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Building a Band Program, From Squeaks to Symphonic

If you talk to a sixth-grader or a high school senior from Kent City's band program, you will hear a similar story. For first-chair saxophonist and senior Zach Carlson, it began in elementary school during recess. "I would ask my...

Club Subtracts Fear from Math

Diamond Sparkman softly counts aloud as she measures the sides of a polygon displayed on a computer screen, trying to determine its area. “Seven times seven is 49,” she says, writing the equation on paper. Then she’s stuck. “Miss Kanoza,...

Teens See Their Lives Mirrored in Reading List

When students say reading doesn't interest them, Godwin Heights High School English teacher Jessica Molloy steps up to her new book collection. She makes it a mission to find books that capture their attention. She introduced one book-resistant student to...

Bus Driver Turns Daily Ride into Reading Time

When Jenna Rykse saw pictures of students reading on a bus during a Reading Now Network conference, the Sparta Area Schools Reading Specialist knew exactly who needed to know about the idea. Enter Brenda Bostelaar, bus driver turned literacy coach,...

New Technology Helps Kindergartners with Math

Lakeside Elementary kindergartner Charlotte Kanaan stood beside teacher Shannon Mitchell and worked through a math problem, which her classmates could see thanks to a document camera that beamed her actions through an overhead projector. Today’s lesson: 11s and 12s,...

Kinetic Combo: Students Find Reading Cadence

Clark VanDop was engrossed in a book about poisonous animals called “That’s Deadly.” But while his brain was soaking up information about creepy critters, his legs were busy pumping bike pedals. He preferred the kinetic combo to the normal reading...

Closing the Word Gap

When a home visitor from school told Jessie Kent that she could read books to her son Michael, she had her doubts. How could a child barely a year old absorb and retain any words she read to him? Michael...

Schools Learn New Ways to Teach Reading

Collaboration is the way forward, say leaders of West Michigan's Reading Now Network. Teachers teaching other teachers, more staff with reading expertise, and learning from those whose students are excelling, are all actions the region's schools are taking to...

Book Speed-Dating: Finding the Perfect Read

Byron Center High School sophomore Lexi Hess may have found her perfect match. She plucked the book, The Star Won't Go Out, by Esther Grace Earl, out of a pile of books atop a classroom table. "I want to read...

The Rhythm of the Words

Oriole Park Elementary Schools students walked, tiptoed and froze on cue to classical music during a half-hour singsong session filled with music exercises based on rhythm and beat. "Snail, snail, snail, snail. Up and down and all around," they sang...

Students Read What They Love, Develop Literacy Skills

West Middle School eighth-grade students Anja Whitehouse and Katie Townley are definitely what you would call "readers." They finish one book to start another, immersing themselves in fantasy, historical fiction and sci/fi. Their favorite tomes are nestled amid folders...

Summer Learning Can Mean Big Fun

Educators across Kent County are making efforts to curb summer-learning loss, the tendency for students to lose ground on what they've learned during the long, lazy summer months. A new Grand Rapids Public Schools Summer Literacy Program, funded by a...

Teacher Hosts Weekly Library Days to Keep Students Reading This Summer

Oriole Park Elementary School teacher Ginger VanderBeek scanned the shelves in the children's section at the Wyoming branch of Kent District Library for books about kings and queens. She grabbed a few possibilities for fourth-graders Maya Wiltrout and Emma...

Regional Media Center a Treasure Chest of Teaching Tools

For rent: The sky. Cost: $50. Assembly required. This "sky" is inside the StarLab, a portable planetarium that looks like a big, gray, glob of a bounce house from the outside. When students walk inside, though, they find themselves in...

Dyslexia Causes Struggles for Students, but They Can Still Excel

What do Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison and approximately 20 percent of students have in common? They have been forced to approach learning differently due to dyslexia. Dyslexia is a reading difficulty that slows the development of reading skills,...

When Words Don’t Make Sense, Magic Pens Can Help

Jenny Green feels she can do well in her English classes – as long as she gets a little help with the reading part. “When I read something, I don’t get it in my head,” said the Lowell High School...
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