How robots and our school’s buddy program bring computer science to life

Coding and robots are both natural tools for encouraging collaboration in the classroom. At Sewickley Academy, we have taken that collaboration to the next level by having Grade 5 students step into mentoring roles for our kindergarteners who are just being introduced to computer science. Here’s how we did it.

From Reading to Robotics

Recently, our PreK through Grade 12 independent school has been working to include more computer science opportunities across all grade levels. These classes are a distinguishing factor of a Sewickley Academy education.…Read More

Utah State Board of Education Approves 95 Percent Group Resources as Evidence-Informed, Recommended Supplemental Programs for Grades K-5

Lincolnshire, Ill.95 Percent Group LLC, the trusted source for comprehensive, proven literacy solutions, announced today the Utah State Board of Education approved its flagship 95 Phonics Core Program® and 95 Phonics Intervention and 95 Phonological Awareness Intervention as Recommended Supplemental Literacy Curriculum Resources. 

In 2022, Utah joined a growing number of states to realign reading instruction to structured literacy, grounded in the Science of Reading. The Utah State Board of Education convened a panel of experts to oversee the process of implementing a requirement that districts use materials backed by the Science of Reading. Its goal is to get 70 percent of Utah third graders reading at grade level by 2027. 

The selection of 95 Percent Group’s programs for state schools is based on rigorous review by Utah’s professional educators. …Read More

Clark County School District Gives Educators in 241 Elementary Schools Access to Lexia’s LETRS Professional Learning

BOSTON – Clark County School District (CCSD) in Nevada, has made Lexia LETRS ® (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional learning programs available to most elementary schools in the district with a plan to continue expanding the program to additional elementary and early childhood teachers and administrators. Offered by Lexia, a Cambium Learning Group company, LETRS professional learning programs provide educators with the deep knowledge required to be literacy and language experts in the science of reading.

Developed by Dr. Louisa Moats and leaders in the field of literacy, the LETRS suite provides practical support with tools that are available 24/7—online and in print. It also offers professional learning sessions led by national LETRS experts. These sessions provide classroom application examples of the learnings and refine and extend participants’ understanding of the content. The LETRS suite consists of three professional learning programs:

· Lexia LETRS for Elementary Educators…Read More

How to help ESL students improve writing skills

Learning a new language is challenging, requiring a student to master four basic skills–listening, reading, speaking, and writing–from scratch. And it becomes even more challenging for ESL learners.

Not only do they learn a language but they also have to deal with other school subjects in it. And while listening and reading aren’t that difficult to conquer (both are passive skills about consuming the language, so they are easier for students to handle), active skills like speaking and writing are another thing:

Why is writing so critical for students to master?…Read More

8 predictions about literacy learning in 2023

In the coming year and beyond, educators and students will continue to deal with fallout from the pandemic, but as they look for effective ways to help students become proficient readers, instructional practices based in the science of reading will become more widely used.

At the same time, teachers will focus on assessing individual students to understand their unique learning needs. Here are eight predictions about changes coming to the reading classroom in the coming months.

1. Students who were in grades K-3 during pandemic shutdowns may be most affected.…Read More

5 reasons to use a literacy professional learning solution

Our school is one of just 12 “Science of Reading Spotlight Schools” in Alabama this year, but getting here wasn’t easy. Rewind the clock back to the fall of 2021 and just 15 percent of our kindergarten students were proficient in reading. A “full support school” since 2018, we were dealing with some major challenges. I stepped in as principal in 2020, and began looking for ways to solve the issues and get things on the right track.

I learned about Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling Suite (LETRS) from my mentor principal at the state department, which works with schools like Central Elementary to establish the specific benchmarks that each Alabama school must reach. It turned out that the professional learning platform was one of the offerings that provides educators with the deep knowledge required to be literacy and language experts in the science of reading which in turn will help teachers to address students’ learning gaps in literacy.

From my perspective, being a full support school described us, but did not define Central Elementary School, so I got all faculty and staff on board with our new literacy professional learning solution.…Read More

Teachers can’t keep up with the need for SEL

While teachers know their students need help developing social emotional skills, they rarely have time or adequate training to focus on them in the classroom, according to a survey from ReadTheory, an edtech company that helps students build reading comprehension skills.

The survey of nearly 1,700 teachers offers insights into the challenges of implementing social emotional learning (SEL) programs in today’s tumultuous educational environment.

In the wake of the disruption of the pandemic, U.S. students are struggling. In 2021, the Center for Disease Control revealed that 37 percent of high school students reported poor mental health during the pandemic, while 44 percent said they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year. …Read More

The phonics fix?

Much like the return of Cabbage Patch Kids, He-Man, and the Lite Brite I saw at the store on Black Friday, we’re living in an era where what’s old is new. 

During the pandemic, renowned reading expert Lucy Calkins called for a ‘rebalancing’ of Balanced Literacy, alluding to an increased focus on linking letters with their sounds–or what those of us who went to elementary school in the 80-90s know as phonics class. 

While some teachers are not necessarily abandoning components of Balanced Literacy (like reading aloud, guided and independent reading, and word study) in favor of pulling out the old phonics workbook with the tear out pages, they are reconsidering the role phonics plays in modern elementary education and turning more often to a Science of Reading-based approach.…Read More