Key & News April 2018


t a youung age, students focus on different elements of a story such as characters, setting, problem and solution. As they advance into higher levels, those story elements become more complex, forcing students to use more of their imagination and read through the lines. Within booklets 15 and 16 of Level 5, students will focus directly on character, setting, problem/conflict and problem/resolution. Throughout the booklets, students will identify each of these concepts, define them, and differentiate them within the context of a story. 

One aspect that can be a bit difficult for students to master is the concept of problem/conflict or problem/resolution. A simple way to help a student grasp this concept is to show them a picture and ask them what the problem is. Students will do this type of activity within the main book, so it is important for them to master this prior to getting into a full-length story. Recognizing a problem from an illustration helps set the foundation for the student to identify problems within an actual story. See an example below: 


The problem is ________________________________________.

An additional activity that a student ccould do would be to think about stories of their own and identify the problems within their Key & Note. They do not have to write out a full essay but can compose a simple paragraph describing a time in their life in which there was a problem. For younger students in Level 5, allow them to draw a simple picture that depicts the problem they experienced. Connecting the concept to situations in their own lives can help clarify their understanding. Challenging students to write stories with problems of their own helps them retain the information in the long run. On the other hand, the instructor can take a few minutes and tell the student a short story and ask them to write down the problem from the story. This will require a bit more work on the instructor’s part but may help the students better understand how to identify a problem within another person’s story. 

Being able to describe a setting, character, conflict, and other story elements will help students with their writing skills. They will be able to read excerpts and stories that have a lot of depth and learn that good writers include all of these types of details in order to keep the reader intrigued. After student’s complete booklets 15 and 16, they will touch base on Descriptive Writing, which has a direct connection to the story element concepts. They will begin to learn how to add details to their writing such as describing a setting, character emotions and motivations, and even character development throughout a story. 

One of the many under-utilized resources that is available to you is Eye Level Math Online (EMO). As of February, out of the over 10,000 students registered for Eye Level Math in the United States, only 5% are signed up for EMO. Beginning this month, students that are signed up for Math, with or without access to EMO, will all be allowed to receive 20 booklets without penalty. Now is the time to change your math students to EMO and begin employing this great program. 

EMO focuses on the four basic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division that go along with levels 3-15 of the Eye Level Math program. EMO will complement the paper booklets that the students complete so that they will receive even more practice with these important concepts. Study Achievement Rate (SAR) and Standard Completion Time (SCT) are automatically measured through the program. The student’s entire online experience is timed, but the SCT is measured on the Performance Assessment at the end of the second section. The benefits of EMO can be easily remembered through the acornym ARM. 

The first set of benefits for EMO begin with the letter A: Added value, Arthimetic, and Auto-Grading. EMO will bring added value to your students’ learning. Students love using the computer and with this blended approach, students will be more engaged. Students’ arthimetic skills will be increased. Even if students are in level 8 working on subtraction, they will be able to play the mathematics games at any level so they can further improve their addition skills or begin to learn multiplication. Results can be viewed instantly by students, parents, and instructors because of the auto-grading feature. Students are even able to make immediate corrections and/or print out any missed questions to refer back to later. 

The next set of benefits begin with the letter R: Reinforce, Review, and Report. Since students are completing online work that matches their paper booklets, students get to reinforce topics they are studying in class. Students can look back as last week’s work as well as the current week’s work. Going back to last week’s work can help a student be more successful upcoming weeks. Students can review a booklet up to four times each. If students are taking advantage of this fact, there will be less need to review with paper booklets. Students will be able to progress through levels faster, which will make parents and students happier. Finally parents and students will see immediate results as well as all previous results. The reports are very visual. Below is an example of a report. It is easy to see the SAR (90%), the SCT (10s out of 40s), and total time taken (3:15). At the bottom, it is easy to view the correction note so parents can see what students got wrong and students can continue to practice those questions that were marked as incorrect. 


The last set of benefits begin with the letter M: Mental Calculation, Motivation, and Mastery. Because students are completing the work online, students will not be able to show their work. This will force students to memorize more facts and complete calculations without the use of aids such as tally marks or carry-over marks. There are many games that are available to use with EMO to help motivate students to learn. There are also rankings and leaderboards that are available to view. Students love seeing their name climb up the leaderboard and therefore will want to continue to practice online to improve their position. The final benefit is mastery. Mastery learning is one of the four key features of Eye Level Education. Because of all the previous benefits, students will be able to master any level that they come across because they will be exposed to a topic multiple times in a variety of learning styles. 

With 9,869 questions available, built-in reinforcement, and online games, there are plenty of tools to keep students learning. There are a lot of resources to help you begin using EMO on the ORL located under the category of Special Topics. I hope that you begin using EMO in your centers and find it valuable to students’ education to instill the value of lifelong learning.