Practice Makes Progress!

“Would you choose to build a house on top of an unfinished foundation? Of course not. Why, then, do we rush students through education when they haven’t always grasped the basics?”

Mastery based learning is a concept we embrace at Shady Oak Learning. Sal Kahn, who created the now famous Kahn Academy, recently illustrated this in a Ted Talk. Kahn created a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other  subjects. I get excited when I see well-known experts validate what we know to be true with our students in our school.

SOI Certified Learning modules help us provide a mastery based approach to helping young children acquire foundational learning skills. Each child progresses at his or her own level.

As Mr. Kahn explains in his talk, teaching for mastery and not for a grade, helps students take ownership of their own learning. When we initially test students with the Structure of Intellect test, we know their strengths and weaknesses, and how to improve their ability to master content.

Mastery learning, a concept researched and introduced by Benjamin Bloom in the 1970s, has been widely researched and proven to be effective to help students reach a high level of achievement, when students are given the necessary time and appropriate learning conditions.

Last year we had a group of students in Pre-K who observed their fellow K-2nd grade students have success mastering the Certified Learning modules. They couldn’t wait to get started on their workbook and computer modules when school started this year!

Our motto is “Practice Makes Progress”, and incremental progress with feedback motivates students to achieve.

written by: Pam Jarvis

Pam is an SOI Practitioner and the founder and Director of Shady Oak Learning, a private K-6 elementary school in Fort Worth, Texas.

To view this blog in Spanish, click here.

SOI Changes Lives in Many Ways

In 1988, I experienced SOI for the first time when my now-grown son struggled in the third grade. He was given the SOI test and completed sessions throughout the year at Brainworks (formerly of Carrollton). After I retired from teaching school in 2002, I became the math coordinator at Brainworks and learned a lot more about the SOI tests and modules.

In the spring of 2008, one of my adult clients at Brainworks was James O’Connell. James had finished a tour of duty in the army and was back home  trying to figure out what to do with his life. James had attended Carrollton schools and struggled because of his ADHD. He was apprehensive about going to college because of his past school experiences and struggles with math/algebra.

When I first began working with James, I had no idea what a big part of my life James and his mother, Patti O’Connell, would become! I still hear from Patti from time to time whenever James reaches a milestone in life. A couple years ago, she emailed me to remind me of where James began when I first met him.

James’ initial SOI test was on October 31, 2007. At that time, we estimated that James would need approximately 73 hours of SOI cognitive skills training and 40 hours of work with me on math and algebra. That amounted to about 50-60 two-hour sessions.

After only 38 hours of session time, however, James was Continue reading

SOI Success In My Classroom

I’ve had the pleasure of being the SOI/IPP teacher at Southcrest Christian School in Lubbock, Texas for four years. In those four years I’ve learned more about people and education than I ever did in college, and I know there is so much more to learn!

I think the thing that gives me the most pleasure in working my students is the self-confidence and happiness I see develop in them. I have so many success stories to share, but I will just give some snapshots of a few of them.

One particular student began to ride his scooter and bike all over the block after working in the IPP lab; he couldn’t do that before! Another student went to Disneyland with his family and was so much more confident; he skipped and danced with the Chipmunks in front of a room full of people. His mom sent me a picture of this proud moment!

My own son Continue reading

Announcement: New Online Learning Abilities Tests

In 2010, Dr. Robert Meeker upgraded and integrated 50 years of experience into two new SOI tests. The ALA (Advanced Learning Abilities) and PLA (Primary Learning Abilities) tests were originally designed for our colleagues in other countries, but the need for an online version of SOI testing was another driving force behind the project. The ALA and PLA tests are currently in paper-pencil format and will be available online in September 2016.

To jump straight to our website for details on online testing, click here!

GENERAL INFORMATION

The addition of Critical Thinking subtests within the ALA adds value for the career-oriented client.

SOI continues to offer paper-pencil versions of both tests as a means of observing the student taking the test. Group testing is often more practical using the written forms, as well.

Students who struggle with concentration or anxiety issues find that the computer versions of the tests have allowed them to focus and relax during the test-taking process.

The ALA and PLA continue to Continue reading

SOI Support for Dyslexia

I believe the best support for struggling students with dyslexic symptoms is the full spectrum of Structure of Intellect interventions. Most of the students at Positive Learning Solutions have some degree of dyslexic symptoms, and have made much reading progress with their program and are progressing in school.

First, identifying visual and auditory perceptual processing problems and remediating them is necessary for success in overcoming any learning problem, and dyslexia is no exception. SOI-IPP and specific SOI computer and paper modules provide that underlying support for visual, auditory, and spatial abilities.

Any referrals to Meeker Paradigm Area 3 health professionals are appropriate as well. Some visual symptoms – such as letters/numbers/words moving or distorting, or losing place frequently – that are found in dyslexia checklists from any source, are in recent years found to actually be Irlen Syndrome symptoms co-existing with dyslexia. Free questionnaires can help determine if an Irlen screening and specific colors can eliminate part of the barrier to reading and learning.

Particularly if starting a phonemic awareness/phonics-based dyslexia reading program, a student is at a clear disadvantage if the auditory processing/memory are not strengthened beforehand. The SOI Auditory Kit strengthens auditory discrimination, semantic sequences, and memory of units. The Auditory Kit and Memory Matrix (particularly the 3 auditory exercises) are used with most, if not all of my students with much success. Every area of a student’s memory ability needs to be strengthened before any dyslexia reading program is begun. Continue reading

SOI Certified Learning Annual Report: 2015-2016

Blog GraphCertified Learning teaches each student individually. It employs a tutorial model of instruction designed for classroom-size groups. It covers the basic curriculum – reading, math, and science concepts – for the primary grades.

It also teaches foundational abilities and skills that are necessary (but often lacking) for learning the content curriculum. The overall goal is to optimally prepare each student for the transition to the more advanced curriculum of the middle grades.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Out of every 100 lessons assigned, 98 were completed and mastered in the pass-fail tests. Only 2% of the assigned lessons were not mastered. The 98% that were mastered by all students represents an average of 75 lessons – the equivalent of a full year’s curriculum – for each of the participating students.

This is just a brief introduction of all that is included in this year’s report. Please view the full report for details on the 2015-2016 results. You will be amazed at what these students have accomplished!

2016 Summer Workshop Review & Announcements

This summer’s Advanced and Associate workshop was full of information!

The Meeker Paradigm, auditory processing, vision issues, interpreting profiles, the ALA-PLA tests, Certified Learning, IPP, American education, and more were presented.

We are grateful to have been able to use the Diane Hochstein’s Up for Learning center for the training. The center has been in operation for one year and has had a positive effect in our community!

UPCOMING TRAININGS

If you have not yet been trained in SOI, Dr. Meeker and Jody Brooks will be hosting several Basic and Intermediate workshops this coming year. Both workshops will be held at our location in Springfield this October. Dates and details will be decided soon, so if there is a specific weekend that would work best for you, please let us know!

NEW PROGRAM LAUNCH

Our biggest project of 2016 will be released this September! The ALA and PLA tests will be going ONLINE – available to practitioners, teachers, and schools! This is going to be a wonderful way for people to be tested with SOI that otherwise wouldn’t be able to because of distance, time, expenses, etc. People will be able to take the SOI test at their own pace from the comfort of their own home. Some practitioners also plan to have clients take the test online in their clinic or learning center. Remember that the ALA and PLA are available in paper format, too! Continue reading