certified learning, Classrooms

The Importance of Immediate Feedback

Last week, I chuckled as I monitored one of our students, Deacon, doing the Certified Learning module called “Look and Learn Words.” Deacon is in kindergarten, and I have noticed all throughout the school year that Deacon ducks his head right before the little green square lights up either red or green to let him know if his answer was correct or incorrect.

Deacon really wants to be correct and he can’t stand the thought that he might be wrong! We have worked with him to keep practicing on those modules that are more difficult so that he can gain mastery. It’s fun to see Deacon smile and clap when he has mastered a module so that he can move on to the next challenge!

Certified Learning works because it gives students immediate feedback on their progress. Research in recent years highlights the fact that effective feedback has an impact on student achievement and motivation. University of Texas researcher Professor James Pennbaker explains the role of feedback: Continue reading “The Importance of Immediate Feedback”

certified learning

Painting Destiny

When potential and destiny intersect, it creates an interesting conversation. The former speaks of what might be; the latter of what was meant to be. One looks at raw materials while the other at the finished product.

Raw materials – or palettes, in the world of the SOI practitioners – have many expressions: CFU, CMU, NFU, SI, FS, etc. We are given the high honor and great responsibility of looking at a canvas with varying colors and intensities. Some are brilliant and intense, some soft and delicate, some dim or muted, and some are very thin. Each one is priceless, because each represents a potential and a destiny.

As SOI practitioners, we are given a great gift: the ability to present the palette, encourage the painter, and nurture the skill.

I met a little boy last week in a Certified Learning classroom I visited. His name is Antwone, which he spelled neAntwo. We are still in the process of figuring out why. In both kindergarten and almost half of first grade, Antwone had been in the classrooms of good teachers and well-researched curriculum. He is weak physically, due to a chronic illness, but he is willing and cooperative.

If SOI Certified Learning hadn’t a part of Antwone’s school, he would have been referred to the “Student Support Team” because he was “slow.”

Let’s take a look at what would have most likely happened. Continue reading “Painting Destiny”

certified learning, inspiration

Certified Learning Welcomed on the High Plains of Texas

Lubbock, Texas sits high on a windy plain, atop what is known as the “Caprock of Texas.” This area is one of the most recently settled areas of the entire United States. Why? One answer is weather. For years, tornadoes, hailstorms, lightning strikes, windstorms, blizzards, unpredictable rains and lack of surface water discouraged all but the very hearty from settling these wide open spaces.  There were no trees, little topography and therefore little protection from the elements. This vast grassland was reportedly named the “Llano Estacado” or “Staked Plains” by the Spanish explorer Francisco de Coronado who,  when striking out across its expanse, was reported to have driven stakes along the way so that he could navigate his way back across the seemingly endless plain.

Innovative approaches were the way of the pioneers, who lived in half-dugouts (no trees for wood) and warmed themselves with cow chips, long before coal was available or the area’s vast resources of oil, natural gas and wind were discovered and harnessed.

Today, the area is still a center of innovation and pioneering spirit.  Perhaps this spirit makes it a perfect place to become one of the newest seedbeds of SOI Certified Learning.   Continue reading “Certified Learning Welcomed on the High Plains of Texas”

certified learning

The Power of SOI Certfied Learning

​I first learned about SOI in 1988 when my son was floundering in third grade. After SOI testing at a center in Carrollton, he completed a few weeks of SOI summer camp and attended weekly sessions throughout his fourth grade year. Because of SOI, he became a successful honor student, finished college, found a career he loves, and does not live on my couch!

​In May 2002, I retired from public school teaching, but could only tolerate retirement for about four months. (How do you watch television without papers to grade?) I found a want-ad for a math coordinator at the same SOI Center that my son attended. I worked there for a little over five years, learning as much as I could about SOI. In May 2008, I founded MindMenders LLC and worked out of my home. I soon became certified in IPP. In January 2012, I joined forces with Dr. Ruben St. Laurent, a doctor of functional neurology, and we opened MindMenders Clinic (staff pictured above). Our patients/clients continued to be successful with SOI/IPP.

In 2012, I tested Brooke Carter (name changed for privacy), an 8-year-old second grader who could not read or do math. Our SOI-IPP program helped Brooke tremendously, but she hated school and did not like coming to sessions. We had to “peel” her off her mother at the beginning of every session. I realized that the reason she hated school and did not like coming to MindMenders was because we were asking her to do things that were beyond her capabilities.

I first heard about SOI Certified Learning at the 2012 SOI National Workshop in Fort Worth. We were able to see it in action at the elementary school where the meeting was being held. The next spring, Diane Hochstein came to MindMenders Clinic to train us. It then occurred to me that Certified Learning would be the answer for Brooke! Continue reading “The Power of SOI Certfied Learning”

certified learning, Classrooms

Eliminating the Gap in Elementary Education

“In my opinion, the Certified Learning program is fantastic at filling in the gaps that kids have. This is my 20th year as an educator, and I have seen nothing that does it better.”

– Jennifer Maldonado, Lubbock-Cooper North Elementary

Many students enter their first year of school unprepared to learn. They are unable to sit still. They struggle to understand what the teacher says. They are expected to keep up with everyone else in the classroom. It is a tough place to be sometimes.

At SOI Systems, our goal is students’ success. We want them to learn and thrive academically! With this in mind, we designed Certified Learning, a classroom program that teaches primary learning skills to kindergarten, first, and second graders. Continue reading “Eliminating the Gap in Elementary Education”