7 Universal Design for Learning and Social-Emotional Development

Dr. Susan Eliason and Gwen Alexander

Chapter 6 highlights Adapting for Differences. I suggest starting your reading this week with the reading the blog by Handel (2016) Why No One is Normal And How to Focus On Individual Uniqueness.  I found Handel expresses the philosophy behind adapting for difference.   Our society is very ingrained to think about everything in terms of what is “normal.” We then see anyone who deviates from this label as somehow dysfunctional or different. But we are all different in our own way. How do you and the teachers you observe build on strengths and differences?

[Handel, S. (2016) Why No One is Normal And How to Focus On Individual Uniqueness.  Blog on The Emotion Machine website.  Available at http://www.theemotionmachine.com/why-no-one-is-normal-and-how-to-focus-on-individual-uniqueness]

Read Conn-Powers, M., Cross, A. F., Traub,E.K.  & Hutter-Pishgahi, L. (2006, September) The Universal Design of Early Education. Beyond the Journal 1-9.

The article poses questions to consider as you observe the 6 programs:

  • How effectively does the program support and respond to all young children?
  • Do they welcome and include every child?
  • Are activity areas and materials physically accessible to each child?
  • Is every child engaged and learning?

Did you know that most of us process information based on what we see; 65 % of us are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network.  The article:

Blagojevic, B., Logue, M., Bennett-Armistead, V. S., Taylor, B., & Neal, E. (2011). Take a look! Visual supports for learningTeaching Young Children/Preschool, 66, 10–13.

should be helpful in your teaching practice as well as providing suggestions on what you might look for in your observation of other programs.  Visual strategies support children who are visual learners and rely on the visual as a key to understanding the spoken word. They can also communicate messages to families, especially families whose home language is not English (Blagojevic, Logue, Bennett-Armistead, Taylor,  & Neal, (2011) p.10).

Most classrooms have children with challenging behavior at times and include boys and girls.  How do we consider these differences in our teaching practices?  For ideas read

Hemmeter, M.L., M.M. Ostrosky, K.M. Artman, & K.Ahim and. Kinder.  (2008). Moving Right Along: Planning Transitions to Prevent Challenging Behavior. Young Children 63 (3): 18–25.

Olaiya E. Aina, O. E & Cameron, P. A. (2011) Why Does Gender Matter? Counteracting Stereotypes with Young Children Dimensions of Early Childhood33(3), 11-19.

Watch:  Teaching for Change. (1990) Anti-Bias Curriculum   A classic 30 minute film, produced as a companion to the Anti-Bias Curriculum book, now Anti-Bias Education, includes interviews with educators about themes addressed in the book, and scenes from the classroom of anti-bias education in action. For more information see:  Teaching for Change’s Anti-bias Education page.

Which leads to teaching about differences.  As you watch the about an anti-bias curriculum think about how you might use the approach in your classroom as it is foundation of teaching acceptance of differences.  The Special Quest videos show children with diagnosed special needs.

SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library (2007)  Session 1 :  Creating Bright Futures (Including Infants & Toddlers with Disabilities & Their Families) This 11 minute video explores a vision of inclusion in programs and communities, for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families in early care and education programs with early intervention and other community supports.

SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library (2007) Session 1 :  Preschool Inclusion: Laying the Groundwork for Success. This 18 minute vide0 lays the groundwork for successful inclusion in preschool.

You may have children in your classrooms or observe in programs where there are children on IFSP’s or IEP’s.  The video should review what you learned in your Young Children with Special Needs course and may be useful in your teaching practice.  To effectively adapt for differences, educators often use community resources and enage families.

Challenge 1 – Option A:  Contemporary Issues Discussion


Look for recent events or developments in the real world that are related to our readings and assignments about learning environments.  Analyze the current affair to identify the connections to course materials in discussion postings, blog entries, or in small group class discussions.

So What?

This technique deepens your understanding of course related ideas and concepts and guides you to apply course ideas to your work with children and families.  I hope to stimulate your curiosity and that you see the relevance of the materials we are reading.   You will reflect upon your learning to deepen your understanding. The discussion forum will serve as evidence of your learning and how you connect course concepts to your life and the world around us.

Now What?

Create a response to the discussion forum with the following elements:

  1. The citation of the news or journal article source written in APA format
  2. Summary of the article including the who, what, where, when, why and how
  3. Relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts that the article reflects. Refer to specific readings or videos from the course.
  4. Reflection where you relate the current issue to your life.
  5. Given what you learned about positive relationships in the course, what might you advise the people described in the article to do now that would help them to move forward most productively?

Adapted from Barkley, E. F. (2010).  SET 29:  Contemporary issues journal.  In Student engagement techniques:  A handbook for college faculty (pp.276-279).  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.

Contemporary Issues Discussion Forum Grading Rubric

Adapted from Assessing Outcomes and Improving Achievement: Tips and tools for Using Rubrics, edited by Terrel L. Rhodes. Copyright 2010 by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.”

