5 tips to help students master foundational skills

English language arts (ELA) standards identify a set of foundational skills students must master in their progression to becoming skilled readers. These skills include alphabet recognition, concepts of print, phonological awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, and fluency.

To effectively teach foundational skills within the classroom, educators need access to engaging materials that offer the right level of challenge for students and provide ease of usability. Unfortunately, only 7 percent of K-5 teachers use one or more high-quality ELA material for their classroom instruction due to common roadblocks like long adoption cycles and costs associated with the materials. But that statistic may soon change.

The pandemic left a lasting, negative impact on the American education system. K-5 student test scores plummeted in math and reading nationwide this year, erasing two decades of progress. Now, many teachers, schools, and districts want to reassess their foundational skills instruction.…Read More

Don’t wait: The importance of early dyslexia intervention

A learning disorder that can impact a child’s ability to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols—but that doesn’t affect general intelligence—dyslexia often goes unnoticed until a student displays significant struggles with reading and/or writing. The most common of all neuro-cognitive disorders, dyslexia impacts about 20 percent of the US population and represents 80-90 percent percent of all individuals who have learning disabilities.

In some cases, a dyslexia diagnosis doesn’t happen until a student is in second grade, with some cases going unnoticed until the learner is already in high school. With research showing that interventions are the most effective when they are done in kindergarten and first grade, the earlier the intervention the better.

To avoid an even bigger learning gap, we need to take a closer look at early identification, the early warning signs to look for, and what steps to take if you suspect dyslexia. …Read More

With Rising Concerns About Dyslexia in Young Learners, Riverside Insights Introduces First-of-its Kind Playbook to Streamline Evaluations

ITASCA, Ill. – Riverside Insights®, a leading developer of research-based assessments and analytics, today debuted a new Assessment Playbook focused on streamlining the evaluation of dyslexia, the most common learning disability, affecting 20% of the population. The new playbook makes assessments more effective and efficient by providing a recommended process for selective testing and a specific test list for querying the most salient features of dyslexia.

“The pandemic disrupted teaching and learning, and has led to a dramatic increase in the number of students who are referred for dyslexia evaluations by their teachers and/or parents. Consequently, evaluators must determine if a student’s reading difficulties are primarily a reflection of this disruption or an indication of a true reading disability,” said dyslexia expert Dr. Nancy Mather, a professor in the  College of Education, Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies at the University of Arizona. “To address this issue and the increase in assessment referrals, evaluators need effective and efficient assessment tools to ensure that all students are accurately identified and get the help they need. In this way, children can be provided with systematic interventions prior to experiencing chronic reading difficulties.”

In the 2021-2022 school year, more than 20 states including California, Florida, Texas and Connecticut updated their dyslexia legislation, passing new codes and statutes to support more effective identification and intervention practices to address the increasing dyslexia referrals.…Read More

Poptential™ Free Economics Curriculum Adds Content to Explain Today’s Inflation, Recession Woes

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — With inflation reaching a 40-year high and talk of a looming recession, high school students are coming of age during one of the most challenging economies in recent history. To help them make sense of how we got here, Poptential™ has expanded and updated its Common Sense Economics digital curriculum to include recent economic events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues, and the current inflation crisis. Click to tweet.

“The last couple of years, and this year in particular, have seen huge shifts in U.S. and world economies that will have implications for years to come,” said Julie Smitherman, director of content management at Poptential. “The beauty of a digital curriculum is that it can be updated at any time, so we have been adding content to help explain these shifts.”

Poptential Common Sense Economics is a 15-week curriculum that is standards-based and developed by teachers. Topics are illustrated with pop culture media taken from sitcoms, movies, animations, cartoons, late-night shows, and other sources, to help students better understand and retain a specific concept.…Read More

Paraprofessionals: The unsung heroes of the classroom

Staffing shortages continue to impact schools across the U.S., and vacancies are an increasingly common occurrence. Parents’ minds often jump first to teacher shortages, with significant numbers of teachers leaving schools in 2022 in search of less stressful work. But another essential role in schools is facing an equally urgent staffing crisis: paraprofessionals.

Paraprofessionals, also referred to as classroom aides or a primary support person (PSP), are the glue in the school day, supporting teachers in monitoring classroom activities and ensuring that all students are where they need to be. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are greater than a million aides working in K-12 schools nationwide, with a meaningful subset focused on supporting special education delivery.

