Sherilyn (Sheri) joined the Teachstone team the summer of 2013. During her years serving as a Head Start Education Coordinator, Sheri became a CLASS observer and then an affiliate CLASS trainer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Child Development/Family Studies from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Her professional experience also includes child-care directing, preschool teaching, parent education, and training adults in the field.
Sheri resides in Elkhart, Indiana—though she is a Michigander through and through! She enjoys writing and reading poetry, visiting historic sites and landmarks, watching really good movies, and spending time with family!
Favorite Teacher: Mr. Harrison, 11th–12th grade (US History)
I was well steeped in the Pre-K tool when I attended my first Toddler CLASS training and I remember feeling pretty confident. The Dimensions were fairly similar to pre-K, and I know toddlers and toddler classrooms. What could possibly go wrong?
How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I posed that question to a random selection of contacts via text message. What did I discover? One behavior stood out: everyone spreads on the PB first, then the J. There are a variety of ways though to apply the jelly (sometimes on the separate piece of bread, sometimes right on top of the peanut butter; some use the same knife, some use a new knife, etc.), but in my sampling group the jelly always comes second.
If you are a Pre-K Affiliate Trainer, you may be growing a little weary of the training video, “Making Butterflies.” It may surprise you to hear this, but as a staff trainer for Teachstone, “Making Butterflies” happens to be one of my favorite videos in the Pre-K CLASS Observation Training.
“WHAT?” you may have just asked your computer screen out loud!
Yes, it’s true. We trainers need a video like “Making Butterflies” in our trainer toolbox; it is a valuable experience for your participants, and it supports them in becoming objective, reliable CLASS observers. Here are three reasons why you too should embrace this video:
There are videos in CLASS observation trainings that push participants’ “buttons” and challenge their objectivity. You know the ones. Regardless of the age level you are training on, you can usually count on the second video being one of them. Smattered throughout the agenda, there is usually another video that gets under at least one participant’s skin.
The science is in on New Year’s resolutions. According to a recent article by Bob Sulilvan in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, about half of us will resolve to change something in 2016, and about half of those resolvers will have given up by Valentine’s Day (that makes sense to me, I mean, the chocolate alone!). In spite of those odds, I love a good couple of New Year’s resolutions. Setting meaningful CLASS goals for the rest of your school or program year don’t have to be overwhelming, in fact, the simpler the better!
We Teachstone trainers often have participants in our trainings that have previously attended a CLASS Observation training. Some participants are returning to become reliable observers in another age group, while others have, at some time in the past, let their certification expire. No matter the reason a trainee is attending another CLASS observation training, someone will express sincere surprise during the portion of training that covers the CLASS coding process. We have heard comments such as, “I’ve never heard CLASS scoring trained like this before!” or “Thank you, this makes so much more sense, I can’t wait to try out coding in my classrooms now!”
Personal biases can challenge observers assessing the quality of teacher-child interactions with the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). In Assessment in Early Childhood, author Sue Wortham (2005) states that “one cause of observer bias is differences in value systems. It is easy to apply one’s own value system when observing in a school” (pg.114).