A CLASS Observation Training is an interactive, content-packed experience, and even the most enthusiastic participants may find it difficult to think clearly as they gather their notebooks to head home at the end of day two. Of course we understand how busy everyone is leading up to a training, so none of the below is technically required of you to attend the training. However, a few minutes of preparation can give you a framework for the CLASS knowledge you’re about to gain, enriching the experience for you and everyone around you!
This can be a big obstacle to preparedness, and it isn’t always possible to get your materials well in advance of your training. Speak to whoever is organizing your training and see if they can work with you to get your materials. These materials include your CLASS manual, which you’ll use to assign scores after each observation, as well as several other valuable CLASS resources. If you can’t get materials in advance, check out the Teachstone website and all of its free resources. Here are two to get you started:
This clip gives a quick summary of why we’re doing what we do here at Teachstone, and why the CLASS tool can be so valuable to so many children around the world.
The CLASS manual is soon to be your observation bible—you’ll use it to assign scores after each and every CLASS observation you conduct. Check out the first two chapters of your new manual for a research background and overview of the different uses of the tool, as well as for observation protocols and procedures. Much of this information will be covered during the training, but it will be very helpful if you go into the training with a basic understanding of how the tool is to be used.
Next, read through the face pages for each of the CLASS Dimensions. These overviews included definitions and the basic structure of the tool. Each Dimension consists of a series of Indicators, broken down further by a series of Behavioral Markers. These Behavioral Markers are the specific pieces of evidence that you’ll look for as an observer. Behavior Markers are organized by Indicators, which are given a range score of Low, Mid, or High. All the Indicators are taken into consideration to help you score the Dimension on a numerical score between 1 and 7. Don’t worry. You’ll become very familiar with during the course of your CLASS training. But, having a basic understanding of how the tool is put together will make your experience much more beneficial.
After reading through the face pages, the detailed descriptions are up next. Behind the face page for each Dimension is an extensive detailed description of the Low, Mid, and High ranges for each Dimension. Don’t feel like you need to sit down and read these descriptions thoroughly, but the more familiar you become with these descriptions, the faster and more accurate your CLASS coding will be!
Another useful resource available to you prior to the training is online—the CLASS Video Library. This is a collection of short clips that demonstrate Behavioral Marker evidence in real life classrooms. I’d encourage you to watch a couple clips for each Dimension. As you watch the clips, think about how you would capture this evidence of effective teacher-child interactions efficiently and objectively in your own notes if you were conducting an observation.
Everyone is busy leading up to a training, and we don’t have unrealistic expectations! If you show up having done nothing but glance over the Teachstone website, you won’t be left in the dark. Your CLASS trainer is well equipped to bring you up to speed over the course of the 2-day event. However, if you can spend a few minutes beforehand reviewing your material, you’ll find the training to be far more enjoyable, less stressful, and more productive.
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So, you’re dual-certified on the Infant and Toddler CLASS® tools. Congrats! Not only can you observe in Infant classrooms (birth to 18 months) and Toddler classrooms (15 to 36 months), but you can also observe in classrooms that contain a mix of the two age levels. If you are observing in a classroom with three age levels, as there often are in Family Day Homes, check out this guidance.
Observing in mixed age classrooms may seem daunting, but it’s completely doable. If you’re preparing to do Infant/Toddler CLASS observations, read on to get solutions to three of the most common challenges when observing in a mixed-age setting.
There is always an opportunity for interaction. Some opportunities are easily recognizable: times of play, free choice, centers, small group. We often see teachers engaged in activities alongside children during these times or hear questions being asked. Other opportunities might be a little less obvious. These are the times of your day that you might see as mundane moments that merely require your supervision or monitoring. The times where you’re going through the motions. “I’m doing this thing so I can move on to the next thing.”
In a previous blog, colleague and early childhood environment extraordinaire, Heather Sason, discussed how your classroom environment can help promote effective teacher-child interactions. In this blog, I propose we explore some of the often overlooked times in your day that are ripe for interactions with children and that do promote exploration, learning, and development!
Practice and feedback is the key to CLASS® success. Even the most experienced certified CLASS Observers need practice and feedback to make sure their classroom observations remain fair and accurate. The best way to provide this is to use our Calibration product. Calibration protects your investment in reliable data collection.
Online Calibrations are available for Certified CLASS observers at all 6 CLASS levels. When you purchase an individual calibration, you’ll receive a video to watch and code on your myTeachstone dashboard. After submitting your codes, you’ll get an automated score report and a prerecorded webinar discussing the master codes.
Calvary City Academy & Preschool closed on March 13, along with most programs in Florida. While closed, we had much to prepare for reopening. While children were home, we prepared packets to send home, met with children virtually, and even hosted things like field day, spirit week, and graduation virtually! Even with those successes, we were so happy to be able to return to being in-person when we reopened in June. Since June, we’ve learned a lot. Here’s what’s working for us: