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Accommodations and Modifications

April 17, 2020

Accommodations and Modifications by Lower School Teacher, Ann Kavanaugh When students struggle, it is important and common for schools to utilize needed accommodations and modifications to support these students and help them to be successful in school relative to their same-age peers. Yet, these should not be relied on as the only resource to help students. To be effective, accommodations and modifications are most beneficial when used with an evidence-based teaching approach by experienced teachers. It is essential that students who struggle receive these specialized services, by well-trained teachers, if they are expected to bridge the gap as they get…

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Orton-Gillingham – The Transfer of Learning

April 6, 2020

by Aly Burnett, Orton-Gillingham Instructor & Tutor Transfer of Learning is the application of skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes that were learned in one situation to another learning situation (Perkins, 1992).The Orton-Gillingham approach provides cumulative and incremental lessons with multisensory instruction, while also providing individual and explicit instruction. These components are helpful to make Transfer of Learning possible. Cumulative lessons are essential. Repetition of previously taught decoding (reading) /encoding (spelling) skills within each lesson aids in generalization of rules and strategies. Adding multisensory activities helps students see concepts visually and kinesthetically, which for many students is essential for learning material. Having…

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Orthographic Mapping

February 12, 2020

Written by Jill Hodge In the last few decades, scientists have learned a lot about how we learn to read and why some people have reading challenges. One of the most significant findings is orthographic mapping. Orthographic mapping is the process our brain uses to store words efficiently for permanent retrieval. To be a good orthographic mapper, you need to develop three skills: Automatic letter-sound associationsAutomatic access to the sounds in spoken words (phonemic awareness)Unconscious/conscious connection of sounds (phonemes) in spoken words to written words Before I dive into this concept, I would like to invite you to chew on these…

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Digital Resources

January 15, 2020

Written By Michael McConnell, STEM Instructor I am what sociologists call a digital native. Tim Berners-Lee released the first web browser the month after I was born. (I’ll leave it to curious readers to research and calculate when that was.) There is no “pre-internet” part of my life. Computers and the internet are a part of some of my earliest memories.  The internet has changed drastically over the years and not always for the better. What was originally promoted as the ultimate tool to unite the world and freely share all of human knowledge, turned out to be an equally…

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Family Feature: The Millard Family

January 2, 2020

“It wasn’t until coming to Horizon Academy that we really realized how hard school had been for Will,” says current Horizon Academy parent, Michelle Millard. In early 2019, Michelle started to recognize the signs that her 2nd grade son Will, was falling behind in the classroom, especially in reading. “He would be so frustrated that there were words he didn’t know,” Michelle notes.  Michelle knew that she had to take action in order for her son with learning disabilities to receive the education he deserves. Will enrolled in the June Summer Program to see if Horizon Academy would be a…

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Faculty Spotlight: Holly Hammond

December 18, 2019

Holly Hammond is no ordinary educator. She is responsible for a classroom of all 4th and 5th grade boys with diagnosed learning disabilities. “I am a huge advocate for boys. So many boys are in special education and many who only experience a traditional school environment, end up dropping out during high school,” explains Hammond. Horizon Academy’s goal is to provide students with the tools necessary to become successful learners in academia. Educator’s like Hammond are using evidence-based methods like the Orton-Gillingham approach, Multisensory Math and the Concrete-Representational-Abstract method to teach our students. “It is researched-based and it works. I…

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Getting to Know You

December 2, 2019

Written By Gabi Guillory-Welsh Teachers and parents alike understand the importance of building strong, trusting relationships with students. According to a Review of Educational Research analysis of 46 studies, strong teacher-student relationships were associated with the following: Higher student academic engagement Higher attendance Better grades Fewer disruptive behaviors and suspensions Decreased school dropout rates Additionally, “a teacher's relationship with students was the best predictor of how much the teacher experienced joy versus anxiety in class.” (Review of Educational Research) Is this why I’m on cloud 9 with my classroom this year? Almost my entire class is made up of returning students. I am able…

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Movement & The Brain

November 11, 2019

Written by Jackie Thomas, OT For this 2019-2020 school year, Horizon Academy extended its school day. Usually when a school adds minutes to their day, it is intended to be used for instruction or classroom time. Horizon Academy decided to use its extra minutes by adding a component to the day that would make our students more successful, MOVEMENT!   Movement has been shown to  change neurochemistryincrease production of new brain cells and synapsesincrease blood flow and oxygen to the brainimprove attention to task help information enter into memoryimprove behaviorreduce stress and anxietyand an extra benefit of increasing the strength of the…

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Tools for Learning

November 1, 2019

by Holly Hammond, Teacher According to the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), there are three primary neurological networks that impact learning: Multiple means of representation - Gives learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge.Multiple means of expression - Provides learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know.Multiple means of engagement - Taps into learners' interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increases motivation. Keeping this in mind, teachers, families, and educators have a responsibility to provide students with multiple opportunities to learn. If we are lucky...it can be fun!   The following are tools and games to provide students with additional practice in…

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Faculty Spotlight: Tiffany Arrington, PhD

July 25, 2019

Horizon Academy is excited to welcome Dr. Tiffany Arrington, PhD, as our new school psychologist. There are many benefits to having a school psychologist on staff. Dr. Arrington can consult on instruction, assessment and student wellness. A current focus of Dr. Arrington’s has been teaching Executive Functioning in the classroom. Executive Functioning teaches students a method and process of how to learn on their own.  “Executive Functioning is helping students develop the tools of their own learning… Executive Functioning is a relatively new term, but made up of familiar concepts like study skills, testing skills, organization, time management, emotional regulation,…

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