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message 1: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 19 comments i just read this article about a pilot program in the denver area and thought i should share it with everyone here. i'd love to hear what parents and educators think about this!

message 2: by Jeanne (last edited Feb 14, 2009 04:59PM) (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod
Hi Marieke,

Thank you for bringing our attention to this interesting article. I very much like the idea of having flexibility in grade levels. This way, a student who needs more time to master a level of a subject will be given the extra time. On the other end of the spectrum, a student who is bright and ambitious will not be shackled to the lock-step drudgery of a slower class.

The author has a concern that there might be a 'bottleneck' at the eighth grade level -- that students who have not mastered material to a 'B' grade proficiency will not be admitted to high school. The counter argument might be that this should be anticipated well ahead of time and the student given extra support.

The author didn't mention what they will do with the bright-penny kids who might complete eighth-grade work at age 11 or 12. Do their parents really want these little ones to be in a high school social setting with adolescents? One solution to this question might be to offer these high achievers a 'bridge year' where they can spend extra time on subjects they have a passion for, or even have a full year of immersion classes in another language. This way, they wouldn't be quite so young when entering high school.

If you think about kids taking music lessons or ice skating or other individual pursuits, they are not required to stay with the pace of their age mates. To be able to move ahead at one's own pace is very beneficial.

message 3: by Madison (new)

Madison Paine (madisonpaine) Thank you Marieke,

Fascinating article. I really like the concept because it takes the focus off of testing standards and places it on mastery of skill. As a veteran educator, I find the root problem is grasping basic skills. Our students are not being taught reading, writing, and arithmetic enough. That foundation must be in place before they can completely develop their higher level thinking skills.

I was trained concrete before abstract. That is why I believe so many students are dropping out of high school. They may have street smarts or common sense but they grow frustrated in certain subjects that require a mastery of basic skills.

Again, thanks for sharing this article with us.

message 4: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod
Hi Madison,

Yes, basic skills are the foundation. I have earned my living teaching basic skills for 25 years now. I never tire of it because these are so important and I teach them to a mastery level. I also teach excellent work habits and positive attitudes. The parents are happy, the teachers are happy, and most importantly, the kids are happy. It's win-win-win.
Make that 4 wins. I am happy too because I have made a contribution that is long lasting.

message 5: by Madison (new)

Madison Paine (madisonpaine) Jeanne wrote: "Hi Madison,

Yes, basic skills are the foundation. I have earned my living teaching basic skills for 25 years now. I never tire of it because these are so important and I teach them to a maste..."
Absolutely Jeanne. Teaching should be about empowering young people to learn for themselves because we equip them with the tools necessary. I honestly have never met a child who deep down did not want to show me how smart she/he could be. I teach them when they are teens and their faces still light up when they get an answer right or learn a new concept. Very rewarding.

message 6: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod
Education news! I've written a learn-to-read app called Reading Raven. Can you help spread the news?

Hi friends,

For the past five months, I have been working with a talented and passionate group to create Reading Raven, an iPad app that helps children learn to read. I’ve written the lesson content based on what has worked best in my twenty-seven years of experience teaching children how to read. With Reading Raven I can now help more kids, rather than being limited to teaching one child at a time. The lessons I write are magically transformed into engaging activities by our team of artists and technical people

Reading Raven for iPad is for 3-7 year olds and it was released in the Apple App Store today. It’s probably the only learn-to-read app on the market that takes children all the way from basic pre-reading skills to reading sentences.

I am hoping that you will help get the word out about Reading Raven by telling your friends and pointing them to the link in the AppStore, liking us on Facebook and/or following us on Twitter. You can also pass along the website and the YouTube video for more information. Here are the relevant links:

Apple iTunes:
Reading Raven Website:
Facebook Page:
Twitter: (@readingraven)
YouTube Video:

The self-paced learn-to-read app contains five learning games with hundreds of reading and learning activities in total. Each learning activity builds on the one before, and all lessons are self-paced and customizable to each child’s age or learning level.

Reading Raven costs $3.99, and the app can be downloaded via the website
above or directly via the Apple App Store. And if any of you with blogs could write a few lines about Reading Raven, it would be so much appreciated! We have no advertising budget, so we’re depending on ‘word of mouth’ and ‘word of computer links’. My grandsons just put Reading Raven on their Facebook pages. I said, “Great! If kids would spread the word, we can ‘go viral’!” ;)

message 7: by Jameswillow (new)

Jameswillow | 1 comments If you are interested in educational books, then consider reading this animal farm comparison novel at that will help you a lot with your life. I really think that it can have a lot of positive impact on you.

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