As the Senior Specialist for Coaching, Vicki supports coaches and specialists in the MyTeachingPartner (MTP) program. Whether it is helping coaches individualize feedback for their teachers or developing coaching curricula, Vicki uses her skills to research and implement innovative ways to address teachers’ professional development needs. When she isn’t at the office, Vicki enjoys hanging out with her daughter and hubby, exploring Memphis (blues, anyone?), and going to dance or yoga class.
We’ve all been there—the spring semester is looming around the corner. Although you have the gist of the syllabus planned, the details still need to be worked out. Assignments need to be finalized and engaging classroom activities need to be developed.
Here are a few ideas that you might be able to adapt for your course.
A little after my daughter’s first birthday, she was playing with a small, elephant pull toy. She would try to push it, but it would get stuck on the attached string. After that happened a few times, she tried to bunch the string up and put it on top of the elephant. That didn’t work, so then she tried putting the bunch of string in the hole on the elephant. That failed too. Finally, she decided to put the string over her shoulder while she pushed. The string stayed and she was able to push the elephant, unencumbered.
We all know that Concept Development captures how teachers promote children’s higher-order thinking skills. We can define the indicators and give examples of the behavioral markers. We can identify when teachers are using types of interactions. We can even help teachers take an engaging lesson plan and find some ways to incorporate effective Concept Development into the activity.
As a first-year preschool teacher, I would wake up early one Saturday every month to attend a teaching workshop at a local college. Some of these workshops provided me with new activities and materials to use in my classroom. Others, however, left me wondering why I woke up so early and how I might incorporate the information into my classroom in meaningful ways. And I still found myself wanting help in the place I needed it most: my daily interactions with the children.
We spend a lot of time at Teachstone thinking about teachers—pre-service teachers just starting to learn about classroom interactions and in-service teachers who have years of experience but are looking for ways to improve their practices. We ask ourselves questions like, “What do teachers need to implement effective interactions in their classrooms?” and “How can we support such behavioral change in teachers?”
Recently, a Science article assessing over 600 centers in multiple states highlighted that current ways of assigning quality ratings in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) may not differentiate quality levels or predict important child outcomes. In light of that study, it is important to think about how the findings relate to individual states and their systems of quality measurement.