near to 100% – think of the difference that will make everyday to your teachers and their students – particularly the disadvantaged.
It is truly game changing!
Note: 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.

Key Point
I’ll pitch Jazzles ELA against any PreK-G1/ESL curriculum program. It will win hands down! If you’re a DoE, ISD, School, Teacher (inc. ESL, SPED), just try it!
YouTube Video

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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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