Classrooms

A New Kind of Elementary Education

Two years ago, I left the relative security of a predictable yearly salary in a public school system to start my own school. I loved working with the kids and I was blessed to collaborate with many dedicated and talented professionals at our public elementary school in north Fort Worth. However, after years of trying to find solutions, my conscience would not allow me to go on working in IMG_3869a system where I saw so many kids struggle. I will not cast blame on any one person because most people working in this system care about kids and work very hard. It’s the system. And because of federal mandates, state testing, and unreasonable standards for young children, I do not see much hope unless there is radical change.

After two years, I can honestly say I am glad I took the leap of faith! Our kids love coming to school. Creating a school that is beautiful, comfortable (not institutional), has room for lots of movement and play, and is innovative to meet kids’ needs is rewarding work. The benefits of a shorter school week, reduced homework, and a school that honors God, families, and serving others is evident in the faces and smiles of the children who attend. Many of the kids we have did not do well in traditional settings.

Having the freedom of offering SOI Certified Learning is another benefit that Continue reading “A New Kind of Elementary Education”

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”

inspiration

Brian’s Story

I had been warned about Brian. “Low, low,” they said. “In fact, so low that he can’t tell the difference between a 4 and a 6! Good luck with this one. There’s only so much you can do. And frankly, you can’t save them all.” Thus began my first special education teaching assignment in public education.

They were right. This amiable first grader was a challenge to teach. Print of any kind was a huge obstacle. In fact, he didn’t recognize his letters or his numbers. Since I was also trained as an art teacher and had subbed a lot in special education classrooms, I had been hired to teach in this resource room because of my ability to do hands on activities to promote the learning of these highly challenged youngsters.Space Shuttle

Story time was Brian’s favorite. He especially liked the activity time after the story when I would set out a variety of papers, glue, scissors, markers, and random collected items with instructions to make, draw, or design a way to tell me about what we had just read. That became a glorious time of day when this challenged little boy became a skilled designer of three dimensional space shuttles, haunted houses, and pilgrim villages.

The reading table was a different story. Brian’s desire to read and learn and please his teacher was impressive. But the outcome was much less magnificent.

As I sat across from him and watched him struggle, always willing to try, but plodding and strained, it struck me, “It’s the eyes! Wow, look at those eyes! No wonder he can’t recognize letters and numbers, let alone put several together! But wait, he’s been screened by the school nurse! Everything is 20/20! Still, if I could just get behind those eyes and see what he is seeing, I think I could help.” Continue reading “Brian’s Story”

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”

Testing, The Basics, training

Welcome to the Structure of Intellect!

SOI stands for Structure of Intellect.

What is our goal? Academic success.

How do we get there? By developing learning abilities one step at a time.

The Structure of Intellect (SOI) theory was developed by Dr. J.P. Guilford. He discovered that there are more than 90 different ways in which we can learn. He determined that comprehension, memory, evaluation, problem-solving, and creativity are the basic operations of learning.

Dr. Mary Meeker, a student of Guilford’s, applied Guilford’s theory to the practical needs of education. Dr. Meeker used the SOI model to design materials that develop learning abilities. She did this with the goal of all students being able to better their academic success.

SOI materials come in many forms:

We want to achieve two things through this blog. First, we want to make people aware of all that SOI has to offer and how they can benefit from implementing our materials. Second, we want to support our customers by sharing information about new products or programs, teaching ideas, classroom tips, tutoring suggestions, and testimonials.

Follow this blog by submitting your email address in the form found in the right-hand menu. You will be hearing from the SOI staff, who will be introduced below, as well as several SOI practitioners, who will be introduced with their first post. Continue reading “Welcome to the Structure of Intellect!”