Level Emerging Understanding Acceptable Target
Point Value 0-2 3 4 5
Critically evaluates information and the source ethically & legally The source is primarily focused on a personal opinion. The relevance to the course concept is questionable.

The information was published over a year ago.

Student correctly uses 0-1 of the following strategies:

1.      APA citations

2.     APA references

3.     Appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

Distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Selects an appropriate source.  The information is relevant and current. There is minimal analysis of the source of the information or content of the information.


Student correctly uses 2 of the following strategies:

1.      APA citations

2.     APA references

3.     Appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

4.     Distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Selects an appropriate source.  The information is relevant and current. There is some analysis of the source of the information or content of the information.


Student correctly uses 3 of the following strategies:

1.      APA citations

2.     APA references

3.     Appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

4.     Distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Selects an appropriate source that is important to the concept.  The information is relevant, current (within the past year) and the student critically and completely analyzed the expertise of the author and bias or point of view of the information.

Student correctly uses APA citations and references.  The student makes appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

The student distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Connects to ECPK 480 content Has difficulty determining key concepts. The type of information selected does not relate to concepts. The reader has to guesses as to the relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts.  The student determines a few course concepts. The relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts that the news article reflects is clear.  The student determines most key course concepts. The relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts that the news article reflects is clear and logical.  The student effectively determines key course concepts.
Initial participation and effective communication Did not participate in the Discussion forum until Wednesday or later in the week.

Did not use examples to illustrate ideas or include an open-ended question with response.

The writing was often choppy, with frequent errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, or other writing mechanics, such as imprecise or inappropriate language and vocabulary.

Responded to forum by Tuesday at 11:59PM.

Used an example to illustrate ideas.

Asked an open-ended question with response.

The writing included problems with organization and meaning.

The writing was generally clear and professional in tone.

There were several spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar.

Responded to forum by Tuesday at 11:59PM.

Used an example to illustrate ideas.

Asked an open-ended question with response.

The writing was organized and generally clear and professional in tone.  There were minimal spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar errors.

Responded to forum by Monday at 11:59PM.

Used multiple examples to illustrate ideas.

Asked an open-ended question with response.

Polished writing, almost free of errors, with consistent professional tone and clarity of language.

Uses information to engage in conversation with colleagues The reply includes information that is fragmented or used inappropriately such as misquoted, taken out of context, or incorrectly paraphrased.

Replied to 1 peer (a TOTAL of 1 posting this week)

Did not replied to peers.

Replied by communicating information from sources; to at least 2 peers (a TOTAL of 3 postings for the week).

The student forgot to include an open-ended question with each reply.

Replied by logically communicating information from sources; to at least 3 peers (a TOTAL of 4 postings for the week).

The student forgot to include an open-ended question with each reply

Replied in depth by communicating, organizing, and synthesizing information from sources; to at least 3 peers (a TOTAL of 4 postings for the week).

To help stimulate further thinking and conversation, the student ends each of the replies with an open-ended question.

 Challenge 1 – Option B:  Reading Reflection Form

After reading and watching; to prepare for discussing learning environments either online or in person, I invite you to complete the reading reflection form. Use the table below as you complete the readings and/or watch the videos as a note taking method.  Using your notes as recorded on the table, write out 3 paragraphs to summarize your ideas. Make sure to use multiple examples to illustrate ideas and to ask an open-ended question to invite others to engage in your discussion.

Connections Extensions Curiosities
Relate ideas from the reading to learning in other courses or life experience. How did ideas from the reading extend your thinking? What are you curious about?  What do you want to explore further?   Why?



Resources Shared by Students

CBS news video of  a 7-year-old girl explaining why Down syndrome is “not scary”

First Annual Parent Summit entitled: My Choice Matters: Parenting to Prevent Substance Use is for parents of all ages and is designed to provide Cape Cod parents with information from local experts on strategies for positive, effective parenting and practical tips for communicating with their children. (Relates to our Week 7 discussion)

Williams Doll by Charlotte Zolotow is a great book that helps children and parents as well realize that it is ok for boys to play with dolls.

Special Ed Advocate. is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy topics.


Challenging behaviors are more apt to occur if there are long waiting periods with nothing to do. Grown-ups don’t do well in those types of situations; how can you expect a child to? If they are acting out because they are sitting too long in one spot then that is our fault not theirs

How can we be good teachers to all children when some children need one-on-one assistance with limited funds for staffing?

As a teacher, I have had many students and not one was the same, and they were all special in some way

IEPs need a parent friendly template; something that explains more towards families, what their child needs and how to get it

Community Relationships and Family Engagement

The EEC Webinar is helpful in understanding the resources available in Massachusetts.  Challenge #2  offered to you in the chapter includes interviewing community members.  Prior to the interviews watch the video so you can develop appropriate interview questions. Also think about how family engagement and use of community resources support adapting for differences.

