SEL shines on Sesame Street

A new partnership between Sesame Workshop and Discovery Education leverages social and emotional development and learning for a whole-child approach that will target early learners in grades PreK-2.

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit media and educational organization behind Sesame Street, and Discovery Education‘s K-12 digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. The new Sesame Workshop-branded early learner channel will include high-quality video content; lesson plans and educator resources; interactive games and activities for kids; and family partnership supports–all focused on a whole-child approach.

Incorporating social and emotional competencies into early learning is critical, and it’s especially important for children who are entering preschool for the first time–they are “pandemic babies” who likely missed group early learning opportunities due to social distancing and pandemic policies.…Read More

It’s time to focus on learning experience design

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that understanding the whole student matters. Since March of 2020, billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of person hours have been spent enabling remote learning access, rolling out strategic student supports—particularly around mental health—and providing emergency aid for students struggling with basic needs.

All the while, the committed educators focused on meeting this moment embraced a clear truth: Maslow trumps Bloom on learning journeys. Whether its early learning, K-12, higher education, or job training, we have been forcefully reminded by COVID to focus on the whole student experience if we want our learners to begin, continue, and succeed on their pathways to and through education.

Even pre-pandemic, a holistic student supports approach was becoming an essential feature of student success initiatives, particularly as the focus on student completion took hold over the last decade. However, much of this work has been anchored in strategic outreach and advising reform. With what we’ve learned and lived through over the last two years in rethinking instruction and student support with learner experiences at the center, we are now challenged to embrace this perspective in a more fulsome and integrative way in the learning process itself. Put simply: now is the time for learning experience designers.…Read More

McGraw Hill Acquires Kidaptive, an Adaptive and Personalized Learning Company

McGraw Hill today announced that it has acquired Kidaptive, Inc., an adaptive learning platform company with industry-leading expertise in learning science, early learning, and data analytics worldwide.

Kidaptive’s world-class team of learning scientists, psychometricians, data scientists and engineers will join a new Center for Innovation within McGraw Hill’s School group, led by Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Shawn K. Smith, who joined the company in November 2020. The team is focused on developing smarter and lighter student-centered solutions that will power even more personalized learning experiences.

“We see tremendous potential in this combination of McGraw Hill’s content development expertise, vast curriculum inventory and extensive student interaction data with Kidaptive’s ability to pinpoint each student’s position on a personal learning journey,” said Sean Ryan, President of McGraw Hill’s School group. “This is about delivering precision at scale to the benefit of students, teachers and families.”…Read More

Using a growth mindset as the foundation for SEL

Research continues to show the benefits of social-emotional learning (SEL), especially with elementary-age students. But as SEL gains ground, educators need to think about best practices for adding it to their classroom. One of those approaches includes using a growth mindset.

In “SEL and Academic Learning Catalyst: Growth Mindset,” presenters Dr. Desiree Margo, principal at Redmond Early Learning Center, and Dr. Kendra Coates, Growing Early Mindsets (GEM) author and professional learning specialist at Mindset Works, explain why a growth mindset is the strongest foundation for both SEL and academic learning. They caution, however, that both principles need to be integrated into the regular classroom and throughout school activities to achieve the best results.

Related: 10 signs you’re doing SEL right…Read More

The best PD webinars of 2016—did you watch?

edWeb.net just completed an analysis of their 2016 webinar viewership stats for 2016.  The professional learning community hosted 260 PD webinars in 2016 that were viewed by 165,000 educators – an average of 635 educators per webinar.  Thirty eight webinars (15 percent) were on early learning topics and had 45,000 (27 percent) of the viewers.  Early learning webinars had an average of 1,160 viewers, almost twice the average of all webinars.

