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You can’t teach them unless you reach them – no matter how great a teacher is!

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I LOVE TEACHERS!
How many of us remember with fondness those teachers who made a difference in our lives?
Teachers today have to love what they do!
The teachers I know love to inspire and guide.
They love to redirect curiosity and creativity in divergent self initiated learning pathways
The teachers I know love children and are dedicated to bringing out the best in them.

So it pains me to see creative teaching constrained by pressure to produce results in literacy and maths above all else!!!

Vilifying teachers for not producing high scores in just these areas is cruel and unconscionable!

Yes, I agree literacy is king, but what about the social and communicative skills so important to securing and maintaining jobs?
These skills need to be fostered as well.

How many parents ask you: “How does Johnny/Mary get on with others”?

Parents know the importance of being happy at school, maintaining friendships and emotional well-being for focused learning.

The evidence of the repercussions of unhappy, unresolved relationships in the home or workplace in sadly evident on the news!

Technology has its indisputable place in education, but so do the Arts.
Let’s get back to a sensible integrated program with a balance of technology and social interaction.

Visual and Performing Arts facilitate the development of cognitive (communication and vocabulary development to develop reading and writing fluency), and the non-cognitive skills of cooperation, taking turns, negotiation, confidence, etc, as well as opportunities to identify multiple intelligences.

At risk students cite the ARTS as a deterrent of truancy.
You can’t teach them unless you reach them – no matter how great a teacher is!
Arts is a powerful tool – so, please, can we return to balance?

For more information (supported by great statistics) on the importance of the Arts in narrowing the achievement gap though greater student engagement click here!

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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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A Turning Point!

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Here’s another ‘changing children’s lives’ feedback received on FaceBook:
“Really looking forward to this years Jazzles as my Junior Team kids in my school loved it. It was the turning point for some children with their reading.”
Keep them coming!

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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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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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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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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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