Watch the segments from EEC Webinar-

  • What is Family and Community Engagement? 5:50 – 10:00
  • The Strengthening Families Protective Factors: 10:00 – 12:45
  • Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Grant: 28:30 – 32:50

The NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria & Guidance for Assessment address families and community relationships.  Here is a summary of these standards.

Standard 7: Families. The program establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with each child’s family to foster children’s development in all settings.

You wrote family relationships in the Positive Environment narrative, where you reported on how effectively the program:

  • Welcomes all families and encourages them to be involved in all aspects of the program.
  • Talks with families about their family structure and their views on childrearing and use that information to adapt the curriculum and teaching methods to the families served.
  • Uses a variety of strategies to communicate with families, including family conferences, new family orientations, and individual conversations.

Standard 8: Community Relationships The program establishes relationships with and uses the resources of the children’s communities to support the achievement of program goals. Relationships with agencies and institutions in the community can help a program achieve its goals and connect families with resources that support children’s healthy development and learning.

This week you will interview 2 people working in community agencies that you might or have accessed for support to enrich your program.  As you develop interview questions, consider how you:

  • Connects with and use museums, parks, libraries, zoos, and other resources in the community.
  • Invite representatives from community programs, such as musical performers and local artists, to share their interests and talents with the children.
  • Develop professional relationships with community agencies and organizations that further the program’s capacity to meet the needs and interests of children and families.

Challenge 2:  Interview personnel who support children and families

Interview two people from local systems serving children and local resources available to early educators and families.

  1. Interview your local Early Childhood Mental Health Grantees
  2. Interview your local Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) Coordinator.

Investigate and report in your discussion:

  • Who is the provider and who did you interview?
  • What services does the community resource offer to an Early Education and Care Provider?
  • What services does the community resource offer for families?
  • What is the process for making referrals to this agency?

Our discussion will include ways early childhood programs establish relationships with and use community resources to support high quality early childhood education.  We discussed ways your programs help families engage in their child’s early learning by providing supplemental resources, communicating about early learning and healthy child development, and regularly seeking and sharing information with families about free and low-cost community events that support early learning.

Remember the information you explored this week as you plan for your ECPK 492 field placement or student teaching.  During ECPK 492 you will write a narrative for the competency portfolio to address how you engage families and use community resources.

Programs can help families engage in their child’s early learning by providing supplemental resources, communicating about early learning and healthy child development, and regularly seeking and sharing information with families about free and low-cost community events that support early learning. Programs can pass along information about public library story hours, bookstore events for children, concerts, festivals, and exhibits. Families benefit when early childhood education and child welfare agencies work together on their behalf.

Your work during Week 7 supports the development of your core competencies.  The interviews, discussion, and viewing of the EEC webinar will support the development of 1.A.2; 2.A.2; most of area 3; and the interviews specifically address competency 3.D.7.  Are you observing in culturally competent early childhood programs?  Did you observe skilled and effective teachers, low teacher-child ratios and appropriate group sizes, developmentally appropriate curriculum, engaged families, well-designed facilities, linkages to comprehensive services, and culturally and linguistically appropriate assessment?

Student Quotes

Your questions to peers are wonderful conversation starters to engage others in the importance and use of community resources. After all it Takes a Village!  I wonder how and if you’ll continue working on these issues:

If you had unlimited funds to help families what would be the support you would give them?

How would you react if a teacher came to you and told you your child may have a learning delay, or speech problem, would you be defensive?

Do you find that parents seem to need more support with parenting than they did in the past?

My question would be after you have shown the parents and they see the behavior themselves what do you do when they still deny there is a problem?

With so many programs available to help children, does anyone understand why a parent would not want to get their child extra support?

How can the funding become more beneficial for providers as well as family support?

I hope you remember that families benefit when early childhood education and child welfare agencies work together on their behalf.

Challenge 3 – Narrative 5:  ADAPTING FOR DIFFERENCES

In Narrative 5: ADAPTING FOR DIFFERENCES write about 3 or more relevant examples of genuine and significant adaptations of individual children. Both child’s need and how the program adapts for differences should be clearly described and justified relative to best practices.

Narrative Section NAEYC Standard(s)
Adapting for Differences

4.D, and  6.A.02


  1. Example of an adjustment held in reserve and used if and when a child with that need is in the program
    1. Justify and describe how the program adapts to differences in individual children’s physical, emotional, social, language, culture, and identified special needs in integrative and developmentally appropriate ways.
  2. Example of a temporary adjustment of practice or policy that is tailored to a specific child’s demonstrated need
    1. Justify and describe how the program adapts to differences in individual children’s physical, emotional, social, language, culture, and identified special needs in integrative and developmentally appropriate ways
  3.  Example of a significant, long-term adjustment to policy or practice for a particular child in direct response to that child’s unique and exceptional need.
    1. Justify and describe how the program adapts to differences in individual children’s physical, emotional, social, language, culture, and identified special needs in integrative and developmentally appropriate ways.

