We recently reposted a popular blog post about asking open-ended questions. We are thrilled that early childhood educators are becoming more intentional about engaging children in meaningful learning conversations. But has this ever happened to you?
Teacher: Why did you decide to put the triangle-shaped block on top?
Teacher: Because why?
I think all educators would agree that there is a skill to crafting and asking open-ended questions. Did you know there is also a learning curve for answering these wonderful questions that require thought and more than a one-word response? When teachers ask an open-ended question, the focus of the conversation switches to the child. To formulate an answer, the child needs time to pause, think, and reflect. Some children are used to this type of inquiry while others need practice to become comfortable verbalizing their thoughts and opinions.
So, how can we help children develop the skills necessary to answer open-ended questions?
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.
It’s Dual Language Learner Celebration Week! Every year in the U.S., the amount of young children who live in a household where a language other than English is spoken has been steadily increasing. As of 2016, about one-third of children under age 8 – over 11 million children – are dual language learners (DLLs).
As an infant classroom teacher, you know that talking to babies is important. For instance, you tell the infants in your care what they are looking at (“You see the new block basket on the shelf!”). You label objects (“You have the red ball!”). And you describe events that take place in the classroom (“The tray just fell off the table! That scared you.”). These are all examples of talking with babies. Why, then, can it be so challenging to do this consistently in the classroom?