Walk into a Lower School classroom and you may be greeted by a tiny owl on a stick. “Baby Echo” is helping teachers make learning fun as students enthusiastically repeat what the teacher says when Baby Echo points their way.
This year, Lower School teachers are using the Wilson Language Fundations Program to cover the Big Five reading essentials. These fundamental skills include:
First grade teacher Heather Harpole says the Fundations Program is exciting to teach. “What I love about it is that it is multi-sensory and students are using their arms and bodies to learn,” she says. Harpole says the program lessons are offered in short segments with student-friendly activities to keep young learners engaged. Examples of learning activities include:
Harpole says even though Lower School only just started using the program in August, teachers have already noticed a significant improvement in student performance, especially handwriting abilities. The program is also proving to be a great tool for students of varying learning styles because of the variety of activities presented. Harpole says the program is sequential and systematic, making it easy to build upon as student skills evolve.
Wilson Language Program research shows that students using Fundations achieve greater gains in literacy skills compared to students using programs previously implemented by schools who have tested it. According to Wilson Language, schools have reported better learning of letter knowledge, larger gains in phonological and phonemic awareness, greater gains in phonological decoding and reduction of risk of later reading difficulties.
As students progress through the school year and beyond, Baby Echo and their teachers will continue to use engaging activities to help them learn the foundations of reading. One exciting example is the third grade Vocabulary Parade!
Fun with Words: Third Grade Vocabulary Parade
Episcopal third graders know words! Students recently showcased their vocabulary at the eighth annual Vocabulary Parade. The event kicked off with a second line entrance by students dressed as everything from an acrobat to a yurt. Perhaps most impressive was that each student courageously shared their word and its definition on center stage before a packed VPAC auditorium. That certainly took fortitude for students who are eight or nine years old.
The annual celebration of words is inspired by a study of author Debra Frasier’s work. In her book “Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster”, students explore misunderstandings that often arise in the world of words. As a special treat this year, Episcopal students received a personal message from Ms. Frasier. From her studio in Asheville, North Carolina she told students that the book was inspired by a real misunderstanding her daughter had in fourth grade. That misunderstanding, and the story it inspired, led to the vocabulary parade movement across the country. Students everywhere are learning new words in such a fun and creative way.
Enjoy this look at the creativity of the Episcopal community!