NARRATIVE 5 EXAMPLE – Adapting for Differences

In all the centers, I observed there were examples of how they adapted for differences. Those differences being in age and ability, social emotional development, physical development as well as cognitive development, speech and language and cultural adaptations. All centers recognized health and safety practices to protect children from harm. (6. A.02b) Materials such as cleaning supplies, scissors and areas free of cluttering were evident.

Adaptations Held in Reserve:

            One of the first places I witnessed this practice was in the Head Start classroom. The use of visual cues during a tantrum provided visual support to allow the child to calm their selves down, without the adult telling the child what to do. The visual cards were hung around the room, for easy access to the staff, and taking down when a child need to use them. Once the child began their tantrum the teacher grabbed the card and sat on the floor next to the child. She didn’t say anything at first she just sat near the child. After a few seconds, the teacher in a calm voice asked what she could do to help the child. The child did not answer. The teachers then said when your calm we can talk about what is wrong, because I can not understand when you are crying. The teacher then took out the card from behind her back and placed it infront of the child and said “I am going to sit here with you, and give you my special calm down card, if you need help I will do the steps with you, but when you are ready you can do them yourself, but I will stay with you the whole time.” The child looked at the teacher and then the card, she continued tantruming for a few minutes then climbed on the lap of the teacher. The teacher then in a calm voice said, it is ok, let’s take some deep breathes so we can go and play.” The child and teacher then took 3 deep breathes with the teacher calmly facilitating them and pointing at the pictures. Then the child went on to playing in the same area by herself with a large floor puzzle. (6.A.02a)

Adaptations of Temporary Adjustment:

            An example of a temporary adjustment I observed was in the public-school kindergarten. Children were writing in their journals after reading a story in a large group. Teachers were floating around from table to table, engaging in conversation with children about their journal entry. Teachers would listen to their ideas, and none were discouraged. One child wanted to talk about how “castles had remote controls.” The teacher just responded with “oh ok, let’s see how you are going to write that?” The child then wrote lines for each word on the paper. The teacher then said “great, now let’s start with castles, what is that beginning sound?” When the child displayed confusions by saying “um” and looking around, the teacher then took a large laminated card from the middle of the table which displayed letters and words that emphasized the letter sound. The child then said “castle” “/C/” and then pointed to c for cat. The teacher then said “See you are so smart you don’t even need me.” They then continued to work sound by sound to write the word. (4.D.07)

This is an example of a temporary adaptation because not all the children needed them and they are only used in the first quarter of the school year. Once children are confident in beginning letter sounds teachers said they slowly take them away, and only have them out sparingly for children who may need a little more supports. (4.D.06) Teaching staff also reported that if children was struggling with on certain sounds, they would cut out the specific sounds the child was having difficulty with and provide the visual for only those sounds. They stated that this way the child would not become dependent on using the guide to remember all the letter sounds. The teacher said that the card would be provided during journal time and given to the child when needed.

The school department also has a speech therapist who conducts screenings within the first month of school. Children who are eligible to receive services are notified by letter sent home to the parents. Parents are then encouraged to meet with teacher and speech therapist to go over goals and delivery of service. Some children may require intense speech therapy services while other children may only need temporary short term speech services.  Services are delivered through one on one outside of the classroom services, whole group activities and then small group activities. Progress is measured through standardized testing and then relayed to families by note sent home and meetings if families and school find it necessary. The school also provides ELA services and translators when needed. (4.D.04, 6. A.02g)

Long-Term Adjustments

            The Head Start classroom also had implemented a Kids Connect support system for children and their families. Kids connect is an outside behavioral health service, which provides children and their family supports they need to be successful in the least restrictive environment. The Kids Connect service provides an extra staff member to the classroom. This staff member help the program to maintain a 4-1 or 2-1 child staff ratio. Criteria varies from special needs to physical supports and behavioral concerns. Data and observation is a few ways a child qualifies for kids connect services. Teachers must complete daily paperwork, rating the children’s goal attainment and amount of support needed to obtain that goal level. (4.D.04) The paper work also requires a weekly over-view of social interactions, strengths, topic for consultation, challenges and weekly accomplishment section. This is an example of a long term adaptation because it is a service which provides and individulaized support plan for specific children, over a long period of time.

In my observation I observed this adaptation in the Head Start classroom. In  the  classroom there is a fourth teaching staff present, who was shadowing a child who displayed physical aggression to other peers, himself and teachers. The teacher would engage the child in play with other peers, by modeling language such as “can I play with you?” and suggesting solutions, such as turn taking and finding another toy to play with. At meal times the staff member would sit with the child and engage in conversations, model appropriate language when asking for more food, as well as sitting in chair appropriatly. The child also had a band around the bottom of his chair for him to put his feet on. He was able to push back and forth on the band offering resistance and movement he needed to focus on sitting safely and eating. (6.A.02.d & e) Large groups and small groups were set up in the same way where the teacher would provide direct support when the child was playing near another peer. If the child was in a center or at the table alone the teacher would just observe behaviors and watch for any potentional triggers. This provided the child space and autonomy.

