Phoenix Institute Student Achievement Toolkit by KzZVA3if


									Phoenix Institute Student Achievement Toolkit
Pre-Kindergarten: Overall Guidance
Welcome to Phoenix Institute and congratulations on receiving an Early Childhood placement! This
document serves as an overall guide for your institute experience, documents/resources at your disposal,
and some important tips about working with 3/4/5 year olds. Remember to reach out to your CMAs and
FAs for support and further guidance.

Structure of ECE at Institute:

During Institute, you will be in a 3- or 4-person collaborative. There will be two members of your
collaborative in the classroom at all times; one person will be functioning as the lead teacher, and the
other will be the support teacher. This set-up mimics your likely experience of having an assistant teacher
to work with when you get back to your region. When you review the ECE schedule document, take note
of how the lead and support teachers rotate roles and classroom time throughout the day.

One of the biggest differences between ECE and lower elementary classrooms at Institute is that in ECE
classrooms there are more, smaller subject areas taught in smaller chunks of time. In fact, the amount of
time you spend in direct, whole-group instruction should be very limited. This is directly related to the
developmental level of the 3/4/5-year-olds and their limited attention spans. Following this ISAT will lead
to the best achievement outcomes for your students in a short amount of time, and will likely mimic what
your day will look like in your region (keeping in mind that all regions and ECE sites have different
expectations, structures, and guidelines). Each day, you will teach the following things:

   Major Emphasis                                   Components
                                                     Opening Circle
   Academic Intervention Hour                        Classroom Newsletter
                                                     Centers/Small Group Instruction
                                                     Phonological and Phonemic Awareness
   Literacy Block I – Working With Words             Word Study
                                                     Writing
                                                     Music and Movement
   Literacy Block II – Reading Comprehension         Shared Read Aloud
                                                     Literacy Workstations
                                                     Calendar and Weather
   Math Block                                        Whole-group Mini Lesson
                                                     Math Centers/Small Group Instruction
                                                     Science
   Science Block                                     Closing Circle
                                                     Read Aloud

Additionally, during Institute you will receive more specific ECE professional development at Institute
Learning Teams.

Overview of Documents and Resources:

There are many documents and resources for you in the Institute Student Achievement Toolkit. The
following is a list of the document titles, overall content, and uses for the documents:
Document Title                      Overall Content                        When to Use?
Pre-K Overall Guidance              Overview of ECE at Institute,            Before you do anything else
                                    documents & resources, and
                                    important things to know about
                                    working with young children.
Pre-K Daily Schedule                Daily schedule breakdown for 3- and       Daily
                                    4-person collaboratives
Pre-K Objective Calendar            The objectives to be taught each          Planning
                                    week for every subject area
Pre-K Assessments                   Overview, Instructions, Materials,        Diagnostic Assessment
                                    Scoring sheets for Reading Comp,          Summative Assessment
                                    Math, Writing, and Word Study.            OSAT
Pre-K Cent.WorkStation.SmGroup      Guidance for planning and                 Planning for Academic
Guidance                            implementing centers, workstations,        Intervention Hour
                                    and small group experiences in the        Planning for Literacy Block II
                                    classroom                                 Planning for Math Block
Pre-K Music Movement & Social       Guidance for planning                     Planning for Academic
Emotional                           opening/closing circle and music &         Intervention Hour
                                    movement, with a focus on                 Planning for Literacy Block 2
                                    social/emotional elements.                Planning for Science Block
Pre-K Math                          Math Guidance and Unit Plan               Planning for Math Block
Pre-K PPA                           Phonological and Phonemic                 Planning for Literacy Block 1
                                    Awareness Guidance and Unit Plan
Pre-K Word Study                    Word Study Unit Plan                      Planning for Literacy Block 1
Pre-K Writing                       Writing Unit Plan                         Planning for Literacy Block 1
Pre-K Shared Read Aloud Guidance    Shared Read Aloud Guidance and            Planning for Literacy Block 2
and Reading Comprehension Unit      Unit Plan for Reading
Plan                                Comprehension
Pre-K Science                       Science Guidance and Unit Plan            Planning for Science Block
Pre-K LP Templates                  Lesson plan templates for each block      Lesson Planning
                                    (Intervention Hour, Lit Block I, Lit
                                    Block II, Math, Science)
Pre-K LP Samples                    Examples lesson plans for each            Lesson Planning

