Professional Development: Blog

The Science of Learning

June 30, 2020
How to Master Mastery-Based Learning

What can educators do to help students recoup this year’s learning loss? One promising idea is mastery-based learning. What is mastery-based learning? Why is it more important than ever? Finally, and most excitingly, how does Elements I utilize this approach to meet secondary readers’ needs?

June 24, 2020
Stopping and Slowing the COVID Slide: Part 2

In part one of this blog series, I reviewed four principles from the science of learning that can boost academic gains through both conventional and remote instruction. Here, I will discuss four more brain-based educational guidelines that educators can implement while simultaneously fostering social-emotional learning support.

June 10, 2020
Let Them Play! Summer Learning When There's Nowhere to Go

With limitations on summer learning and activities due to closures of schools, summer camps, and recreational businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your children's summer might be less scheduled than usual. This opportunity for free, unstructured play can actually be beneficial! What is unstructured play, and what important skills does it build?

May 28, 2020
Slowing and Stopping the COVID Slide: Part 1

Educators are concerned that the current restrictions on in-person instruction necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic will significantly decrease academic gains among a large swath of children in the United States. Given that current U.S. government data indicate only one-third of fourth-graders have the reading skills considered proficient, the "COVID slide" could result in a further decline in literacy skills, especially among our most vulnerable students. Why will the COVID slide occur and what can educators do to combat it?

May 7, 2020
You, Unplugged: Finding Balance with Extended Reading, Writing, and Thinking Time

After years of experts warning about excessive screen time, we find ourselves in front of screens all day during the coronavirus lockdown. We're not necessarily doing anything wrong—this is just life in the new COVID-19 world. But we should consciously unplug when and how we can. Read why unplugging is important for our brains and a key suggestion you can try today!

April 28, 2020
Introducing Fast ForWord Literacy for Secondary Students

We are proud to introduce Fast ForWord Literacy, the new secondary program from Scientific Learning. In a recent webinar, Dr. Martha S. Burns, Director of Neuroscience Education, and Wendy Mathieu, VP of Product Management, explain the science and research behind Fast ForWord Literacy and its unique features. Below is a brief summary of the webinar.

April 8, 2020
The Science of Reading: The Basics and Beyond

What should educators and parents know about the science of reading? Here is a basic summary, plus two important beyond-basic facts to inform educators’ choices of reading programs.

December 3, 2019
The Overlooked Third Domain of Social-Emotional Learning: Cognitive Skills

SEL Goes Viral A few months ago, a Facebook post by an Oklahoma middle school teacher went viral. It was a simple photo of a plastic bag full of crumpled paper, but its accompanying caption moved hundreds of thousands of strangers. Karen Loewe described an “emotional baggage” activity, in which students wrote down sources of their pain that they literally left at the door in a bag. “I have never been so moved to tears as what these kids opened up about and shared with the class,” Ms. Loewe wrote. While this story surprised and delighted the public, educators across the country already knew that such classroom practices that foster social-emotional learning (SEL) have become increasingly common in K-12 schools. In fact, NewSchools goes so far to say, “Enthusiasm for social emotional learning has reached a fever pitch” in their 2019 report on SEL. The widespread acceptance of SEL is also indicated by the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) federal funding provision for schools’ SEL programs. The RAND Corporation, one of the foremost nonprofit research organizations, even published a 2019 research brief on the state of SEL in schools. As this new dimension of learning continues to be shaped and defined by educators and education researchers alike, one important component of SEL is too often overlooked: cognitive skills. The invisible third prong of SEL, cognitive skill development should take on a bigger role in SEL models in schools. Here is what educators should know about why and how to target cognitive skills in their SEL practices. What is SEL, really? If someone asked you what SEL was, you would likely describe social and emotional learning—they’re right there in the name, after all. You might give classroom examples like the emotional baggage activity from the viral Facebook post. Or you […]

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