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Is Jazzles ELA the Change-Making Program I Claim?

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An Open Invitation to Psychologists and Neuroscientists Interested in the Science of Music and Song in Education
As scientists, how often do you have the opportunity to really influence a major shift in how children learn, opening a pathway to mass literacy and transforming the lives of millions of disadvantaged children?

Join me!
Most research as to how music changes our minds and what that means for education, has been conducted across general or very specific areas.
For example, what is the relationship between music and memory? How music engages us? How music creates emotions? How it makes us want to move? How music changes our brain’s plasticity and does this make us smarter? Why some music is more powerful than others? How it improves auditory capabilities? Music and the motor system. The relationship between music and verbal language including the processing of linguistic syntax. And of course, the benefits of music for speech therapy, etc.

A Different Opportunity – A Whole Curriculum Program
Now, for the first time, there is the opportunity for leading psychologists and neuroscientists to research the effect of music and song across a whole critical curriculum program and determine, whether or not, Jazzles ELA and its methodology holds the power to breakthrough over 50 years of plateaued reading levels.

Targeting PreK-Kindergarten, Jazzles ELA is unique as the only fully integrated, song-powered curriculum program in the world.
So it’s the only program that can be used to research the power of music at the most important developmental period for children, in the most important curriculum subject, measurable over time in a real educational environment.

The subject of two theses, Jazzles ELA delivers outcomes matching the research findings and discussions from experts in this field including Lawrence Parsons, Jamshed Bharucha, Daniel J. Levitin and Aniruddh Patel (etc).

The Key Question To Be Answered!
‘What is going on inside children’s brains, when Jazzles is going on?’
Anecdotal evidence suggests ‘lots’ but we don’t know.

Think About the Implications!
If current research findings in the science of music and song apply to Jazzles ELA, then the program will be shown to make children smarter, help them read earlier, read faster and carry over in other cognitive areas like math.

An Aussie teacher, a Revolutionary Approach and How It Almost Didn’t Happen.
Now, the obvious reaction to ask is how is it possible, that out of the blue, an Australian kindergarten teacher could produce anything capable of delivering a change-making program when unsupported by any university or financier.

Well, that is partly answered by clicking this link.
A lot is centered on my love of music and my skills to compose, visualize and produce animated learning songs seeing how these can be thematically integrated with the Arts to pluralize learning.
For a publisher, that’s a hard combination of skills to put together.

Here’s What Jazzles ELA Does:
Broadly, most children that readily achieve reading fluency do so because their parents have a literacy ‘rich’ background. .
But what if the parents have no literacy background and can’t functionally read?
Look at the figures! Forget reading to children in bed as the savior for literacy! Nearly 1-in-2 kids in the US and 3 in 10 in UK have no books. I cannot find a figure for Australia but adult functional illiteracy and innumeracy is 47% as a national average – hardly the ideal incubator of developing reading skills.

The Jazzles ‘animated reading songs’ succeed with all kids but importantly, with children from low or no English literacy backgrounds.
The system’s essence is a series of carefully structured animated alliterative lyrics that create rich recallable vocabulary (with understanding) across a mixed-ability class.

This provides the scaffolding for discussions, role play, reading and writing scenarios. Activated oral vocabulary is viewed as multimodal texts from which children can learn sight words, grammatical information, the use of punctuation and spelling. It’s VAK-T.

Through music, song, laughter and performance, Jazzles ELA effortlessly develops all 6 beginning reading skills: Alphabetic Principle, Phonemic Awareness, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Fluency and Concepts about Print.

Very Importantly – It’s Pure Howard Gardener!
In his just released book, ‘The App Generation’, Howard Gardner says, “Pluralize your teaching. Teach important materials in several ways, not just one (e.g. through stories, works of art, diagrams, role play).”

Pluralization is a critical attribute of the Jazzles ELA program – and very important for ESL/SPED students in mixed ability classes.

Join Me and Let’s Change Children’s Lives.
Two independent theses, plus independent classroom teachers, support this program for ‘astonishing results’ far ahead of anything they are mandated to use.
Based on our extensive experience, Jazzles represents a big missing piece in the puzzle as to how music and song can influence education – at least in terms of how to achieve mass-literacy.

If you are interested, have any suggestions, just click this link to email me.

NOTE: I like to add my thanks to Elena Mannes and her acclaimed PBS documentary “The Music Instinct: Science & Song,” that has opened my eyes to recent discoveries of the power of music and its connection to the body, the brain, and the world of nature. Elena’s book ‘The Power of Music: Pioneering Discoveries in the New Science of Song’ is available from Amazon by clicking this link.

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Nothing matches Jazzles for learning styles!

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I love the feedback from our teachers. Here’s one from a teacher who works across PREK-G1 including ESL.
She covers today’s biggest educational challenge – mixed ability classes – and the importance of Jazzles with its VAK learning styles and engaging pedagogy.

