Main concerns about English learning programs that would have prevented you from adopting GrapeSEED?
My main concern has always been, because we are a district in deficit, the money that is needed to be involved in the GrapeSEED program. Where will the money come from to keep us involved with this wonderful program? It seems, past practice, programs that involve an extra cost are the first ones eliminated from the budget. The GrapeSEED team worked with our past administrator to find a solution that was a benefit to all parties involved.
Specific benefits that you and your students have experienced as a result of adopting GrapeSEED?
Our students are from the lower socioeconomic levels, and this language program has been a benefit for all students. GrapeSEED has always been available for support in the classroom and with materials. Weekly "Tonya's Tips" have helped address issues that I may not have thought of yet.
Which specific aspects (or features) of GrapeSEED do you like the most?
I truly enjoy the song components of GrapeSEED! I love to sing and the children just love to express themselves through song. Singing can be contagious. I can hear them singing the songs throughout our day; the tunes are catchy and fun! I love the action adventures in this program. So often students get the wiggles and need to move about. GrapeSEED understands young children, and the imagination used to move about is so engaging and fun!! What I find most encouraging is the storytelling that happens with this program. The children know we can change voices and expression, and they have started to use those skills in their own storytelling. The storytelling keeps them engaged and I use props to encourage the voice expression as well. I believe that I have some awesome storytellers in my classroom due to the storytelling we do with GrapeSEED!
Comparing the language development of students using GrapeSEED with those who are NOT
I am encouraged, with being in my second full year of GrapeSEED, that the students who have been exposed in preschool are using less slang. The students are more often answering in complete sentences and are more polite with one another. They respond better in group settings by sitting for longer periods of time, attending to the teacher and using oral language to make their needs known. Students are familiar with the expectations of GrapeSEED. They are wonderful role models in training our other students on what is expected; it seems goals are met easier for our GrapeSEED time. Imaginations comes into play during writing time with those who have been through the program. They know about storytelling, poems and songs. Having been exposed to the student material packets, concepts of print is well established and achieved with these students as well.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I had the distinct privilege to be one member of a group of teachers who visited Japan and the GrapeSEED family. What a memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience. GrapeCity was phenomenal, the staff was inviting, and we got to meet 'Mr. Lineman'. The GrapeSEED executives were very generous with their time and we were all treated like royalty. MJ was an outstanding hostess; we toured several highlights in Tokyo and MeySen. I was impressed and felt that I will always put in 110% to achieve the success that GrapeSEED expects. I want to thank GrapeSEED for allowing us to use this great oral language program to benefit our American children with their own language!