You and I both know: preschool teachers have their hands full. Literally!
Between the books, the toys, the wads of tissues, the snacks, the notes from moms—not to mention the small children on their laps and by their sides—preschool teachers are performing a heroic juggling act on a moment-to-moment basis. On top of all this, they have to stay on top of attendance, create plans and activities, and engage in their own professional development. It’s a lot. Sometimes it’s too much.
So, if you’re a preschool teacher, how can you stay on top of everything while keeping your cool? The secret, it may surprise you, could be found on your phone or tablet in the form of apps.
Yep, I said it: apps.
Say what you will about technology (I myself am a reluctant technology user). Yes, it’s created distractions, both on and off the road. Yes, it competes with our more human social interactions. And heck yes it’s hard to keep up with. But the fact is, technology makes our lives, and our jobs, easier. This is true for almost any profession—including teaching.
Here are 5 apps we think really can make a difference for preschool teachers.
The free version of the original Teacher Tool ($27.99), Teacher Tool One has everything you need to run your classroom. Part of its genius is its ability to record grades—not exactly applicable to preschool children—but it’s really so much more than that. You can use it record your schedule and lesson plans, your notes, absences, and all of your children’s identifying info: name, photo, phone numbers, etc.
No matter what grade you teach, problematic behavior can be an enormous distraction. Not only does it require time and energy to intervene and respond appropriately, but it also demands documentation. Teacher’s Assistant gives teachers a quick and easy way to keep track of problem behaviors as they happen. It even allows you to immediately contact parents with concerns (or praise!) directly from the app.
This is one of those apps that anyone, regardless of their job, can use to simplify their professional lives. Use it for creating notes, spreadsheets, presentations, even drawings. You’d be surprised how far 5 GB of free storage gets you, and what a relief it is to know that all your notes are safe on the cloud should you spill your coffee on your computer and fry your hard drive (it’s happened to me!).
Say you need to contact all of your children’s parents about an event or an important reminder (or emergency), but you don’t have the time to call or send text messages to each parent individually. Enter: Remind. This free app lets you safely message parents while keeping your phone number private.
We designed the Teachstone app with one thing in mind: saving teachers time and energy as they participate in professional development. If you’re engaged in MyTeachingPartner Coaching, your days of sending videos of your classroom interactions via snail mail are over! With the new app you can record classroom footage directly from your iOS device and instantly upload it to the Teachstone site for your coach to review.
There are no short cuts when it comes to good teaching, but there are plenty of shortcuts out there that can help teachers spend time on what really matters—namely, the teacher-child interactions that help children learn. We hope you take advantage of them and see what a difference an app can make.
The time has come for hard conversations.
That’s the feedback we have been receiving from educators across the country. There are plenty of tough conversations educators are trained, taught, or feel equipped to handle with children and families - gently bringing up a developmental concern, facilitating a disagreement between students, or explaining what happened with the classroom goldfish are all part of a day in the life. But in the last year, since the killing of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police, educators are increasingly asking for help in communicating more comfortably with young children about diversity and difference.
We’re still soaking up the wisdom shared by our many, many excellent speakers at the spring 2021 InterAct Summit. From its inception, Teachstone has been an organization based in research. Because the CLASS is reliable and valid, teachers and programs trust it to give meaningful, accurate, and actionable information. To learn more about the current work being done in the field, we invited co-founder Bob Pianta to give an update on new research findings.
I was supposed to be an architect, instead I was a teacher of young children; it felt like my calling.
When I started my coursework, they tasked me with visiting multiple classrooms. It overwhelmed me when in some classrooms, children were crying, teachers were frustrated, and no one seemed to enjoy the day. I thought I had made a mistake. Thankfully, I had a professor who inspired me to continue. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the behaviors I observed in both children and teachers, the professor charged me to uncover the root of those behaviors.
And so, my journey to support social-emotional development began.
At Teachstone, we are all in on early learning. The research shows us that, with the help of effective educators, there is so much potential to build a strong foundation for children’s learning well before elementary school. But some research, including the Head Start Impact Study and the research on Tennessee’s voluntary pre-K, has complicated the story. Researchers found that in some cases, gains made in early childhood education seemed to fade out by around third grade.
Follow-up research has added to the narrative.