“Here we are again – another semester and Jazzles too!
I use Jazzles all day and if I had my way I’d use only Jazzles but we have to use other stuff to!
Nothing else matches Jazzles for the multiple styles of learning it encompasses.
Along with recording the results on ESGI, I think it makes a HUGE difference!
This year we have younger children – lots of English as second language, speech problems, no English and low socioeconomic backgrounds.
So they are 3 and have come with very limited knowledge of colours, shapes, letters, their own names, listening, manners.
I spent most of the last day of the 2011-2012 school year in tears.
The parents were so lovely in all the words they said.
One dad cried too! They were so appreciative of how far their children had come and the fun they had with Jazzles and they all loved the regular Friday afternoon karoake (JazzleOke Friday) shows.
I’ve been teaching for a while now & I recommend Jazzles to everyone I meet!
Thought you’d like to know.”

Note: Jazzles is great for parent nights! Lots of parents end up in tears!

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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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1: Song-Powered ELA – Strategies Making the Jazzles Difference!

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Song-powered, multimedia Jazzles ELA is a unique 21st Century, Visual-Auditory-Kinesthetic pedagogy with a new ‘learn to read’ approach featuring humorous, animated reading songs.
Why song- powered?
At the core of each of the Jazzles 26 song themed units, is JazzleOke 1 – an animated, ‘reading song’ with matching captions.

JazzleOke 1 is a highly effective mini ‘learn to read’ tutorial.
Using choral singing tracking specially formatted ‘Matching Captions’ left to right, (no musical skills needed), the prolifically alliterative song lyrics become ‘familiarized’ text from which reading (with understanding), writing and communication skills are intuitively learned, taught and consolidated.

It’s ‘big picture’ learning that children prefer.
It makes sense to learn sight/high frequency words, letter/sounds, grammatical features, phonemic awareness and concepts about print etc. from an internalized ‘song story’ text that is understood.
Here’s how a teacher explains it:
“I use Jazzles with first grade and Kindergarten and the kids LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!
When a child is struggling in reading, we often think about the sounds the letters make and the songs help us to remember those sounds. Their parents comment on the songs during conferences and some even know the words learned from their children. (School-to-home support.) Jazzles interactive is a blessing!”

The key is initial, thorough internalization of the song to maximize benefits.
There are many and varied, fun ways to practice and never ever using rote! Strategies are fully explained in each of the 26 ‘Advanced ELA Lesson Plans’.
Each Jazzles ELA Unit is packed with integrated, multimedia, multisensory resources and strategies that automatically engage students (even those hard to focus) at exceptional levels.
And thank you to all those teachers sending me feedback on their experiences using Jazzles!

TOMORROW’S Highlight.
Thinking of Jazzles as the ‘American Idol’ for literacy! The Jazzles strategy that lifts every child’s attention, engagement, active learning and joy.

Note:
Download the free Jazzles ‘Blue Bus Blues’ unit, check out the lesson plans and try it with your students.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jazzles-ELA/109885175848909?ref=ts&fref=ts

And please help me. Send the link to your colleagues, principal, curriculum director and your friends!

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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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Note to Curriculum Directors:

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Over the last few years, I’ve learned from experience that educators perceived as open minded innovators are not necessarily so.
More often than not, they have their own agendas – and Jazzles ELA is not on the list.
Why?
1. Jazzles is an inconvenient truth! You can have a highly creative, highly engaging, massively scalable ELA pedagogy that works within the current PreK-G1 infrastructure. You do not need to reinvent teachers; you just need to do what I have done. Go to the workbench, create and fund the development of the resources that are ‘right’ for today’s classrooms of mixed ability children.
2. Jazzles is as complete a program as you can find. There are no books! It’s all digitally delivered. So major publishers aren’t interested in licensing because we won’t allow them to break Jazzles up into multiple program packages and text books that supersize the price.
3. Jazzles is largely intuitive. It requires very little training and its lesson plans, activity pages and interactive resources are delivered online cost efficiently!
4. It’s also a ‘disruptive innovation’. On one side of the equation, schools will experience fewer children in pullouts for reading/ ESL support. So there will be less need for intervention programs, etc. On the other hand, schools will be able to harness the ability of specialist teachers to use their skills of music, dance and drama to power literacy, confidence and social skills.

Economically, Jazzles ELA is easy to scale across a school, an ISD, a State and from school-to-home. Providing there’s electricity, broadband/wireless, a computer, IWB or even a TV, you can deliver Jazzles ELA. Weather, epidemics and school holidays no longer matter, so children can have access to continued learning all the time.

And, in a world where so many parents are hurting (1 in 4 parents don’t know where the next meal is coming from), Jazzles not only delivers learning, but also joy and hope.

An Anecdote
Two of the best known educational creativity experts are Lord David Puttnam and Sir Ken Robinson. Both challenge the way we’re educating our children. In November 2010, my husband, Kevin Condon, tried to meet with Lord Puttnam to discuss obtaining his support for Jazzles as a new creative way to engage 21st Century children.
While the schedules didn’t match, Lady Puttnam asked an interesting question.
“Why Kevin do you think you can succeed when David and Sir Ken can’t?”
The answer was simple. “Because we have the resources!”
You can help us make that answer become true by trying Jazzles out. Even in the last few weeks of this school year, you will be able to measure significant gains in cognitive and non-cognitive skills.

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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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