In conclusion the centers I observed showed different ways in which we can make developmentally appropraite adaptations to meet the needs of the children in your care as well as allign them to NAEYC standards. Most centers provided materials that promoted differening levels of abilities, such as walkers for toddlers, cozy spaces and materals for infants, different sized chairs for children and different sized manipulatives. All the centers maintained health and safety practices and provided a positive envrionment where families are encouraged to participate in their children’s learning. Adaptations can happen in a variety of ways to support childrens differences, however specific individualized plans on paper were harder to observe.

Challenge 4 –  Narrative 6: UNBURIED TREASURES

In Narrative 6: UNBURIED TREASURES describe 10 UNIQUE resources, curriculum ideas, design elements, or techniques from your observation, at least 1 from each of the 6 sites. Justify by explaining their contributions to best practices and why you feel the idea is innovative, creative, and unique

Narrative Section NAEYC Standard(s)
Unburied Treasures Could be many; make the connection to the NAEYC standards clear and evident.


  1. Example 1 (Site 1)
    1. Use detailed evidence to support an argument of a unique resource, curriculum idea, design element, or technique that not a routine practice in early childhood settings. Routine practices include but are not limited to: classroom pets, pictures on cubbies, and jobs chart Justify the uniqueness of the example using a clear and convincing explanations of how it contributes to best practices.  Your writing should demonstrate a high level of understanding and clear application of the NAEYC standards.
  2. Example 2 (Site 2)
    1. See above.
  3. Example 3 (Site 3)
    1. See above.
  4. Example 4 (Site 4)
    1. See above.
  5. Example 5 (Site 5)
    1. See above.
  6. Example 6 (Site 6)
    1. See above.
  7. Example 7 (From any site)
    1. See above.
  8. Example 8 (From any site)
    1. See above.
  9. Example 9 (From any site)
    1. See above.
  10. Example 10 (From any site)
    1. See above.



Example of Unburied Treasures:  Target – Minimal Revisions

My comments are in BOLD

  1. Head Start-Story Wands: The teacher read a story them had some children pick star shaped wands from a can. The star shaped wands had questions on them that relate to stories ex. Write out for example, Who are the characters? What is the problem? What happened first? What kind of setting did this story take place in? etc. This helped the children talk about the events in the story. This engaged the children to think and encouraged language. It also helps the children learn about the different parts of a story.
  1. Head Start-Signing in: The children are encouraged to sign-in daily. This is used during a transition time. After mealtime while children are finishing up eating, cleaning up, and brushing teeth, there is a table set up with papers and pencils. The teacher took into account the children’s skills because there are 3 different types of paper. A Planned accommodations A plain white piece with the child’s name on top, a paper with 5 solid lines with child’s name on top, and then for the more skilled children a double solid and dotted lined paper with child’s name on top. Some children had first names and some children had first and last names. The children are developing letter knowledge, print awareness, and strengthen their fine motor development.
  1. Family Child Care-Family Books: Each child had a book in the library area that showed them and their families. There are pictures of the child (baby & now), pictures of their families, a drawing from the child, and some facts about them (favorite color, food, & toy). The books are there for everyone to share. I loved it! This is a sense of family for the child it belongs to. It creates a sense of community amongst the children as they look at someone else’s. The children learn about others and can build relationships. The provider asks the parents at enrollment to provide pictures of the child and family for the book when the child comes to school for the first day.
  1. Center based Preschool-Picture & Name Matching Game: This was a great idea for name recognition. There were two cards each per child with their picture on each. What she did was put their first name under one picture and under the second picture is their last name. The children were learning to recognize their last names. She said in the beginning of the year she had just their name on one card and a picture on the other card. This gives the children a sense of belonging in the room. Everyone had a picture in the game, even the teacher. It reinforces name/letter recognition too. Phonological awareness
  1. Toddler Class-Prop Box: This was a container the teacher kept on the rug area next to the teacher seat. After she did a little calendar activity she took things out of the container to keep the children engaged. Inside were song props, finger puppets, animal masks, and color/ shape cards too. The teacher pulled out 5 green frogs and gave one to each child. They them sang the song 5 green and speckled frogs. This was a good way to incorporate numbers and physical activity. Once they did that she gave them each a monkey mask and continued to get the children moving and learning. She was prepared and didn’t have to make them wait. Everything was there at her disposal to keep their attention with hands-on activities. I can’t wait to put one together for my preschoolers. She has a box of tricks!
  1. Toddler Class-Name and Picture on art work: This was my favorite treasure so far! Once the toddler finished their artwork she would write their name and tape a picture of the child to it. Then she would hang it on the wall. This is such a great way to reinforce name recognition for that child and the other children too. She also is helping the children with social skills. As well as exposing the children to letters.
  1. Public Preschool-Phonemic Awareness Song & Signs: This was a song that teaches the children the sounds of letters and uses hand motions to emphasize the sounds and what part of the throat or mouth the sound comes from. This is a special reading program the school uses. The teacher mentioned that she had to attend a special training in order to use this method. I think it is the Wilson method. The teacher used a cd player to play the song and a large wooden alphabet puzzles to show the letters as the sound was being made. She used one hand make the hand motions along with the children. Later as the children were reading sight words she would use the hand gestures to help the children focus on the letter sounds needed. It was such a great assist for helping the children learn letter sounds to begin reading.
  1. Public Preschool-Add Bags: The teacher had a Ziploc bag with 5 large green circle chips. The bag had a black vertical line down the middle. She was with a small group of 4 children. She parted the chips into different parts and was teaching the children simple addition. She also used a dry eraser board to write the number sentences. She exposed the children to numbers and quantities, as well as addition. She then gave the children their own bags and paper to create their own addition sentences. She had a paper on the table that had all the numbers from 0-5 on it. She also had a few examples of number sentences. This was a great way to show the two different parts of the addition process. I have mostly seen teachers use the counters or fingers for teaching addition. When using their fingers for adding it can be hard for the children to remember the number once they try to write it. The way she has the chips in the bag the children can count how many while they are writing the numbers. It also gives them something concrete to add together. I like the way she encouraged the children to write number sentences to prove the work. This was a great activity that I will use in my classroom in the future.
  1. Public Kindergarten-Check-in Sticks: The teacher had 2 containers with popsicle sticks in them. They are located on the blackboard next to the meeting area. On the sticks were the names of the children. During circle time she used the sticks to keep track of the children she asked questions to. She would pull out a stick, read the name, and then ask that child a question. Once the question was answered she would put the stick into the second container. Once the first container was empty she would put the sticks back in and start using then over again. I thought this was a great idea for making sure she asked every child something that day during group time. I like this idea. I might try it! I know from experience that often the same children raise their hand to answer questions and the quieter or less confident children get left out. This makes it fair and you are not calling on the same child over and over again. Having something like the sticks available is a quick and easy way to make sure you call on all the children during large group time.
  1. Public Kindergarten-Laser pointer: This is something very simple and extremely effective. She had a laser pointer that she used during large group time. The children sat on the rug and she sat to the side in a chair. As they did the calendar, alphabet, sight words, etc. she would use the laser pointer to show the children what she was asking them or where she wanted them to focus. As she read the morning message she pointed to each word as they read it. It helped the children follow along with the reading. I’ve seen teachers use a pointer stick but then you have to be close enough to the board and most of the time they are blocking the information the children need to see. The children were focused and all able to see because the teacher was seated to the side and using the laser pointer. I didn’t see this but if she was in a different spot in the room and needed to reference to something on the wall she would be able to use the laser pointer to assist the child.