We understand that this is a lengthy set of documents to read and internalize, and although we believe it
is important to read every single thing, we know that your time at Institute is limited. You should read
everything at some point, but here is a recommended order in which to tackle the information:

    1.   Pre-K Overall Guidance
    2.   Pre-K Daily Schedule
    3.   Pre-K Objective Calendar
    4.   Pre-K Assessment Documents
    5.   Centers/Small Groups/Workstations Guidance
    6.   Music & Movement and Social Emotional Guidance
    7.   The guidance document, unit plan, and sample lessons for the subject block you are teaching*

*Make sure to read the entire guidance document and unit plan BEFORE you begin planning for a new

Important Tips for Working with Young Children:
Throughout Institute you will learn many things about working with and teaching young children. In this
section of the overall guidance, you will find some tips about development, behavior, emotions, meals &
snacks, transitions, messiness, and tone of voice. This is by no means a comprehensive document with
everything you will need to know! Your CS sessions and Institute staff will be sharing more information
with you throughout the summer, however this is a great place to start. Working with young children is
incredibly rewarding, but having some key information up front will help you walk into your classroom on a
path toward success. Keep in mind that for many kids, this may be their first experience with formal
schooling of any sort. You are setting the tone for their understanding and expectations of “school”. Be
patient and make it positive!

Some of you may not have had much interaction or experience with 3/4/5 year olds – there is a lot to
learn! Visit for documents that outline typical developmental milestones
for young children. Having an idea of what kids in your class should be able to do will help you set
realistic expectations for behavior and plan developmentally appropriate activities. It is important to
remember that children develop at different rates in different areas – you might have a child in your class
that has incredible math skills but struggles with fine motor skills and barely presses hard enough on
paper to color a picture. Or you might have a child in your class that plays well with others, organizes
play, shares, solves problems, and is fun to be around but has not developed one-to-one correspondence
when counting objects. Knowing your students and their developmental levels in all areas is incredibly
important. Also, keep in mind that although a child might be bigger/taller than his/her peers does not
necessarily mean that he/she is also developmentally advanced. This can be tricky in early childhood!

The 3/4/5 year olds in your class will not necessarily know how to “behave”. Don’t assume they do! They
must be explicitly taught and reminded of expectations constantly. Many find it helpful to think of
misbehavior as “mistaken behavior”. If children knew how to get their needs met in socially appropriate
ways, they would do it. So, when a child hits/kicks/bites another student, throws materials in frustration,
runs away when being redirected, etc., remember that if they knew how to get their needs met in other
ways, they would. It is your job to teach them those other ways! All children learn in the context of
relationships – it will be extremely important for you to begin building positive relationships with your
students on the first day of school.

Positive Guidance is a series of strategies that are very effective in working with children who are not
meeting behavior expectations. The following are Positive Guidance strategies from Creative Curriculum:

                Strategy                                 Description                                     Example

                                                                                         You notice two children fighting over the
                                          Conflict Resolution teaches children
                                                                                         arch blocks in the construction area.
                                          how to express their wants and needs, to
                                                                                         Instead of solving the problem for the
                                          balance their wants with the wants of
                                                                                         children or chasing the children away
Teach children how to resolve conflicts   others, and to work together for win-win
                                                                                         because they aren’t sharing, you work
                                          solutions to problems. Learning how to
                                                                                         through the conflict resolution process
                                          resolve social problems is one of the
                                                                                         with them so that they solve their own
                                          biggest social lessons in the early years.

                                          Choices support a young child’s need to
                                          be independent, capable, and in charge.
                                          They give children control over what is        “Do you want to put away the long blocks
                                          happening. Limit choices to two. Make          first or the square blocks?”
Offer two acceptable choices              sure that both choices are acceptable to
                                          you and the child. Don’t offer an              Would you like to walk inside like a
                                          unrealistic or unacceptable choice (“You       monkey or crawl inside like a dog?”
                                          may come with me now or you may live
                                          on the playground forever.”).

