In preparing summer professional development for teachers, my district knew we wanted CLASS to play a larger role in our trainings. But how were we going to do that?
Once we began writing our training on centers we decided to videotape some of our model teachers to highlight interactions in each specific center—in essence, we wanted to create our own internal version of the CLASS Video Library.
After my colleague and I first captured clips, it was clear that we should not plan on pursuing videography as a career. We deleted the shaky and silent videos and went back to our teachers the week before school ended to ask if we could please tape one more time. This time we had someone with steady hands film us.
Yesterday I sat in a room with three of my colleagues where we watched videos, scored them, and determined which dimension each video best highlighted. Then, it was time to watch my video.
All I wanted to do was run out of the room.
Of course I had already watched my videos (at least five times each) and I could only see the interactions I missed (and that I had no idea my voice was so high-pitched!). There was the child who wanted to show me his drawing and I never turned and acknowledged him. And I missed the opportunity to use parallel talk while a child drew at the art table.
Luckily I was in the room with three very skilled coaches who used their CLASS lens to help me see how all the repetition and extension I used not only provided a model of correct syntax and complex language structure, but also gave the child affirmation, which extended her participation in the activity.
And yes, they too saw my missed opportunity to turn and acknowledge the child who wanted to show off his work, but they also pointed out how many children who came over that I did acknowledge. The students saw me as a source of support, a behavior marker in Teacher Sensitivity. Through our conversation I also saw sparks I missed or let fizzle and we discussed what I could have done differently to turn the child’s spark into a positive interaction.
After an entire school year of immersing myself in CLASS, watching a clip of myself interacting with students was the perfect ending to the year. I am certain my interactions will improve, and now I have a deeper appreciation for all of my teachers that are willing to videotape their interactions to improve outcomes for students.
I can’t wait for our summer professional development to begin so our teachers can view our new homemade CLASS clips and be ready to interact with our pre-K students next school year (I’m also hoping no one notices the shaky video clips)!
Kelly Brennion is an Instructional Specialist in the Early Childhood & Community Partnerships Department in Dallas ISD. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education with a specialization on Early Childhood Education from Baylor University and a Master’s in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University Commerce. Kelly has spent her entire education career working with students, teachers and administrators in Dallas ISD where she is passionate about ensuring the promise of school is fulfilled for all students.
In the wake of the widespread civil unrest after the killing of George Floyd, the national conversation about the inequities in the educational opportunities provided white students and students of color has been amplified. Due to racial and socioeconomic segregation, Black students, and other students of color, are more likely to attend poorly funded schools. EdBuild, a non-profit focused on fair and equitable school funding, reports that high poverty school districts that predominantly enroll children of color receive on average, $1,600 less per student than the national average. By their calculations, there is a $23,000,000,000 gap between funding for schools that primarily serve high poverty Black students and those that predominantly serve white students. Schools that predominantly serve high poverty white students, only receive $1440 less per student (EdBuild, 2019).
Teachers everywhere have yet another new challenge—supporting students and their families from home. We know that high-quality interactions, including interesting, hands-on experiences that are facilitated and supported with feedback, scaffolding, and higher-order thinking questions, best support young students' learning. So how do you help your students' caregivers offer the same high-quality interactions while at home? Well, Rachel Giannini has some super fun ideas to share! The following are ideas she shared during her session at our recent InterAct CLASS Summit.
When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
Since the coronavirus has disrupted many of our in-person plans, you might be trying to figure out how you can transition in-person coaching to online coaching. Online coaching can open a number of doors for coaches and teachers that might not be an option in face-to-face work.