Example of Unburied Treasure  with revisions needed 

 My comments are in BOLD

  1. Rainbow Parachute

This unburied treasure that I observed was in the private preschool center. This object is a very large multicolor parachute that has many handles on the edge for the children to hold. This Piece of equipment object is very beneficial for children to use because it allows them to use their Delete personal pronoun here gross motor skills. Also by using this parachute in the classroom it allows children to practice working together when trying to get the parachute to go up and down. Instead of 3  sentence use commas and create a series of goals.  The children will also be able to use their listening skills and enforces turn taking and sharing.

This is an unburied treasure of this classroom because it was used as a transition activity. The teacher took out the parachute after the children had finished doing their group activity. When the children saw that they were going to be using the parachute, they all began to scream with joy because they enjoyed playing with the parachute. Subjective and an assumption.   The teacher had the children stand in a circle while one teacher stood in the circle to conduct the activity. This was used in a very beneficial way because while the teacher had the children’s attention on the parachute, the second teacher in the room was able to clean up the activity and prepare the students for lunch time. Small things such as a parachute can be very beneficial in times where the children need to be engaged in an activity for a short amount of time.

  1. ABC Music and Me

This unburied treasure Delete for conciseness at the private preschool center is a musical lesson/  Use the word and instead of / group activity the teacher used an idea from  ABC Music and me which  is a curriculum bundle that allows children to use their listening, language and social skills. This curriculum is a 30 minute a day lesson that you use throughout the month and tools used are changed monthly. This lesson helps children build on their delete personal pronouns throughout paper fine motor, gross motor, and locomotor skills. In this preschool classroom, this is an unburied treasure because the children enjoy how they are able to interact with the music of this lesson. To the children this is a fun way they are able to explore different materials and engage in a new style of learning. This is an assumption as written.  What did you observe that told you they were having fun? This lesson provides tools such as egg shakers, bells, sticks, drums. The children show excitement while using these materials and look forward to each step the cd plays. When seeing this lesson being used, it is a very good transition activity. ABC Music and Me has multiple songs, poems and stories that have the children listen and repeat steps using the materials provided or gross motor skills.

