Robot Helps Elementary Students w/ Social, Emotional Learning & Academics

ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – Many elementary students within the Rock Hill School district welcoming a new friend to class. Her name is Abii and she’s a robot.

District leaders say the Robot is a tool to help with social, emotional learning as well as other academic lessons in math and reading.

Social, emotional learning, district leaders say has been taking place for years. The only part new about this program is Abii the robot.

Everyday when Standrick Rhodes heads into his classroom at Oakdale Elementary school – turning on Abii is part of his routine.

“She has become a student in our classroom”, says Rhodes.

Rhodes is a Exceptional Student Education teacher with the Building Bridges program at Oakdale. Rhodes recently welcomed Abii to his classroom.

Abii is an interactive robot that works with students with the social emotional learning curriculum, “In Focus”.  A type of learning District Mental Health Director, Dr. Nancy Turner says has been taking place for years, but now with a hi – tech twist.

“Social, emotional learning has been around, but what hasn’t are the robots”, says Turner.

Dr. Rhodes says some lessons Abii helps with are bullying, dealing with emotions like being sad and many others.

Along with social, emotional learning, Abii also helps students with math and reading.

We’ve been afforded two Abiis in our classroom. So I use one for whole group instruction and then one for individualized instruction and those students who don’t particularly care for reading or care for people hearing them read or seeing what they do, Abii is the best thing for them because it provides a safe environment for them to take risks”, says Rhodes.

Dr. Turner adds although Abii is working with elementary aged students,  social, emotional learning is for students K-5 through 12th grade.

Below is more information from the Rock Hill School District about Abbi’s impact on students and more on how it and the “In Focus” curriculum is funded.

“Rock Hill Schools elementary-aged students welcomed a new student to their classes this school year.

Abii the Robot joined classes across the district as a new friend who encourages students in math and reading.

For some students, Abii is an old friend. Some students at Oakdale Elementary worked with Abii last year as part of a pilot program.

Standrick Rhodes, a fifth grade teacher of exceptional students at Oakdale, was one of the testing grounds for Abii last year. He watched as his students connected with the robot for social, emotional learning. 

She was also introduced to students in the Summer Reading Camp – an initiative for rising second, rising third and rising fourth graders.

Lula Brown, who currently teaches fifth grade at Ebenezer Avenue, worked with Abii over the summer with second graders.

Brown was impressed with how engaged students were when working with the robot. But the real proof was in the numbers. Each summer reading camp student worked with Abii individually almost every day. Brown programmed Abii to cater to each student’s needs. One student was having trouble with identifying vowel sounds and at the beginning of camp started with a baseline of 67 percent on lessons identifying vowels. By the end of summer reading camp, this student retested and scored 100 percent.

Another student was identified by Brown to struggle with some basic math skills – after working with Abii on math lessons, this student also scored 100 percent on shapes, money and fraction lessons.

ABii works hand in hand with the social emotional learning curriculum to help cheer students on as they embark on math and reading lessons. Students are presented with a lesson on a computer than ABii is synced to and as they answer, she helps elevate their self-esteem, strengthen social skills, and encourages teamwork and collaboration.

Every elementary school has at least one robot for the Behavior Management Assistant to use for quick, 10-minute social, emotional learning activities. The robot is also being used for small group lessons.

Here’s part of how we fund it:

Here’s more info about Abii:


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