Cierra Johnson, Trainer |
Cierra is a Texan through and through, having lived in Austin, Texas for most of her life. She I have been using CLASS for almost 3 years. Prior to come to Teachstone, she served as a mentor coach for a Quality Initiatives Program. Cierra is currently working on a graduate degree in Early Childhood Education with a Specialization in Adult Learning Principles at Walden University.
Cierra conducts Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K Observation trainings.
Cierra is always up for a new challenge! She loves to travel and meet new people, which makes her an ideal member of the training team. When she’s not training, Cierra can usually be found planning her next trip or just hanging out with friends.
Have you ever wished for a magical power that helped you take notes super effectively while conducting CLASS observations? The kind of magical power that paints an exact picture of what happened in the classroom without actually being there? Yeah, me too!
A few months ago, I gave a training to a group of early childhood professionals over the Infant CLASS. As I was going over one of the indicators titled, Awareness and Cue Detection, I read the high range description on the face-page:
“Teachers consistently physically orient toward the majority of the infants and regularly look around the room. Teachers continuously acknowledge infants whether or not they are making bids for attention, by talking to them or giving them a nod or smile.”
In every CLASS Observation Training, there is always one video that is my favorite. I know--they say we aren’t supposed to have favorites, but when it comes to training videos, I just can’t help myself!
Floor Drum is the fourth video in the Toddler CLASS Observation Training and it's my favorite. Did you know that the video sequence in every observation training is totally intentional? That’s right, there is very specific rationale behind the order of the training videos, and each video accomplishes a different goal. It creates a purposeful journey for CLASS observation training participants!
I remember the first time I walked out my house and saw the used 2000 GMC Yukon that my dad had purchased for me. It was bright red and huge compared to my 5’3” self. There was just one small problem—I didn’t know how to drive. The agreement was that the car would be mine if I passed the driver’s test. I thought to myself, “How hard could it be? I have seen people drive my entire life!”
Have you ever wished for a magical power that helped you, and your observers-in-training, take notes super effectively? The kind of magical power that would allow you to capture everything you see and hear without missing a beat? The kind of magical power that paints an exact picture of what happened in the classroom without actually being there? Yeah, me too!
There are many ways to introduce dimensions for any CLASS tool. I have observed several trainers to see how he or she introduces the dimensions, and you know what? Although different trainers have different approaches to this, they are all effective. When I am training, I have to remember the main focus of what I am doing and that is teaching. Perfection is an illusion, but effective is attainable.
Every time I train, I always try to find ways to make the materials relatable to the participants’ lives, either by telling stories or by giving context to the materials. Recently, I found a new way to introduce the manual and the trifold: a way to help participants understand the difference between the two.
When I first became a CLASS trainer, I was so excited to see that the PowerPoint notes explained exactly what I needed to say and do for each slide in the presentation. In addition, the exemplar video descriptions and the Master Code Justifications had all of the information I needed to discuss the videos, including examples of interactions for each indicator and summaries that explained how the master coding team arrived at the score. “Ah yes, “ I thought, “I am all set to go. All I have to do is memorize the words and the paragraphs, right?” Wrong! The CLASS is so much more than scripts and the training is no exception.