The children enjoy this and for a teacher this can be used as an unburied treasure because the children look forward to doing this lesson every day. Repetitive,   state it is engaging.   If the teacher has forgotten to do ABC Music and Me that day, the children are the teacher’s constant reminder. The stories are very interactive for the children and go from one extreme to the next. For example one of the lessons is about animals on the farm and it has the children act out what animal they hear and the children enjoy being able to move and act out certain animals and express themselves. This is a very good lesson  Use objective language for children to interact with each other when having to share materials, they learn sharing and “passing” along the materials.

  1. Little Pet Shop

Another unburied treasure that I found useful was toy animal objects used in the preschool classroom. When the children were introduced to these figures, the theme that week was “On the farm”. During circle time, the teacher had announced to the students that she brought something in from home that she thought they would enjoy. She explained to them the importance of taking good care of the toys and that her daughters had collected these over the years and allowed her to bring them in to the classroom and share with them. The teacher also brought in props to go along with the pets. The children were very excited to play with these new toys. After the teacher introduced the theme, she allowed the children to explore them on the rug and share with their other classmates. The props to go along with these pets were , a house that had a bath and bed, a slide and swings, and a pet store. This kept the children engaged for a  few hours, the children would interact with each other and take turns using each prop.  Move to the sentence that first discusses props.

This was an unburied treasure for this classroom  The purpose of the list is to generate new ideas for you.  It really doesn’t matter if it is new to the children.   because it was something new the children hadn’t played with and they were very interested in exploring. This was a useful tool to this classroom for weeks. This was a very good way for the children to interact with each other. Reframe your discussion to explain the unburied treasure This is also a good way for children to use language skills because the children were able to use recognition with each animal and identify which sound that animal made. These animals were also used for many different lessons, the pet shop animals were brought out at random so it was a surprise to the children. One instance I saw that this was used at random in the classroom was when during free play the children the children were using blocks and building, the teacher added the animals to the few children that were building and was asking them what could they build for these animals. This was a good way for the children to use their imagination and skills to think and build something for the animals. Some children suggested they build a farm, a house, some of the children added a slide for the animals to go down. These pet shop animals can be added to simple activities to engage the children’s attention.

  1. Lilly Pond

This was an unburied treasure in the private toddler room I observed in. It was an area in the classroom where children were able to use their gross motor skills. This tool is a plush area that as a plush mini slide for the children to slide down, the inside of this area was blue as if it were a pond and inside the area had green small plush sitting areas that acted as the lily pads. This is a very good area for children to use and build on their gross motor skills. The children in this classroom range from 18 months-1.9 years old. The children have just learned to walk with complete balance and this tool is used for a great way for the children to be able to use these skills inside the classroom on a daily basis. At the end of the “Lily pond” has a small slide that the children can use when leaving the area which they will because to build on balancing skill.

This was a good tool for this classroom because in the classroom the children are not at the age where they can accurately play in “centers”. The children have an open area on the rug where they have books to look at and explore, and multiple toys that they are able to use on the rug and around the room. Aside from the typical toys, the lily pond showed to be a great Use more objective language tool in this classroom because the children were very interested in climbing.

  1. Listening Books This is an example of common practice rather than an unburied treasure [The resources described are ones not routinely practiced in early childhood settings, they are unique.]

An unburied treasure I found to be helpful in the public preschool classroom was the listening area. In this classroom there was a library area where children can sit on chairs and couches to look at books, but located right alongside of the library was a listening area. This area included a table and chair, headphones and CD player. In this area you were able to listen to multiple stories and songs. Also in this area, the teacher placed paper and pencils and crayons. This allowed the children to draw out their favorite parts of the stories they were listening to or something to go along with the music they were listening to. In this classroom, this area was very popular and many students would ask the teacher to go to this area. When this would come up as an issue, the teacher had to assign each student a designated time to spend at this area so each child could get a turn.

This was helpful for this classroom because this room was an integrated preschool classroom which had children with different skill levels. This was very helpful to allow the children who needed extra practice on things to sit in this area and listen to the story alone and concentrate on the parts of the story they may not be able to do when reading it in a class reading. Also it allows the children to use their imagination and creativity if they wanted to create a picture to go along with what they were listening to. This area was also used as a quiet area. If the children were getting too rowdy and not following the rules of the classroom , the teacher would instruct the student to take a break in the listening area and have them listen to a story to help them calm down and relax. This was not used as a “time out” area but as an area for the children to still engage in an activity but take a step out of the chaos that may be happening around the room.

6.Rhyming Books This is an example of common practice rather than an unburied treasure [The resources described are ones not routinely practiced in early childhood settings, they are unique.]

In the public kindergarten classroom, there are many as 21 students in the class. Circle time is a very chaotic time in the classroom because it is hard to get so many children to sit down and have all their attention on the teacher. Something that the teacher always keeps at hand during circle/learning time is rhyming interacting books that the children can recite back to the teacher. When the children were losing interest in what the teacher was saying and minds were wandering elsewhere, the teacher would then get the attention of all the children and would tell them they would take a quick break and read the rhyming book. When the teacher would hold up the book for the children would see, they children would cheer in excitement because these types of books they knew they would be able to interact back with and wasn’t just a sit down story.