Fourteen of the top 25 webinars of the year were on early learning topics, presented by some of the most expert and engaging early childhood educators. All webinars have been archived, and can be viewed by clicking the links:

  • From Chaos to Calm: Building a School Family where even the Most Difficult Children become Helpful and Caring presented by Becky A. Bailey, Ph.D., award-winning author and Founder of Loving Guidance, Inc.
  • S/he Hit Me First: Learn Proactive Solutions to Teach Social Emotional Skills through Daily Conflict presented by Jill Molli, M.A., Educator, Keynote Speaker, Instructor for Conscious Discipline
  • Jean: Brain Breaks to Help Students Move and Learn presented by Dr. Jean Feldman, teacher, consultant and celebrated author of more than 10 books on the topic of early
  • Teaching Numeracy to Young Children: A Responsive and Differentiated Approach presented by Brian Mowry, M.A., Early Childhood Mathematics Consultant and Specialist
  • Jump into Literacy, Math, & Science: Active Learning for Preschool Children presented by Rae Pica, Author, Keynote Speaker & Education Consultant
  • Much More Than the ABC Song! Music That Naturally Supports Children’s Language and Literacy Skills presented by Devi Borton, M.A., Early Childhood Music Specialist, Outreach Mentor, and Teacher Trainer at Music
  • Transition Activities that Build Young Brains, Manage Behavior presented by Ellen Booth Church, Adjunct Professor, Nova Southeastern University

(Next page: 7 more of the top early learning PD webinars of 2016)

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Benchmark Education announces new early learning literacy intervention program

Literacy publisher Benchmark Education Company (BEC) announced a new literacy intervention program for grades K–2 in print format with online support. Spring Forward helps students build essential literacy skills through explicit strategy-based instruction.

The program provides teachers with everything they need to help struggling young readers accelerate progress in developing foundational skills, oral language, metacognition, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and writing. The program includes 228 new leveled books, with an equal number of fiction and non-fiction titles. BEC released its best-selling parallel intervention program in Spanish, Soluciones, last year.

Each Spring Forward grade-level purchase option consists of six copies each of 60 or more science and social studies leveled books organized into two-book sets. Each two-book set features a double-sided colorful poster companion and a Teacher’s Guide that provides week-by-week instruction. The two-book sets and posters provide opportunities to read across texts at each student’s instructional reading level to compare and contrast ideas, themes, story elements, and author’s craft elements.…Read More

Fab labs to launch in early childhood programs

Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM will develop early childhood fab labs in Head Start programs

Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES), a developer of digital fabrication laboratories (fab labs) and STEM curriculum and school design, has been named a partner in the Federal government’s new Early Education STEM initiative.

TIES is among a group of leaders who participated in April’s Early Learning Symposium hosted by The White House, in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services and Invest in US. The event highlighted the importance of promoting active STEM learning for our youngest children and to celebrate a broad range of public- and private-sector leaders committed to promoting STEM learning across the country.

In March 2016, The Bay Area Discovery Museum, in partnership with TIES and FableVision, launched the world’s first Fab Lab for young learners (ages 3 to 10) to help them navigate the design process from concept to production, and turn their ideas into reality.…Read More

Utah’s early literacy program works–here’s why

Latest evaluation of statewide early literacy program shows high correlation with kindergarten readiness compared to control group

A statewide kindergarten readiness initiative in Utah is helping children develop early literacy skills before they enter kindergarten, and is doing so at a higher rate than among children who are not in the program.

The state’s UPSTART program, developed by the nonprofit Waterford Institute, uses an early literacy curriculum delivered digitally in the home.

A report analyzing the program’s fifth year suggests that technology has considerable merit for delivering curriculum, teaching critical early reading skills that are known predictors of later school performance, and closing early learning gaps that disproportionately affect disadvantaged children.…Read More

Early learning, assisted by technology

VINCI’s model combines hands-on, experiential learning with software that identifies early learning gaps

vinci-learning
While students are working on activities, the software analyzes their progress—helping teachers know if they’ve grasped the material.

Susan Kelly is excited about the possibilities when her school welcomes its first class of students this fall.

Kelly is the vice principal of VINCI School in Ottawa, Canada, one of a series of new early learning schools that model the approach of VINCI Education: a hands-on blend of low-tech and high-tech instruction, guided by a skilled classroom teacher.…Read More

6 science strategies for early learners

Young learners should have plentiful access to science opportunities

science-learnersScience, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills are regularly emphasized as critical to student success, but less attention is paid to STEM skills for early learners.

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), in a statement and recommendations concerning children from ages 3 through preschool, notes that research indicates young children are able to construct conceptual learning and use reasoning and inquiry at even young ages.

In fact, many adults, including educators, underestimate children’s ability to learn core science ideas an dpractices in early years, and thus they tend to not give them opportunities to learn science skills and build science understanding.…Read More