Paraprofessionals are particularly essential in special education. They’re an integral part of a team, working closely with clinicians—speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, school psychologists—and students, both one-on-one and in small groups. They play a critical role in assisting the evaluation process on the student side, they document student behavior, and support assistive devices. In some circumstances, they may act as an extension of the hands of the clinician, helping to guide the student in various tasks.…Read More

5 tech tools I use in my elementary music classroom

Technology has become more prevalent in schools in recent years, with a big uptick due to the pandemic. Teaching online during the pandemic has shown us that high-quality tech tools are out there–but how do we continue to use these resources in our classrooms today?

The creation and use of digital music has also become more common today. How are we exposing our students to creating music through technology? I have found some online music resources that have transformed my teaching as an elementary general music teacher and have provided engaging content for my students.

1. Chrome Music Lab…Read More

K-12 Staffing Issues Require Creative Community Solutions

Austin, TX – Staffing issues have been common for many public schools across the country for years. Now, more than ever, communities are positioned to help schools solve this problem with a variety of technology, funding, and community solutions. 

Post-COVID, it’s tempting to believe that the pandemic caused the staffing shortages K-12 schools are currently facing. However, the shortages began after the Great Recession in 2008 when reducing public school funding by $1,000 per student was common in almost every state in the country. Despite state revenues being back to pre-recession levels by 2014, many states still have not increased school funding to pre-recession levels. Add in normal inflation and the unprecedented toll that the pandemic placed on everyone, and public schools are now facing some of the biggest staffing issues.

At WorkMonger, we believe that communities are better positioned than ever before to help solve the staffing issues public schools face. By using technology advancements, community support, staff tenacity, and state funding, communities can help public schools heal and thrive. …Read More

How our school is reimagining math education

At Scott Elementary School, our approach to education is defined as GAIN (Growth in Academics through Innovation and Neuroeducation), which includes multiple initiatives to ensure each student reaches their maximum potential. Our focus is to inspire a love for learning and prepare students to be successful throughout every stage of their lives.

Indiana is one of that states that has not adopted Common Core State Standards. Similar to the Common Core standards in other states, we focus on developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that students need to be successful. Our view is that the real power to learn rests with the learner. My role is to seek out ways to engage this power within each child to optimize their opportunities in life.

My corporation strives to educate the whole child by integrating academics with social and emotional learning. We inspire students’ desire to learn by making them feel important, leading by example, praising their successes, and developing their confidence.…Read More

How to create a multi-layered approach to ADHD treatment

According to the CDC, 9.4 percent of children have ADHD. Teachers are often familiar with the associated behaviors of ADHD. Each child’s presentation of ADHD is unique. Some of the most common symptoms of ADHD include difficulty sustaining attention, completing assigned tasks at school (often including homework), physical restlessness, strain in social relationships and appearing off task due to daydreaming.

With nearly one in 10 kids struggling with some form of ADHD, it can put a strain on teachers in the classroom. For teachers and school systems, often the best way to manage ADHD in the classroom is to form a partnership with parents to develop a consistent strategy that can help children manage their ADHD behaviors. Consistency of care between a child’s home life and their school activities can provide the best support and least amount of disruption for the child as they transition between school and home. 

It is important to remember that the child’s brain is rapidly developing. Often they are not cognitively or emotionally developed enough to change their own behaviors. They need care and support from their parents and school systems. In many cases, teachers are aware of effective strategies for supporting children with ADHD, while parents are in new, uncharted territory as they begin to learn about the best ways to support their child.…Read More

New ParentSquare Guide Provides Best Practices to Help K-12 Educators Engage With the Hardest-to-Reach Families

Santa Barbara, CA — Feb. 18, 2021 — The role of effective communication has never been more critical, but districts and schools are facing a gamut of challenges in engaging all parents and guardians — especially the hardest-to-reach families. To help educators bridge the communications gap between school and home, ParentSquare, the award-winning unified school-home communications platform for K-12, has created a free best practice guide.

Titled “ Reaching the Last 10%: Engaging the Hardest-to Reach Families,” the 13-page guide provides practical recommendations to address five common barriers to effective communication. Additionally, readers can also access a companion infographic, “5 Barriers to Engagement Through Communications,” which provides supporting data points behind the five situations that can have a significant impact on family engagement.

“Our collective years of experience with schools and districts across the country helped us identify the challenges that we discuss throughout the guide,” said Anupama Vaid, Founder & President of ParentSquare. “It’s through that experience that we were able to observe and devise strategies to help educators overcome some of those obstacles.”…Read More