This was a good unburied treasure for this classroom because with such a large number of children in a classroom , when the children start to show they are losing interest in the materials being presented, you try and find things that can give them a mental break and that will allow them to get back into the material that is being taught. By having the rhyming books at hand for you to use, this helps children with their literacy skills and also with their memorization because at some points in the books, you will have to remember what was on the previous page to rhyme with the new page. Also having a book that can children can participate back with will have the children want to participate more and by having these kinds of books the children will want to read more because having “fun” books will draw them in to read.

  1. Work Stations This is an example of common practice rather than an unburied treasure [The resources described are ones not routinely practiced in early childhood settings, they are unique.]

Another good unburied treasure for the public kindergarten classroom was the “work stations” set up around the classroom for the children to go to once they have finished their morning written work. In each area 3-4 children are allowed at each center at a time. Every so often, maybe a month or month and half materials in each area are replaced with new materials that may pertain to something new the children are learning about. During work centers, science and art area are the most popular. Science area is always a very popular center because it has a lot of hands on materials the children are able to explore with. At the time of my observation the science area was filled with different kinds of leaves and outside materials for the children to explore “fall”. A good part about this center was the children are able to bring in materials that they find from home.

The work centers work as an unburied treasure in this classroom because the children are able to work and learn new materials just by playing and interacting in these centers. They are also able to use their problem-solving skills and social skills when working with other classmates exploring with new materials. Also when having a big class, having group acticities  Spelling may be very difficualy Spelling because you are unable to be in different places at the same time so by having the children spread out around the room working you are able to visit each center in an organized manner and the lessons that need to be taught are taught in new ways that benefit both the teacher and the children.

  1. Dice & dance game

This unburied treasure that was used in the Head Start program that I observed was after circle time. This was served as a transition activity that the children were very interested in participating in. This game is a fun transition and number game that incorporated all in one game. Around the room the teachers had numbered dots around the room, 1-5, one paper had 1 dot and another had 2 dots, and so forth. This game also serves as movement activities for the children to be able to move around. The teacher accompanies the children on the rug and turns on music for the children to dance to. The children and teacher dance around the circle for 2 minutes or so and when the music turns off, children walk over to a number while the teacher counts to 5. One child is designated as the “dice roller”. When all the children have reached their number, the child rolls the nice and whatever number the die lands on, that part of the room “wins”. This game is not a win, lose game because there are multiple rounds played and the children are able to pick a new number every time.

This is a good unburied treasure in this classroom because transitioning with young children can be difficult but when something is labeled as a game, children always seem to be more intrigued. When the children are in this game, they are interacting with their classmates when dancing and planning which number they will all go to. This shows that they are forming new friendships and working with each other with where they are going to play. This game also works as a math game because of number recognition. Children not only have to be able to identify the numbers that are on the wall but they also have to be able to understand which number fall on the die and if they are at that correct number. Playing this at the beginning of the day is good because it gets the children moving and ready to start their day and as a learning tool for them while the other teacher is getting the centers set up for that day. You effectively described and defended #8 unburied treasure

  1. Transition Song

The unburied treasure I observed was in the Head Start classroom. The children loved to sing this song when they were lining up on the way to the bathroom, on the rug at circle time, an all around good song that the children loved. The song is called “Sticky sticky bubble gum”. I had never heard of the song because but it is a very easy, catchy song to learn. The lyrics are

“Sticky sticky sticky bubble gum bubble gum,

sticky sticky sticky bubble gum

makes my hands stick to my ______”

and the children will fill in something they would like their hands stick to . For instance “ makes my hands stick to my eyes, so I pull it and I pull it and I pull it away!” and when the children are singing “pull it” they pull their hands away from that part and back as if their hands are really stick to their eyes by gum. The children were saying many different things that their hands could get stuck to, such as their knees, their ears, elbows, shoes.

This is a good unburied treasure because it allows the children to sing songs that involve movement but it also is a good way to teach the children different body parts that could relate to a health lesson. Having a catchy tune to sing in your classroom daily is a good tool to have because as a teacher you can bring this song to the children’s attention and get their minds focused on something different. You effectively described and defended #9 unburied treasure

  1. Sit & Spin

An unburied treasure that I observed at the family child care center was in the playroom. It was an object known as the sit and spin. This object can be moved to different rooms. The children  sat on this object to play while in the playroom and I also observed this object in the living area. One child was using this object while listening to a story that the caregiver was reading to children on the couch area in the center.

I believe this was a good unburied treasure for this center because this object is used for the child to have fun and enjoy but it is also a good developmental object. The children are able to use their gross motor skills while trying to spin the object on their own. They also have to balance themselves on the object on their own. By the children using this object it can also be good for a child that may lose interest in the story but still be present in the room while you are reading to the other children.



Share This Book


Comments are closed.