6 Instruction

Dr. Susan Eliason and Gwen Alexander

Chapter 5 concentrations on effective teaching.  The articles may challenge some of your assumptions, such as the article about calendar time.  Read:  Beneke, S. J., Ostrosky, M.M. & Katz, L.G. (2008, May) Calendar Time for Young Children:  Good Intentions Gone Awry.  Young Children, 12-16. I hope you learn more about supporting or scaffolding social skills and the importance of reflection-in-action by reading:

How might you use an iPad or tablet to support reflection-in-action?

Some of you may be familiar with the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS).  Part of the reading included 3 of the Dimension Overviews to describe what effective teaching looks like with different age groups.  The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) focuses on strengthening the system of early education and care in Massachusetts.  Programs are encouraged to participate in the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and to use QRIS measurement tools at Levels 2, 3 and 4 as part of their self-assessment process. These QRIS measurement tools are used to measure process, quality indicators and structural quality indicators. One of the tools used is CLASS.

The CLASS is a tool for observing and assessing the qualities of interactions among teachers and children in classrooms. It measures the emotional, organizational, and instructional supports provided by educators that are known from research to contribute to children’s social development and academic achievement. Programs participating in QRIS should conduct a CLASS observation for each classroom or group setting. All Educators present should be included in the observation process that leads to creating CLASS scores for teacher-child interactions. For more info about CLASS http://www.teachstone.org/about-the-class/

As you read think about collecting and analyzing the evidence from the six settings.  Effective and intentional teaching is developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate.  Effective teaching enhances each child’s learning and development in the context of the curriculum goals.

Children have different learning styles, needs, capacities, interests, and backgrounds. By recognizing these differences and using instructional approaches that are appropriate for each child, teachers and staff help all children learn.  Best practices include using assessment to informs instruction.  Assessments help teachers plan appropriately challenging curriculum and tailor instruction that responds to each child’s strengths and needs. Assessments can also help teachers identify children with disabilities and ensuring that they receive needed services.

Remember to look for:

  • Teachers carefully supervise all children.
  • Teachers provide time each day for indoor and outdoor activities (weather permitting) and organize time and space so that children have opportunities to work or play individually and in groups.
  • Children’s recent work (for example, art and emergent writing) is displayed in the classroom to help children reflect on and extend their learning.
  • Teachers modify strategies and materials to respond to the needs and interests of individual children, engaging each child and enhancing learning.
  • The program supports children’s learning using a variety of assessment methods, such as observations, checklists, and rating scales.
  • Teachers use assessment methods and information to design goals for individual children and monitor their progress, as well as to improve the program and its teaching strategies.

You will rate the classroom on how effectively the teachers implement a curriculum that is consistent with its goals for children and promotes learning and development in all areas.  As you watch the videos you will see that quality programs differ because of their goals and philosophy.

Some of you may be familiar with the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS).  Part of the reading includes 3 of the Dimension Overviews [only available to BSU students on Blackboard] to describe what effective teaching looks like with different age groups.  The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) focuses on strengthening the system of early education and care in Massachusetts.  Programs are encouraged to participate in the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and to use QRIS measurement tools at Levels 2, 3 and 4 as part of their self-assessment process. These QRIS measurement tools are used to measure process, quality indicators and structural quality indicators. One of the tools used is CLASS.

The CLASS is a tool for observing and assessing the qualities of interactions among teachers and children in classrooms. It measures the emotional, organizational, and instructional supports provided by educators that are known from research to contribute to children’s social development and academic achievement. Programs participating in QRIS should conduct a CLASS observation for each classroom or group setting. All Educators present should be included in the observation process that leads to creating CLASS scores for teacher-child interactions. For more info about CLASS http://www.teachstone.org/about-the-class/.   An overview of the dimensions is available at:  http://teachstone.com/classroom-assessment-scoring-system/class-domains-dimensions/  To learn more watch  Teachstone (2013) Effective Teacher-Child Interactions– Learn how the CLASS measure organizes effective interactions and why these interactions matter for children’s learning and development.

 To highlight how programs may take different paths of quality to achieve developmentally appropriate practices, watch:

  1. Montessori 9-minute clip from the DVD, Early Childhood Settings and Approaches (2006) by Charles Bleiker.  [Available on Blackboard using the BSU library streaming service.]
  2. Reggio Emilia 9-minute clip from the DVD, Early Childhood Settings and Approaches (2006) by Charles Bleiker. .  [Available on Blackboard using the BSU library streaming service.]

Did you notice that in the Montessori program, the environment is prepared with self-correcting materials for work, not play? The Montessori method seeks to support the child in organization, thus pretend play and opportunities to learn creatively from errors are less likely to be seen in a Montessori classroom. The didactic, self-correcting materials assist controlling error versus an adult correcting the child.  Is this self-regulation?

In terms of curriculum, the length and depth of projects is unique in the Reggio Emilia Approach, three weeks is a relatively short project in the Reggio Emilia schools.

