George Lucas Educational Foundation

VocabularySpellingCity Mayor

I run an online education company devoted to helping students and teachers move ahead. We focus in two areas.

Basic literacy. There's too many students who are failing to become effective readers and in 70% of the cases, it's because of inadequate vocabulary. On one hand, this seems weird since the teachers do expose the students to, and teach them, the vocabulary that they need. But the problem is that the words do not stick. Kids learn it for Friday but forget it for Monday. Does this sound familiar? Our contribution is a focus on adding a retention cycle so that the kids retain the vocabulary they learn. By just changing how ten minutes a day from the literacy center is used, we've proven that we can improve reading comprehension scores by more than 20%. Read about it at http://www.spellingcity.com

Science4Us is a K-2nd science curriculum built on the idea of cross-curriculum learning. It's build to build literacy and math skills while establishing a solid science foundation. In 2016, Science4Us won both the BESSIE and CODiE for the Best Science Instructional Program. Teachers like the simplicity of implementation. Science4Us is based on the BSCS 5E Instructional model and has hundreds of online and offline activities. Science4Us received a Dept of Education SBIR grant to help in the development of "game-inspired techniques for engagement and learning" (side note, in my previous career, I went platinum as a game producer on the Playstation). The efficacy study of Science4Us was performed by McRel. For more info: http://www.science4us.com/about-us/

VocabularySpellingCity (previously SpellingCity.com) is much more widely known. We still offer the free spelling test which is so popular around the country and world (it seems that most elementary schools use it to some degree) but our development focus over the last five years has been on improving comprehension skills through vocabulary-building.

We've found that while most elementary schools recognize vocabulary as key to their success, very few understand what the research prescribes for a successful program. Vocabulary building requires an explicit instruction program directly integrated with classroom instruction but which also allows for the multiple encounters, aural and multimedia input, a broad array of uses of words, and a spacing across the several weeks required for vocabulary to be learned, not just encountered. More info: http://www.spellingcity.com/vocabulary-study.html

Another passion of mine in working with deeply disadvanted elementary schools trying to build models for success within the public school systems which relies on a combination of best practices and community support I think a lot about this. I'm deeply involved with a community support program for a local school hoping to produce an effective model.

I was gratified to receive this email from a Edutopia featured blogger a few years ago:
"VocabularySpellingCity is a magnificent resource for teachers, parents, and students of all ages. It is hard not to learn when you use the site. So many free resources are available! The aural portion of your vocabulary building is perfect for ELL students but all student would benefit. The record keeping function for premium member is a great tool. The prices of the premium membership are phenomenal. Your site is particularly powerful for Response to Intervention strategies. Parents and especially home schooling parents will find this site a goldmine of resources. I see this as a valuable resource from which Edutopia readers will benefit greatly. Please do share this on the Edutopia Blog."

I also maintain my own blog: http://blog.spellingcity.com

Areas of Interest: 
educational technology,
STEM

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