Dear Mary-Margaret and Sarah,
I wanted to get your feedback on a situation that I've been noticing more and more. I'm an observer going to many different classrooms where they are seriously dedicated to improving interactions. That's great! But I've noticed that some programs are focusing so much on interactions that they've essentially started to neglect their room set up, and it seems to be causing some problems. What is a program to do? What are your thoughts?
That's a great question—such an important question that we recorded a conversation on this topic to post on our blog.
You'll hear me mention a slide from CLASS observation trainings breaking down the elements that affect learning in a classroom. Here's that lovely graphic:
Do you have any other questions about conducing CLASS observations, improving scores, or conducting CLASS-based professional development? Send them our way. You can find our contact information on the Teachstone team page. Click on me, Mary-Margaret Gardiner, or Sarah Hadden and send us your tricky CLASS questions!
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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!
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:
Across the nation, teachers learning about CLASS are asked to narrate their actions and sportscast their children’s experiences in order to support and encourage healthy language development. Hearing this, many teachers may wonder, “Will people think I’m crazy if I start talking to myself in the classroom?”
The answer is no. Self- and parallel talk are beneficial strategies for teachers to engage in because they strengthen language rich environments and enhance vocabulary development, all while supporting effective relationship building between teachers and children.
I recently heard a great analogy about the CLASS tool and I had to share it. I can’t take credit for the idea. Affiliate Trainer, Teresa Bockes, originated the concept, and I loved it the minute I heard it: CLASS is like a house. Let’s build a house step-by-step to learn more about this metaphor.