Pre-K News

Bonnilee Flanagan

EDU 673: Instructional Strategies for Differentiated Teaching &Learning

April 14, 2014

Dr. Kathleen Schoenecker

A Safe and Secure Classroom


Our preschool classroom is a community of learners. In order to create an environment that is conducive to learning, we are all responsible for taking care of it. This includes establishing and following classroom rules, behaving in a pro-social manner and establishing a positive rapport with peers and teachers. My proactive approach to classroom management will ensure that my student’s will learn and grow in a safe and secure educational environment.

Differentiated Instruction

Every child is unique. In order to ensure that every student maximizes their fullest potential, teachers need to incorporate a variety of materials, instructional strategies and techniques. Differentiating instruction means taking into consideration students preferred learning styles, cultures, gender, interests and readiness levels. “Differentiating instruction is a process of reminding us that while our goal in teaching is to teach the content, we are also teaching the content to the child” (Puckett, 2013).

Why Differentiation is Important!

Differentiation allows students to have multiple options for acquiring content, taking in information, and expressing their learning. It is imperative that teachers provide their students with choices. Differentiation promotes individuality, responsibility and motivation. Therefore, it will be an essential component in our Pre-K classroom.

“Teaching and learning is an interactive process where all parties benefit when students feel safe, know what's expected, are challenged, and realize they are valued as human beings” (Sutliff, Higginson, Allstot, 2008).

A Positive Learning Environment

A positive learning environment is created when students have a clear definition of their teacher’s expectations regarding their behavior and learning. There are several ways that this can be established. First, teachers and students need to establish a clear and concise set of classroom rules. These rules should be specific and in terms that the students are able to understand. Secondly, teachers need to set high expectations for their students. Thirdly, educators need to teach their students in engaging and stimulating means. Lastly, teachers need to establish a positive rapport with their students. They need to respect their thoughts, feelings and interests. Every student should feel like a valued member of the classroom community.

How the social and emotional needs will be addressed!

The social and emotional needs of each of my students will be addressed by creating a safe atmosphere for my students to grow and learn in. I will encourage each of my students to take risks, explore their interests and share their ideas. I will develop positive relationships with each of my student’s. Teachers who convey respect and caring for their students, motivate them to learn. I will empower each of my students by treating them like individuals. I will provide them with knowledge and skills to ensure that they are cognitively sound. Most importantly, I will get to know each of my students by building real-life connections with them. This will create a bond of trust between my student’s and myself.

Elimination of student's fears regarding failure and humiliation

Student fear of failure and humiliation will hopefully be eliminated early in the year. Students will be reminded daily until it becomes engrained, that it is ok to make mistakes. Opportunities will be provided for students to take risks, challenge their abilities and demonstrate their intelligence. All while being received by classmates in a pro-social manner.

Pre-K work samples

Examples of Pre-k student work include but are not limited to art projects, writing samples, literacy samples, math samples, fine motor samples and science samples. The math, literacy and writing samples are based on the Pre-K Common Core State Standards. The art projects, fine motor samples and science samples are based on the Creative Curriculum Standards. One sample from each criterion will be collected weekly and placed into individual student portfolios. Students will also be responsible for independent work as well as collaborative group work.

Specific Examples of Pre-K Work Samples

· Patterning

· Sorting by color, shape and size

· Demonstrating one to one correspondence with stickers, stamps and bingo markers

· Charts and graphs

· Writing letters and name

· Sequencing stories with picture cards

· Cutting simple shapes and lines

· Painting, drawing and coloring to represent ideas

· Observing and drawing the stages of a flower

Assessments

“Assessment is the use of a variety of procedures to collect information about learning and instruction” (Johnson, Jenkins, 2009). The two types of assessment that will be used in our classroom are formative and summative. Formative assessment or assessment for learning, will include observations, questioning, performance tasks and anecdotal records. Summative assessments or assessments of learning, will include the Battelle Standardize Test, a Creative Curriculum Checklist, and student portfolios. Each assessment will measure the student’s progress towards meeting the instructional objectives and intended curriculum’s goals.

Students will be provided with opportunities for success!

Our classroom will be well organized and orderly. Nametags, labels and icons will be represented throughout the classroom to foster the student’s independence. We will follow a daily predictable schedule. “When time is blocked out in an orderly and consistent fashion, children tend to feel safe and secure and develop increasing independence” (Dodge, Colker, Hermon, 2003). Well prepared instructional plans and the incorporation of a variety of materials will ensure that the students are learning in authentic and relevant ways. When teachers are well organized, students become engaged in meaningful learning experiences. Therefore, they are able to establish a sense of accomplishment and success.

References

Dodge, D., Colker, L., Hermon, C. (2003). The Creative Curriculum for Preschool. Washington, DC: Quality Books.

Johnson, E., Jenkins, J. (2009). Formative and Summative Assessment. Retrieved from www.education.com/reference/article/formative-and- summative-assessment

Pucket, K. (2013). Differentiating Instruction: A Practical Guide. Bridgepoint Education: San Diego, CA.

Sutliff, M., Higginson, J., Allstot, S. (2008). Building a Positive Learning Environment for Students: Advice for Beginning Teachers. A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators. 22(1), 31-33.