Clayton Learning Lab: Teaching Students Math and Literacy in a Fun Way

August 30, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer

Small-group classes at the Clayton Learning Lab in South Hingham are filled with multisensory activities to engage K-8 students while improving their math and literacy skills.

“The idea is to make learning fun,” owner Emily Clayton – a former South School student teacher – told Hingham Anchor. This is accomplished through the Orton-Gillingham Method, a multisensory method of teaching through hands-on learning and manipulations that makes reading, writing and math a more enjoyable experience for struggling students. .

The Learning Lab offers two spacious, comfortable and welcoming classrooms, with classes ranging from four to six students each. They’re different from normal classrooms, with all-white furniture, beige walls, white window frames, and pops of color that make for a welcoming and crisp workspace with pink trash cans, blue chairs, and bookcases. full of colorful children’s books and lots of plants.

The Learning Lab, located at 3 Keith Way, serves students from Hingham and other South Shore communities. “This in-person program is designed to help students who, in a typical class of 25 children, may fall between those with special needs and who are served by IEPs. [Individualized Education Plans] and those students rushing through their classes – the kids who are just doing it, ”Clayton said. “The Learning Lab helps fill this gap.

The program is based on multisensory learning – which takes an auditory, visual and kinesthetic (sensory) approach. Activities for younger children include writing in the sand and “writing in the sky” in the air (which involves students practicing a letter or short word by writing it in the “sky” first. With their fingers before putting it down on paper).

“The services offered here provide additional enrichment outside of the classroom and help students gain self-confidence,” Clayton said. “It is also an opportunity for them to widen their circle of friendship.”

For example, during a Learning Lab program this summer, four children from different cities got together in the same camp.

Students are encouraged to move around as they learn, whether they are seated on yoga balls or in rocking chairs. Creative learning is the word as children are encouraged to get up and stand by their desks, work on a sheet of sand and water, learn math and other skills by jumping on the tile suitable soil that contains specific letters and numbers; or to identify the correct letter from those displayed in the four corners of the room that represent the first letter of a word shared by Clayton.

The wide variety of offerings include literacy groups that engage in lessons and activities related to phonological awareness (the system of contrastive relationships between the sounds of speech that make up the fundamental components of a language) and phonemic (related to letter sounds), fluency, journaling, listening comprehension and Kickstart to Kindergarten, which enriches children’s early reading and math skills for kindergarten or even as a enrichment for those who are homeschooled.

Participants in the Book Club – which begins Wednesday, September 15 and lasts six weeks – will read and analyze “The Red Bandana” by Tom Rinaldi. This is an adaptation for a young reader of “The Man in the Red Bandana”, which describes the actions of Welles Crowther, the brave son of a New York firefighter who, on September 11, rushed to in the burning building to ultimately save a dozen people. . His selfless actions continue to be a source of inspiration to this day.

Clayton’s husband Ross, a teacher at Marshfield High School, is a high school tutor at The Learning Lab. He will also lead the walk-in homework class that will be offered this fall.

Summer offerings include camps and programs to help students build on what they’ve learned in the past school year and bridge the gap to prepare for the next year – especially after COVID, when the students’ studies were seriously disrupted.

After graduating from Bridgewater State College in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in English in secondary education, Clayton, who holds a bachelor’s degree in teaching severe special education, is now completing his master’s degree in special education for students with severe disabilities.

As a backdrop, Clayton was a student teacher at South School in the classroom for students with severe special needs in 2020, then COVID hit and classes got distant for a while.

The mother of a South School third grader asked Clayton to teach a group of students at the start of the 2020-2021 school year, which proved successful. “The support I received from parents enabled me to start my own business last April,” she said. “This is the only positive thing that has happened to me as a result of COVID. “

The overall goal of the Learning Lab is to “continue to grow and help students to the best of their ability,” she said. “I give each student 100% of my time and effort. In a small group, it is easier to differentiate the teaching among the students. It’s not just how many kids come through the door, but how much I can help. “

Visit for details and for registration and course information or email [email protected] or call (774) 222-5975.

Dwight E. Schulz