Program Created by Linda Navarrette is Adopted by Schools Across the U.S.

Marci Carver’s kindergartners know a lot about the word “package.” They know it contains three vowels, but one of them “doesn’t talk,” and the letter “g” sounds like a “j.” When asked about the meaning, they know a package not only comes in the mail, but is also a bundle of items that are grouped together. They have no problem packaging these thoughts into sentences.

Carver, a 27-year veteran of the Moreno Valley Unified School District (MVUSD), has never seen her students learn words and phrases so naturally. She credits their success to Project Moving Forward, a vocabulary development program created by Linda Navarrette, who directs the initiative from UC Riverside’s Graduate School of Education.

Backed by a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Project Moving Forward was launched in MVUSD and six other California districts in 2012 to help English language learners and other students with limited English proficiency. In Moreno Valley, the program has grown from two schools to 17, with all kindergartners now participating and four of the schools offering it through fifth grade. Nationwide, the program is now used in more than 100 schools in seven states.

Project Moving Forward is based on 12 years of school-based research by Navarrette, a former teacher, psychologist, and administrator with a passion for closing the education gap between English-learners and non-English-learners, and advantaged and disadvantaged students.

Navarrette’s approach involves a systematic vocabulary development technique called the Rule of Three or RAP, which stands for the Rehearsal, Analysis and Production of words. It is fast-paced, interactive and puts the onus for learning on the child.

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UCR Researchers Make Discovery That Could Lead to Highly Efficient, Green Solar Cells

A UC Riverside assistant professor has combined photosynthesis and physics to make a key discovery that could help make solar cells more efficient. The findings were recently published in the journal “Nano Letters.”

Nathan Gabor is focused on experimental condensed matter physics, and uses light to probe the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics. But, he got interested in photosynthesis when a question popped into his head in 2010: Why are plants green? He soon discovered that no one really knows.

Nathaniel Gabor

Nathan Gabor

During the past six years, he sought to help change that by combining his background in physics with a deep dive into biology.

He set out to re-think solar energy conversion by asking the question: can we make materials for solar cells that more efficiently absorb the fluctuating amount of energy from the sun. Plants have evolved to do this, but current affordable solar cells – which are at best 20 percent efficient – do not control these sudden changes in solar power, Gabor said. That results in a lot of wasted energy and helps prevent wide-scale adoption of solar cells as an energy source.

Gabor, and several other UC Riverside physicists, addressed the problem by designing a new type of quantum heat engine photocell, which helps manipulate the flow of energy in solar cells. The design incorporates a heat engine photocell that absorbs photons from the sun and converts the photon energy into electricity.

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David Lloyd Analyzes Influence of Art and Artists on Samuel Beckett

Irish playwright Samuel Beckett’s fascination with paintings and painters, and their influence on his dramatic work are the subject of a new book by David C. Lloyd, distinguished professor of English at UC Riverside.

Beckett’s Thing: Painting and Theatre” (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) analyzes what Beckett saw in the works of painters such as Jack B. Yeats, Bram van Velde, and Avigdor Arikha, and how they influenced his plays. It is the first book to focus mainly on the paintings on which Beckett based his principles of art criticism.

David Lloyd

David Lloyd

Lloyd will discuss his research in a book talk presented by the UCR Center for Ideas and Society on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 3:30 p.m. in College Building South 114. The event is free and open to the public.

Becket was a novelist, playwright, and poet who is considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.

Lloyd joined the UCR faculty in 2013. He holds a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. in literature and colonialism from Cambridge University. He is a poet and playwright, and the author of several books, among them “Nationalism and Minor Literature,” “Ireland After History,” and “Irish Culture and Colonial Modernity: The Transformation of Oral Space.”

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