                                          Active Listening sends a message to
                                          children that you understand what they         When you don’t choose Gena to be the
                                          are trying to say…either with their words      reading helper, she lies down in the
Use active listening
                                          or their behaviors. Often, once a child        middle of the circle and hides her head in
                                          feels heard, he will regain self-control and   her arms. You say, “You really wanted to
                                          integrate himself back into the activity or    be the page turner today, didn’t you?”
                                           situation.                                   She looks up and nods, and comes to sit
                                                                                        by you when you motion to her.

                                                                                        You notice Meri standing outside the
                                           Having a friend and being a friend are       Dramatic Play Area watching the other
                                           important tasks for young children. Model,   children play without joining in. You enter
Help children make friends
                                           coach, and teach friendship skills and the   the play yourself and invite her in to make
                                           language needed for turn taking, entering    some lunch for you and help integrate her
                                           play, sharing, and solving problems.         into the play.

                                                                                        Transition from lunch to rest time has
                                           Predictable rituals and routines help        been full of minor incidents of physical
                                           anxious children relax and feel in control   aggression. You decide to establish a
                                           of what is going to happen next.             clearly defined routine – potty, wash, get
Establish regular rituals and routines
                                           Unpredictability is one of the most          a book, and go on your cot. After a few
                                           common triggers for inappropriate            days of learning the new routine, you
                                           behavior of children.                        notice the after lunch transition is much
                                                                                        more peaceful.

                                           Reflecting feelings before guiding or
                                           redirecting behavior helps children          “I hear you. You really want to stay
                                           develop impulse control by clearly           outside now. But it’s time to go in for
Reflect feelings before guiding behavior   separating feelings and behavior. The        lunch and we’ll come out again later.
                                           message is that all feelings are okay, but   Would you like to carry the clipboard for
                                           that behaviors have guidelines and           me?”

                                           The Big Rule-Little Rule strategy for
                                           rules and limits uses one of your three or   “We need to take care of our things. Let’s
State the big rule and the little rule     four main classroom rules and pairs it       get some towels to clean up the water
                                           with the very specific behavior you want     you splashed out of the water table.”
                                           the child to engage in (the little rule).

                                           Reflective statements show children that
                                           you are paying attention to what they are
                                                                                        You approach a child in the Block Area
                                           doing. These statements simply say
                                                                                        who has built a structure, and you say,
                                           exactly what you see happening. Letting
Say, “I see…”                                                                           “Jonisha, I see you have used all of the
                                           children know that you notice them can
                                                                                        square blocks. You have stacked them
                                           sometimes be enough to prevent problem
                                                                                        very high.”
                                           behaviors from happening if the child is
                                           acting out to get attention.

                                           Be specific when you see children
                                           behaving appropriately. Rather than          “You are giving Michael some crackers.
                                           simply saying, “Good job,” explain to        That makes him happy because he is
                                           children exactly what they are doing and     hungry too.”
Be specific
                                           why it is appropriate. It is at least as
                                           important to teach children what is          “You put the cars away so that we can
                                           acceptable behavior as it is to teach        find them later. That was helpful.”
                                           children what is unacceptable behavior.

                                                                                        If a child is throwing rocks on the
                                           Redirection provides children with an        playground, you might redirect her to
                                           acceptable alternative to the                throwing balls instead. “Rocks need to
Provide an alternative
                                           unacceptable behavior they are engaged       stay on the ground. If you would like to
                                           in.                                          throw something you can throw these

                                                                                        “When you put on your shoes, then you
                                           When…then…statements explain to
                                                                                        may go outside.”
                                           children the natural sequence of
Say, “When…then…”
                                           behaviors. It lets them know what the
                                                                                        “When you spill milk, then you clean it
                                           appropriate next step is.
For more information about positive guidance, consider visiting these websites:

Many teachers have found success with teaching children the meaning of the words “mandatory” and
“optional” and using them in their classroom. For example, “It is mandatory that you come to circle time,
but it is optional to participate in singing the songs.” Or, “Today it is mandatory for all kids to visit Ms.
Smith at the writing center, but it is optional to spend time in the dramatic play area.” This can be a very
effective tool for managing your classroom and ensuring that children are exposed to all the objectives
you desire to teach in a day. It also gives kids some power in the classroom as they get to choose
whether or not they want to do an optional activity.