Using the environment as a third teacher is stressed. Documentation helps facilitate the environment as a teacher. Co-construction is strongly emphasized in the approach. For example, a child can learn to construct knowledge with peers and adults. Co-construction emphasizes the social nature of such activities in which cognitive conflict is emphasized.

To check your comprehension of the two approaches, I invite you to complete Challenge 1.

  1.  Challenge 1 – Which program model?

    After watching the videos, sort the characteristics of each program model into the correct category

    Montessori Reggio

    Based on communication and relationships

    Based on freedom

    Created by parents

    Created for parents

    Documentation

    Listens to learn

    Materials are part of the environment — natural items, art supplies, etc.

    Materials designed for particular concepts

    Meets the needs of the child & focused on autonomy and independence

    Meets the needs of the family

    Observation

    Observes to see what happens next

    Prepared environment

    Project based approach

    Strict developmental stages

    Teacher as co-learner

    Teacher as link between child and environment

    Teacher’s job to help children find their way into the materials

     

Challenge 2 Peer Reviews

 

Peer Reviews are not about the red pen, which I dread.  Peer reviews should be kind and honest.  I prefer thinking about the elephant.

Because ECPK 420 is a writing-intensive course; you will produce a substantial amount of writing.  At least twice this semester, you have opportunities to read and respond to one another’s writing in peer reviews.  The purpose of our peer reviews is to improve your reading and writing skills and learn how to collaborate effectively. As an early educator, you will work collaboratively. Learning to use feedback, whether it’s on a piece of writing or something else [a design idea for the classroom or a lesson plan], will greatly enhance your future employability.

Learning Objectives of Peer Review

  • Improve the ability to read carefully, with attention to the details of a piece of writing
  • Strengthen your writing by taking into account the responses of actual and anticipated readers
  • Make the transition from writing primarily for an instructor to writing for a broader audience–to prepare for writing as an early childhood educator. Where you write to families and administrators
  • Formulate and communicate constructive feedback on a peer’s work
  • Gather and respond to feedback on your work

Editing someone else’s work is one of the best ways to learn how to edit your own.  For each narrative draft you read, complete  a peer response sheet.

 

Peer Response Sheet

Writer: ______________________________________________

Reader: ______________________________________________

RECORD YOUR RESPONSES TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS

Read the paper through once  without pausing to write comments. Then put the paper aside and answer the following questions without looking back. (If you can’t answer the question, write “I don’t know.”)

  1. What single feature of the paper stands out to you?
  1. What do you think is the writer’s main point?
  1. Was there anything in the paper that seemed confusing to you? (If so, explain briefly).

4.  Now reread the paper, making any comments in the margins you feel would be helpful. Try to comment on development and organization of ideas: Do you understand the points the writer is trying to make? Do ideas seem well-connected? Remember, you are not being asked to evaluate the paper; you are being asked to respond to it with an eye toward helping the writer improve it.

  1. Is there any place where the writer needs to support an idea with more concrete detail or explanation? If so, where?
  2. How well does the writer make transitions between his/her main ideas? Identify places that need better transitions.
  1. List at least two ways in which the essay could be improved.
  1. List at least two things you like about the paper.
  1. What would you like to know more about? What questions do you still have?

 

 

Challenge 3:  Reading Reflection Form

After reading and watching; to prepare for discussing effective teaching 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?
 

 

 

Challenge 4-Narrative 4:  EFFECTIVE TEACHING

In Narrative 4: EFFECTIVE TEACHING compare your observations to the NAEYC Standards using the 4th observation site.  The table is helpful is aligning the standards to the narrative section.

 

Narrative Section NAEYC Standard(s)
Teachers Actively Sustain and Extend Children’s Learning 3.F , 3.G
Observation and Assessment are Used to Design Instruction that is Responsive 4.D

Outline

  1. Teachers Actively Sustain and Extend Children’s Learning. RATING: _____
    1. Provide a detailed and varied description that gives a comprehensive view of the program’s style of teaching and the skill set of the intentional classroom teacher. Your conclusions should compare observed teacher behavior to developmentally appropriate principles. The narrative should include many high-quality examples of significant scaffolding of learning– including taking advantage of learnable moments– or detailed suggestions where such opportunities were missed. Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.
    2. CONCLUSIONS where you restate and defend the rating. To achieve a target score, make sure the conclusions reached carefully consider impact of design decisions on quality, are fully supported by the evidence provided, and clearly linked to NAEYC standards of quality.  Your conclusions should show a clear sense of which evidence has a significant impact on quality and which has less weight.  To achieve a target score, remember to go beyond what is included in the program, discuss what is not there, why it should be, and what it would look like if it were there.  Remember that the evidence and its interpretation need to fully support the ratings given.
  1. Observation and Assessment are used to Design Instruction that is Responsive RATING: _____
    1. Provide a clear descriptions of the assessment system, how and when information is gathered (including observed examples of it being done while observing), categories in which it is interpreted, and how it is reported out .If assessment practices unobservable, examples of when child performances worthy of capture in the assessment system were missed. Describe how you saw examples of individualizing instruction rather than having all children complete the same work the same way – or detailed suggestions where such opportunities were missed. Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.
    2. CONCLUSIONS (see #1b above)

