Learning Better Through Special Attention

At Lincoln Elementary, first graders are gearing up for their future in a different way, a program that gives each child special attention.

“I know that 4 minus 2 equals 2 because I know 2 plus 2 equals 4,” Skylar said.

The 6 year old brushes up on her math and spelling with the help of a special video game called Turbo. It's one of many things encouraged in the La Pensee program.

“It's a smaller learning community that goes from grades 1-5 and it's based on literature and students who have (accelerated) reading abilities and they apply that throughout their curriculum in all academic areas,” Principal Elaine Cabral said.

Take language, for instance. An exchange teacher from China offers classes five days each week.  When it comes to reading and problem solving, students break out into learning centers and the lessons are tailored to each child's strengths.

Student use cartridges, which they put into the game and learn skills that are specific to each student.

“Once the child is finished with their work, they take the cartridge and they insert it into this port. Right away they are able to see how they've done. They point to their name and you can see that this child did 100 percent correct on this,” said Doris Johnson, a first grade teacher.

VTS (visual thinking strategies) classes are also popular with students. Based on a picture, students tell teachers what they see.

“It is really exciting to see them change as thinkers. It’s really exciting to see them consider the perspectives of others, which is something the program encourages and it's exciting to see their world open in a story form, just by seeing an image or seeing a word,” Johnson said.

One-hundred-twenty-five Lincoln students are enrolled in La Pensee and school officials say this type of learning is paying off.

“It is working phenomenally. Our children from fourth and fifth grade have outscored the state on their CMT scores and those are our children who came through the whole program since first grade,” Cabral said.

In order to qualify for the La Pensee program, students must go through an application process and meet certain standards.

There is a waiting list to get into the program at the elementary level.

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