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!
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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!
It's not uncommon for teachers in early education to need to strike a balance between following children's leads and sticking to the classroom schedule. We know that intentional teachers are aware of their responsibility to assess student progress, understand skill mastery, and plan accordingly to provide opportunities for children to grow. However, many times, as teachers begin a specific teacher-directed activity, it is unsettling when students begin to veer from the step-by-step plans the teacher has worked hard to implement.
Teacher and coach, Colleen Schmit, will share how teachers can strike the balance between following the lesson plans and giving children freedom of choice and flexibility in the classroom.
We’re more than a month into the school year, and many educators and school leaders are feeling tired or burnt out already. That’s normal in any school year, as the newness of back-to-school wanes and the reality of a long year ahead kicks in. But, this year, that tiredness may feel like it has never felt before. Chalkbeat has reported that teacher vacancies are up in 18 of 20 large school districts, and it’s not surprising. Many are exhausted after a difficult year and a half (to put it mildly!). Many are also leaving the profession in droves to find work in competitive environments that provide a substantially larger salary.
As an educator, you’re busy. Your time is being split by competing priorities, from managing students’ needs, meeting your program’s goals, and communicating with parents. While you’re juggling your work, it can be difficult to keep learning about important ways to improve your daily teaching practice. Teachstone is here to help!