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NARRATIVE 4 EXAMPLE – Effective Teaching

ABC [name changed for privacy] Montessori is in a residential area in Rhode Island. The large building is set up as you would typically see an elementary school. This Montessori school has classrooms which support ages three, their pre-primary classrooms all the way up to sixth grade. The center had a large sign, making it easy to find as well as being completely fenced in making the entrance easy to find. Once inside there is a large waiting area with large rocking chairs, small rocking chairs, a well-maintained couch and a table which held brochures, pamphlets, magazines, newsletters and school spirit items, such as magnets, key chains, shirts and sweatshirts for purchase.

Teachers Actively Sustain and Extend Children’s Learning. RATING: 5

            The Montessori classroom provides two hours of uninterrupted play or “workshop” time for the children. (3.F.02) Children can play and explore all areas of the classroom during these two hours. During my observation, a child was displaying difficulties when it came to picking an activity and engaging in the activity for an appropriate amount of time. The assistant teacher came over and suggested he work on his handwriting book. The child said “no” and the teacher responded with “that’s ok I will leave it out on your tray if you change your mind, just remember that you cannot bother your friends who are working.” (3.G.04)

The lead teacher was conducting formal assessments, one-on-one with the children while I observed. She had a series of tasks she would ask the children to do, or describe. For example, she gave the child a series of small unit cubes and asked the child to make a 1:1 pattern. The child complied and then she upped the ante and asked he if she could make a 2:1 pattern. The assessment when on like this using a variety of manipulatives, writing materials and various language tools such as flash cards, pictures and manipulatives. (3.F.04 & 3.G.02)

I rated this a 5 because, unfortunately I did not observe any scaffolding, Language modeling and teacher interactions that showed they were curious or interested in their play. (3.F.07) There is little evidence of teachers helping children sustain play or teacher directed activities. (3.G. 04, 05) However, I understand that this reflects the Montessori philosophy and not a direct reflection on personal teaching styles. Aside from teacher-child interactions the classroom supported language development by labeling materials in the classroom, as well as having a white board with snack time instructions on it for the children. For example, the white board said “1 banana and 1 glass of milk.” The board had pictures and the words for children who were not yet reading. (3.F.04)

Observation and Assessment are used to Design Instruction that is Responsive RATING: 5

            During my observation, the lead teacher was conducting a formal assessment with a few children. She would ask the children questions such as “what sound is this” and point to a letter. She would ask them to make patterns and identify colors after handing them a bunch of unit cubes. All of which she documents in a note pad. (4.D.07) Before my classroom observation I met with the Head of the School. She informed me that teachers reflect on children weekly, that they observe the children each day but look at what they did in a week, as opposed to just a few minutes a day. (4.D.02) Also after the first formal assessment is done parents are required to complete an observation of the classroom and their child before parent-teacher conferences. (4.D.01)

I gave the center a 5 because there was no evidence of how this information was used to direct curriculum and learning goals for the children. (4.D.03) Lesson plans were not hung up however in the teacher area of the classroom there was a planner with information about the plan of the day in it, as well as binders neatly labeled with specific learning plans. For example, “Author studies.”  For the center to achieve a higher score I would suggest more teacher-child interactions as well as curriculum hung up for parents to view as well as proof of informal observation tools.

 

 

EFFECTIVE TEACHING Narrative draft

Emerging Understanding – Many revisions needed for student to reach an acceptable level

Teachers Actively Sustain and Extend Children’s Learning (Rating:  5)

The teacher always connected their topic and theme through all learning domains. One child was interested in trucks and back hoes and the teacher gave the child some apples to explore with and use the trucks to move the apples. The teacher brought the child’s interest and connected it with the learning in the classroom. This is one example for a broad claim that the teacher is always doing this I would have liked to saw more connecting and extending between the students and teacher. For the final submission of this narrative, make sure to fully document this section and justify a rating of 5.

Observation and Assessment are Used to Design Instruction that is Responsive to Individual Needs and Interests (Rating:  6)

I saw the teacher always writing on paper and filling anecdotal notes in each child’s portfolio. The teacher observed each child at centers, free play and solitary play.  The teacher noted developmental delays, learning, listen skills and other aspects of assessment. How do know she documented for developmental delays, learning, listen skills and other aspects of assessment?  For the final submission of this narrative add information about how the teacher applied her knowledge of individual children her scaffolding of learning.

 

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Early Childhood Mentored Field Observations by Dr. Susan Eliason and Gwen Alexander is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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