“Teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests” – President Barack Obama
Assessments are an important tool that can help teachers see their students growth, understand their needs, and plan proper activities to take their development further. It’s important for teachers to give their students proper assessments so they can identify ways to support their learning and development throughout the school year. By giving proper assessments teachers can give feedback to students and their families. Some principles of assessments in ECE are to empower the student, take into account the holistic way in which each student learns (recognize strengths/weaknesses – work on areas that need improvement or extra support), include student’s families, and take into consideration all of the environmental factors of the students life. In ECE, a credit-based approach to assessment is recommended because attention is paid to a students strengths, interests and dispositions. The goal is to use assessments to recognize and build on existing behaviors in a broader and deeper range of contexts which means focusing on students developing knowledge, skills, attitudes and dispositions. It would be beneficial for teachers to make a portfolio for each student because this can be used as an assessment tool. Implementing assessments in ECE can assist with identifying the needs of students and prevent future learning difficulties. It’s important for school districts and teachers to know that standardized tests can not justify the full development or knowledge of a child (or anyone in general) but alternative assessment methods can effectively be used to see the progress a person is making and the skills needed that can be applied in the real world.
Assessment in ECE. THE EDUCATION HUB. (2020, June 4). Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://theeducationhub.org.nz/category/ece-resources/assessment-in-ece/.
Many people are familiar with Patty Hill who was the key founder for NAEYC. Patty was a teacher and enjoyed working with younger students. She believed that there was a need for research related to ECE and the development of prominent teacher education programs. Hill made it clear that there were certain threads that needed to be met in order to have qualified teachers, these threads included: linking research/practice, the importance of DAP, teacher efficacy, high standards for teacher education. Patty believed that when teachers work with students it shouldn’t be 100% structured teaching, but she stressed the importance of students creativity as well as the value that play has in ECE. She also created the Patty Hill Blocks which are important with play, students can build, enter, and play with these blocks. In order for students to be successful in their learning process and make use of their creativity, independence, and overall play it all starts with the teachers and making teachers qualified enough to assist students into being the best version of themselves.
Crawford, Patricia. (2017). Back to the Future With Patty Smith Hill. Childhood Education. 93. 213-217. 10.1080/00094056.2017.1325238.
Using technology during whole-group instruction can be beneficial for visual/auditory learners and students that have learning impairments. With adding technology into the daily curriculum teachers can incorporate a variety of media such as games, online quizzes/class assignments, PowerPoints, videos, and more. Allowing technology use can offer differentiation inside the classroom and give students a chance to work through many assignments/projects at their own pace (Let’s not forget about DAP principle #3 – Children learn and develop at varying rates). Having technology in an ECE can help with cognitive development, children have potential to gain necessary skills for reasoning and handling classwork, overall improvement of a child’s learning & growth by using certain programs students will get the chance to develop early literacy growth, being exposed to different educational platforms, and improvement of their overall work pace. Technology should not be looked at in a negative light, but it should be seen as the helping hand to improve learning and student engagement inside the classroom. Teachers have access to an entire digital world out there that can be used to improve their teaching skills that allow them to promote learning and create an active learning environment for ALL of their students. With proper guidance and support, students in ECE can conquer the use of technology and reap all the benefits in the end.
Nagro, S. A., Hooks, S. D., Fraser, D. W., & Cornelius, K. E. (2016). Whole-group response strategies to promote student engagement in inclusive classrooms. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 48(5), 243–249. https://doi.org/10.1177/0040059916640749
Costley, K. (2014) The Positive Effects of Technology on Teaching and Student Learning
Small group instruction is beneficial in ECE because it provides students with more modified and individualized instruction and teachers and students have a greater chance to interact with eachother. By doing small group literacy instruction teachers can provide their students with extensive assistance and feedback to improve their reading skills. Small group instruction is able to assist students with improving their reading fluency, encourages participation and learning to work well with others. When teachers do small group it allows them to focus on certain skills that are needed by each group of children. Small group instruction lines up with Vygotsky’s beliefs about children learn through being social, within these groups the students can not only talk to their peers, but they can also participate in hands on activities. In school when teachers are doing small group instruction word study can be integrated into the groups so students can practice how to use their prequiste word knowledge to decode words that are unfamiliar when they are reading. Providing small group instruction is a must because it gives students a chance to engage, create and problem solve independently, and overall progression with their reading abilities.
Berg, H., Nabors, D., Simpson, C., Timme, K., Wilson, T. (2012) Small-Group Reading Instruction: Lessons From the Field: Dimensions of Early Childhood, 40(3).
Math is one of the most important subjects that is taught in ECE because it provides students with the building blocks they will need throughout their entire life. Research has been shown that early math skills are important for children’s development. Math curricula and instruction in school as well as practicing math at home can assist with increasing each child’s math knowledge. It’s important for educators to use different media when teaching math such as manipulatives, board games, and fun activities. Teaching the importance of math in ECE provides a strong base for reasoning, estimation, and logical thinking when kids get older which in turn will help them excel when they move into higher grades. As students are in early elementary they are able to learn two main concepts which are numbers/how to use them and exploring shapes, sizes, and sequences. There are a variety of ways teachers and parents can get children interested in math, but it starts with laying down the foundation for them to develop an appreciation for math and all its uses. While in school the teachers should make sure they are using progress monitoring to ensure that the math instruction is building on the prerequisite knowledge of their students. As a teacher it is important to remember the DAP principle that kids learn/develop at different levels which needs to be taken into considerate while teaching such a intrinsic subject like Math.
