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Coaching Tip: Use Everyday Examples to Break Down Tricky CLASS Concepts

22 Jun 2015 by Emily Doyle

A professional development plan for effective teaching strategies.


Carmen is an education coordinator mentoring a preschool teacher, Brittany. Through the course of their year working together, Carmen has explained, in detail, the definition of each CLASS dimension, along with some examples of what these behaviors might look like in a classroom. Brittany mostly gets it. Behaviors like “setting clear expectations” are familiar. Maybe she didn’t always call it “CLASS,” but Brittany has seen firsthand how important it is to provide clear behavioral expectations in her three years as a teacher.

But there are a few CLASS behaviors that are trickier, mostly because they don’t come as naturally to Brittany and she’s not really thought about them before.

Coaching Tip:

As a coach, Carmen could try providing real-world, adult examples that Brittany might be able to relate to.

The charts below provide some ways she might do this using some commonly tricky Concept Development behaviors. 


Dimension: Concept Development
Indicator: Creating
Behavioral Marker: Brainstorming
Everyday Example: Have you ever thrown a birthday party? Before you got started baking the cake and decorating the house, you probably did some brainstorming, listing everything you might need for the party. It might have looked like this:
  • Food/Beverages
  • Invitations
  • Gifts
  • Decorations
  • Music


Dimension:  Concept Development
Indicator: Creating
Behavioral Marker: Planning
Everyday Example: Now imagine you’ve brainstormed and created a list of everything you might need for the party. It’s time to start planning, starting with the invitations—What will they look like? Who will receive an invitation? What will be the date, time, and location?


Dimension: Concept Development
Indicator: Creating
Behavioral Marker: Producing
Everyday Example: Now that you’ve planned the invitation details, you are ready to create it. You design your invitations using materials, images, and text.


Carmen might also follow up by asking questions to promote further discussion:

  • Consider how brainstorming, planning, and producing worked together. It went from broad (listing what it takes to throw a party) down to the literal creation of invitations. How might a process like this relate to the classroom?
  • Do children have opportunities to build from brainstorming to planning to producing?
  • How might you set up a chance for children to follow similar behaviors?  

What strategies might you use to support Brittany’s understanding of these tricky CLASS concepts?


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