Uncategorized - Horizon Academy


Why Cursive?

March 25, 2019

by Jackie Thomas At Horizon Academy, we teach our students cursive. They learn it in the classroom, during Orton-Gillingham lessons, handwriting groups and during direct Occupational Therapy services. They practice until proficient enough to use cursive exclusively in the classroom. There is always a debate among professionals as to whether students should be writing in print, cursive or exclusively keyboarding.   Cursive has an interesting history. The first form of cursive began in the 8th century, evolved into italic calligraphy and then slowly changed into the modern cursive we know now. Cursive was utilized when writing with a quill and…

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Finding Hope

February 25, 2019

by Gerilyn Semro Hope actually does not spring eternal. Sometimes, being disappointed time after time begins to wear away at hope and confidence. In my decades of teaching, I have seen far too many children lose hope and confidence in their abilities, in their teachers, and in their schools. These students need hope. They need to feel successful. They need a reason to get up, dust themselves off, and try again. This takes patience and support but most importantly, individual earned success. They have to feel it to believe it. Often the first instinct as a parent or teacher of…

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What is Schwa?

January 24, 2019

Written by Jill Hodge. I would like you to visualize a drummer, hitting a snare drum at a consistent beat in the same intervals: ti-ti-ti-ti-ti and the only change is in the pace, which can be fast or slow.  Now, imagine a second drummer whose beat is: ti-ti-tissss, ti-tiss-ti-ti-ti, tisssss-ti-tiss. These are two distinct sets of rhythms. Believe it or not, rhythm is an important part of language.  English is a stress-timed language.  Many other languages such as Spanish, French and Italian are syllable-timed languages.  The difference between the two is simple and important. Syllable-timed languages are like the drummer…

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STOP: Read the Room Helping to Manage Executive Dysfunction

December 26, 2018

By Gabi Guillory Most of us do not realize how truly skilled we are in the area of executive functioning. We use daily planners and calendars. We know what we’re having for dinner over the next several days. We have a mental map of the grocery store and can efficiently navigate it to avoid backtracking or retracing steps. We have a flight booked 6 weeks from now and we know what time that flight departs. We have a ride to the airport already scheduled and we have budgeted for that. When we enter a room, we take note of the…

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Prevent Brain Drain: Keep Your Kids Minds Sharp During Vacation

December 4, 2018

By Ellyn Linton   As the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it.  This rings true for our students at Horizon Academy where teachers anticipate various levels of regression over winter and summer breaks. According to research from Johns Hopkins University, students who experience ‘brain drain’ over the course of summer break lose 2 to 2 ½ months of math computation skills.  For students with decoding challenges, they can lose as much as 3 months in reading skills. Winter break is no exception to this concept, but you certainly don’t have to have your child spend each…

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Horizon Academy Embraces Multisensory Math Instruction and Here Is Why

November 26, 2018

Written by Olivia Cowin In many ways, mathematics is an intersection of two languages. Names derived from the meaning of Latin or Greek roots and affixes are assigned to mathematical symbols; these symbols are themselves strung together following the rules and conventions of an overarching structure. Without using direct and explicit instruction, as with our Orton-Gillingham approach for reading, many students get lost in the translation of math. The difficulties faced by students are not surprising when much of conventional math instruction begins at an abstract level and relies heavily on rote memorization of procedures. The multisensory math approach, in…

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Your Story Matters & So Does How You Tell It

October 15, 2018

Written by Alli Caplinger Our annual theme is My Story Matters, through which each student, parent, or caregiver is empowered to understand their connection to Horizon Academy. Many times, we know what we want to say but struggle with how to say it. What do we need to include in our tale to make it cohesive? To make someone understand us? Oftentimes, this is where our students, especially those with language-based learning differences, become “stuck,” or unsure how to generate or replicate a cohesive narrative. We must give our students direct, explicit instruction about its content. This “recipe” includes story…

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After-School Sports

September 25, 2018

Written by Mike Chamberlain One of the best ways students can get involved at Horizon Academy is through the numerous clubs and after-school activities we offer. These clubs are an awesome way for our students to experience new activities and to find their strengths. Sports such as cross country and track are two of the most popular clubs we offer. As a child, I was always involved in after-school activities. As a result, lifelong friendships were built through my participation in middle and high school athletics. I also learned many life lessons while fighting for a good finish at a…

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Getting Back Into a Routine

July 18, 2018

Written by Julie Altman, Principal Before you know it, school will be back in session, which means it’s time to start thinking about routines and schedules. Having routines in place will increase the chance that your family will be able to start the new school year on a bright and less stressed out note. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Get back into your sleep routine. To help eliminate those stressful school mornings, set up a regular bedtime and morning time routine to prepare your child for school. Begin your usual school sleep routine at least a week…

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Getting Ready to Read

July 2, 2018

Written by Judy Cowin, Director of Tutoring Services   Early literacy refers to the knowledge and skills young children need to learn to communicate, read, and write.  There are six basic skills that make up early literacy and help determine whether a child will be ready to learn to read and write: Print Motivation: Developing an interest and curiosity in books and reading will motivate children to learn to read for themselves. Print Awareness: Noticing print and how books work: front cover, author, turning pages and following written words from left to right. Letter Knowledge: To read words, children need to understand…

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