Hardy, J. K., & Hemmeter, M. L. (2019). Systematic Instruction of Early Math Skills for Preschoolers at Risk for Math Delays. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 38(4), 234–247. https://doi.org/10.1177/0271121418792300
Literacy Instruction is important for kids because it helps with broadening their vocabulary and making it extensive. With literacy children’s creativity skills begin to develop, better concentration, as well as their cognitive development is improved. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Development, there are five areas that are important for students’ effective literacy instruction, those five skills are phonics, fluency, vocabulary, phonemic awareness, and comprehension. Phonics/Word recognition both deals with students being able to identify the relationship between words and decode/sound out those words, as well as being able to recognize words that are written down. Print concepts involve students knowing that print can be read and tell a story, knowing what the front and back of a book is knowledge of what direction they should be reading in, and more. Phonological Awareness is when students can understand and recognize words that are made up of different sound units, recognize patterns, and build on that prerequisite knowledge to read words on their own. Phonemic Awareness is known as the foundation of literacy development. It provides the foundation that students need in order to understand phonics which is the first step towards teaching students literacy. Lastly, fluency is when students are using their oral language, this allows students to be able to comprehend their readings as well as have effective communication skills. Students must be able to understand different print concepts, phonological awareness, fluency, and word recognition. In order for students to be successful with literacy, teachers need to make sure they are meeting the individual needs of each student. Without having proper foundation skills it will result in poor performance in many students. Learning how to read is a process that continues to build on a range of developing skills. Each child goes through each stage of literacy development at their own pace and that should be taken into consideration by their teachers.
Brown, C. (2014). Language and Literacy Development in the Early Years: Foundational Skills that Support Emergent Readers. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1034914.pdf
The design of a classroom is critical to a student’s learning. When looking at classroom design educators should pay attention to the space. The space of the classroom should be appealing to the students/ the learning centers should have appealing aspects as well. Many times, when the learning spaces amplify aesthetic vibes, it can assist with brain function in many students. The teacher should think about how desks and chairs are set up in the classroom, make sure students have room to move around if need be. Now let’s move on to furniture, teachers should have items that are comfy and age-appropriate (i.e., small couches, rugs, bean bags, etc.). When students walk into their classroom you want to capture their attention, this can be done by making the walls appealing to the eye. Displaying academic posters, students’ work, motivational quotes, anchor charts, etc. offers children something to look at while in the class. The more colorful a classroom is, the better! Students love color and enjoy having nice things to look at that will put them in a happy place. It’s always good to remember that sometimes less is more so when decorating walls in the class minimize the clutter. During the day instead of having the lights on allow natural light to peek into the classroom. So, to all my educators out there the next time you walk into your classroom I want you to stop and ask yourself “Is my classroom appealing to the eye?” and based on your answer that will let you know if you need a classroom makeover or not.
Why is classroom design so important – and how can you make changes to yours? | Latest News. (n.d.). Www.edu-Quip.co.uk. Retrieved March 29, 2020, from https://www.edu-quip.co.uk/blog/why-is-classroom-design-so-important
As an educator it’s important to have adequate classroom management skills. In order to be successful as a teacher we must take a deeper look into what effective classroom management is. Classroom management deals with behavior of students and how we as teachers handle that behavior. If a teacher constantly stops in the middle of his/her lesson to handle disruptions he/she is losing valuable time, time that could’ve been used to teach or review for a test. When dealing with classroom management and behavior teachers should start off by setting the tone for the school year on the first day, consistently go over with students’ the rules/expectations, and be consistent with giving consequences for bad behavior. Teachers being role models/modeling acceptable behavior and motivating students also plays a part in classroom management. As teachers we must put aside things we are going through once we step in the classroom, if we are having a bad day, we shouldn’t display that to the students because the negative energy could rub off on them. We must show up with a smile on our face ready to teach and get the students excited about the lesson that they are going to be learning about today. Good teaching is when the teacher is always motivating his/her students. Show your students that you care about them, and you want to see them succeed and try their best. Motivate your students to be the best version of themselves and not give up when things get hard. Teachers must build a relationship with their students, and they can easily do this by going the extra mile with helping a student that is having trouble, make learning fun for everyone, and showing genuine interest in each student. A child should come to school and feel that they are in a safe place and can be open with their teacher about the good, bad, and ugly, but for that to happen a relationship needs to be established and that relationship can begin on day one and progress/grow from there. Classroom management is all about encouraging positive behavior in students, but it starts with the teachers.
Sieberer-Nagler, K. (2015). Effective Classroom-Management & Positive Teaching. English Language Teaching, 9(1), 163. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v9n1p163
I enjoy using Padlet! I was introduced to this when I did one of my graduate classes in the Spring. I’m going to be adding some of the bulletin boards I have made in the past, so feel free to check them out for inspiration 🙂