I’ll admit it: CLASS terms can be a little confusing. For example, problem solving in Concept Development sounds a lot like resolving problems in Teacher Sensitivity. So, what’s the difference?When I get stuck on a term, I always try to “bring it back to the dimension level” and think about how the term relates to the overall purpose of the dimension. Here, I’d look at Teacher Sensitivity and Concept Development as a whole, and then how resolving problems and problem solving fits into each.
Say you have two children squabbling over who gets to build a puzzle. Your immediate goal as you respond might be to address the problem and get the children engaged cooperatively in the puzzle. You might demonstrate great Teacher Sensitivity by being aware of the situation and responding quickly to help them resolve the issue: “I see you’re frustrated because you both want to build the same puzzle. How about you take turns putting in the pieces?” This is important—we want children’s problems quickly resolved so that they can feel comfortable and participate in activities.
But to “count” as Concept Development, we’d need to look at your goal in the interaction. If it’s to take advantage of an opportunity for children to think through how to resolve the problem, then you’ll interact to promote children’s higher-order thinking skills. You might ask the children arguing over the puzzle, “How can we work this out?” and encourage them to generate and consider strategies (such as turn-taking, working on separate areas and then joining the puzzle, working on different puzzles side-by-side, etc.) to solve the problem. In this case, you might both resolve the problem and engage the children in problem solving at the same time!
Clear as mud? Feel free to ask more about confusing CLASS tool terms!
Do you have fond childhood memories of sitting with a special adult and listening to them read one of your favorite stories? I vividly remember my dad reading The Elephant’s Child by Rudyard Kipling to me and how we laughed together at the funny voices he used. As an educator, you know how important those moments are for building warm connections, enjoying time together, and learning about many things. So, even if you missed out on those moments as a child, you want to create those moments for the children in your classroom. With careful planning, you can be confident that your read-alouds will be exciting, effective learning opportunities.
The majority of early childhood classrooms have at least one child who is a dual language learner (DLL) and this population is growing. One in three children from birth to age six speak a language besides English at home. Consequently, the majority of teachers need strategies on how to best support this group of students. We reached out to Veronica Fernandez, Developmental Psychologist and Research Scientist at the University of Miami for strategies she’s found most successful.
As part of our Teacher Spotlight series, we recently asked the CLASS Community to nominate a teacher whose high-quality classroom interactions are making a difference for their dual language learners. Our winner, Kim Schoell, has been teaching for 20 years and is currently a Pre-K teacher in Frederick County, VA. 67% of her students are Hispanic and many of the children are dual language learners.
When COVID-19 hit and schools shut down, many of us were certain that it would not impact the 2020-21 school year. But with the pandemic surging and some schools opening up - only to shut down again, it’s clear that COVID is still with us. The length of the pandemic has only heightened concern about COVID related learning loss - especially among underserved populations.