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

9 TED-Ed Lessons about different holiday origins

Most schools are gearing up for December break, and students’ attention spans are likely to grow shorter each day. But crafting a video-based lesson that explores different holidays is a surefire way to boost student engagement.

These TED-Ed Lessons cover Labor Day origins, they examine why we celebrate Groundhog Day, they delve into St. Patrick’s Day, and more.

The TED-Ed platform is especially cool because educators can build lessons around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk, or YouTube video.…Read More

Using data insight platforms to improve SEL strategies

Although structured social-emotional learning (SEL) has been around since the mid-90s, schools’ focus on SEL has skyrocketed following the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on education. As remote learning exacerbated feelings of isolation and uncertainty, and behavioral and mental health issues emerged, many educators shifted away from attainment goals to helping students cope and connect in an environment that suddenly lacked regular social interactions, academic expectations and daily structure. SEL then became a foundational piece of the return to in-person learning and, by many accounts, remains an integral part of student needs a year into post-shut down recovery.

According to a report from Tyton Partners and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), district spending on SEL programming between the 2019–20 and 2020–21 academic years grew from $530 million to $765 million. SEL also received a $160 million funding boost in the FY2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act earlier this year. Educators are investing in SEL on an individual level, too. Based on data from DonorsChoose, reports indicate that donation requests for supplies that help students develop SEL skills and improve mental health have almost doubled since 2020.

While SEL and mental health initiatives are different, when delivered as part of a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), SEL can play a significant role in promoting responsive relationships, emotionally safe environments and skills development that improve or mitigate mental health issues. In fact, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states that SEL screening instruments can be used to both help standardize the identification of anxiety concerns and help facilitate early intervention.…Read More

5 science lessons that foster students’ social-emotional growth

It’s been said, “If a child can do advanced math, speak three languages, or receive top grades, but can’t manage their emotions, practice conflict resolution, or handle stress, none of that other stuff is really going to matter.

As an educator, I’ve witnessed the truth of this statement firsthand. Whether they’re pursuing a future career or simply playing on a school sports team, it’s imperative that students know how to work together with the people around them. But lessons on social-emotional learning aren’t typically found in a classroom syllabus. So, how do we as educators actively foster these qualities in our students?   

SEL skills can be implemented into any content area; it just takes a little intentionality and planning. By including aspects of SEL in hands-on, inquiry-based activities, we can help students develop these skills organically. Here are just a few science lessons where we intentionally taught social-emotional skills:          …Read More

Learning Without Tears Showcases Assessments to Guide Instruction for Get Set for School®

Washington, DC Showcasing as part of its new literacy solution at the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) annual conference,   Learning Without Tears’ acclaimed Early Childhood curriculum, Get Set for School® (GSS), now includes Assessments to Guide Instruction (AGI), an addition to the complete program that provides greater value and more complete foundational learning. This new assessment tool allows educators to easily assess, track, and remediate student performance over the course of the school year.  With AGI, teachers can easily provide updates and suggestions to families, building strong school-to-home connections, an important element of young learners’ success. 

“Learning Without Tears has built a powerful literacy solution, based on the success we have had in early childhood education for more than 40 years,” said Terry Nealon, CEO of Learning Without Tears. “Get Set for School is a central component of that literacy expertise and is already being used by thousands of schools across the country for kindergarten-readiness. Expanding GSS to include Assessments to Guide Instruction increases the impact LWT’s literacy solution can have on very young learners. With a clear, individual assessment of what their students need at this early point in their education, teachers can create a lifelong learner and lover of reading, by understanding and then meeting students where they are.” 

The award-winning Get Set for School complete curriculum is divided into six learning areas that seamlessly create a better academic outcome for pre-K students. Students are taught developmentally, learning the easiest skills first, then building on that knowledge as learning progresses. Multi-sensory activities provide hands-on learning and play-based opportunities for students to learn.   …Read More

3 ways schools play a vital role in community safety

Schools do so much for a community. They provide a safe place for children to learn and grow each day, filled with educators who truly care. However, as a parent or educator, it’s important to understand that many schools aren’t being used to their full potential.

When utilized properly, local schools can uplift safety in your community, providing a place outside of traditional school hours for children and families to feel secure and supported.

The task of neighborhood safety shouldn’t fall solely on teachers and administrators. However, these individuals who have regular contact with local youth can spearhead the initiatives that promote safety in the community.…Read More

3 ways educators can embrace and enable inclusive programming

While the effects of COVID-19 may have diminished for many thanks to widespread vaccine- and infection-induced immunity, the pandemic continues to have a significant systemwide impact and exacerbate social gaps. Students still experience elevated levels of pandemic-prompted emotional trauma, anxiety, isolation, and psychological distress due to schedule interruptions, remote learning, the deaths of family and friends, inequitable access to health care, and job insecurity.

Throughout history, the underprivileged, oppressed, and marginalized communities are often the most severely impacted, as our societal infrastructures and systems have shown. Those who are marginalized, and in some cases deliberately oppressed, often must navigate unjust and inequitable policies. This problem defines so many of our systems, and in an educational setting it is compounded by the pressure to learn, get good grades, avoid discipline, and graduate.

The dire ramifications of the pandemic and its effect on our young learners is tantamount. Learning loss is at an all-time high, and most students, especially those whose families can’t afford small-group or private tutoring, are behind academically. We all remember being in school: it’s not just grades and tests; it’s your social life, it’s where you see your friends, and it’s where you better understand your identity and your role in society. Being in school provides so many important identity-forging, character-building and developmentally significant opportunities. Today schools, with heightened focus on mental health and self-care, provide a safe place for youth to be vulnerable and talk openly about what they’re feeling.…Read More

Discovery Education and Social Impact Partners Present Engaging Resources Supporting STEM Day Observances

Charlotte, NC.— Discovery Education and select social impact partners are offering engaging, high-quality digital learning resources to students and teachers to support observances of National STEM Day. Held annually on November 8th, National STEM Day unites communities in celebrating the importance of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math to students in grades K-12. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.  

Discovery Education offers educators, students, and families hundreds of no-cost resources tailored to STEM teaching and learning wherever it takes place. Among the resources created in collaboration with leading social impact partners now available to support observances of National STEM Day are:   

Engaging Classroom Activities 
Integrate STEM into instruction with activities from the STEM Careers Coalition™ – the first-of-its-kind national STEM initiative powered by corporate and non-profit leaders and anchored in schools by Discovery Education. These activities span a broad range of STEM topics and feature important skills, as well as step-by-step guides for implementing activities in your classroom.  …Read More

Your classrooms might need digital assistants

AI has untapped potential in classrooms, from preschool through higher education. Digital assistants can transform how educators teach, giving them the freedom to teach from anywhere in the room.

When digital assistants are used in classrooms, the outcomes can be overwhelmingly beneficial.

Join eSchool News as a panel of experts shares the benefits of using AI digital assistants. …Read More

What’s missing from your professional development?

The importance of professional development in education cannot be overstated. In fact, according to research, when teachers receive well-designed professional development, an average of 49 hours spread over six to 12 months, they can increase student achievement by as much as 21 percentile points.

Yet, professional development is often overlooked and considered an afterthought—especially with pressing concerns around students’ mental health and well-being, gaps in reading and math skills, and so much more. The COVID-19 pandemic shook up professional development, encouraging schools and districts to rethink what this process looks like and how to best set their educators up for success and, in turn, their students.

At Waxahachie ISD in Texas, we’ve implemented professional development through the use of video, and lean on self-reflection and personalization that is naturally part of the video process to transform how our educators learn, collaborate and grow.…Read More