Remember that having realistically high expectations for child behavior is important. But also remember
that these kids are 3/4/5 years old! They are still developing self-regulation and impulse control, so
wiggling, calling out, issues with sharing, and loud behaviors are just part of an early childhood
classroom. Be patient, respond consistently, and be prepared to repeat yourself over and over (and over).

When working with your collaborative members to create your class rules, remember to focus on telling
children what TO do instead of what NOT to do. In fact, whenever a child is doing something that is “not
okay”, take advantage of the opportunity to teach him/her what to do instead. For the rules you will post
and talk about with students, try the alternatives below:

                   Instead of:         Try:
                   Don’t run           Use walking feet
                   No hitting          Take care of each other with gentle hands
                   No yelling          Use quiet (or indoor) voices

Some preschool teachers have found that using scripts for consistency is very helpful, especially when
multiple teachers work in the same classroom. For example, if every single time Michael climbs on the
table, the adult near him says the exact same thing (“Michael, that’s not safe. Your feet need to stay on
the floor”), Michael is more likely to stop climbing on the table than if the rule is enforced inconsistently or
with lots of different verbal cues. Consider talking with your collaborative members about using certain
scripts to reinforce behavior expectations – you’ll be glad you did!

When children have a hard time following your rules or meeting expectations, using natural
consequences is often the best way to teach children cause and effect and help them learn that their
actions have results (both positive and negative). Many traditional classroom management behavior
systems (i.e. having a child move his/her “clip” on a behavior chart, turn a card from green to yellow, sit in
time-out) may stop undesirable behavior in the moment but rarely teach a child what to do instead of the
choice they made. Remember, it is our job to TEACH children how to behave appropriately and get their
needs met in socially appropriate ways. See below for some situations and possible natural

Situation                                                Possible Natural Consequence
Miguel is at the center throwing blocks up in the air    “Miguel, I reminded you about how to use the
and then hitting them across the room. The teacher       blocks and you chose to throw them again. That’s
approaches Miguel to redirect him, “Miguel, these        not safe. Now you need to leave the block center.
are blocks and they are for building. If you continue    Which center would you like to go to instead?”
to throw them, you will not be able to play at this
center anymore. When the teacher walks away,             *natural consequence = not getting to play in the
Miguel throws another block.                             block center
It is time for snack and Samantha stands in the          When snack time is over, if Samantha hasn’t
corner with her arms crossed and refuses to wash         washed her hands, she does not get to eat. The
her hands. The teacher approaches and reminds            teacher reminds Samantha later in the day and/or
Samantha that snack time has started, and if she         the next day about what happened. “Remember
doesn’t wash her hands, she won’t be able to join        how this morning you didn’t want to wash your
her friends at the table to eat. Samantha screams,       hands and had to miss snack? I hope that
“Go away!” and refuses to go to the sink.                tomorrow you’ll choose to wash your hands with
                                                         the class so you can join us at the table to eat.”

                                                         *natural consequence = not getting to eat snack

It is math block and the teacher has informed the        The teacher does not allow Elijah to go to the
children that it is mandatory to attend small group      puzzle center until he comes to small group. When
before selecting a center. Elijah wants to go to the     small group is over and Elijah is still crying, his
puzzle center but does not want to come to small         friends get to go select a center and Elijah does
group. The teacher reminds him, “Elijah, it is           not. The teacher offers to do small group with Elijah
mandatory to come to small group before you              but he continues to tantrum for the entire math
select a center. When you finish this pattern activity   block. The next day, Ms. Smith pulls Elijah aside
with me you will be able to go to the puzzle center.”    and reminds him, “Elijah, I remember that
Elijah drops to the floor and throws a tantrum.          yesterday you chose not to come to small group
                                                         and that meant that you didn’t get to go to the
                                                         puzzle center. Today it is mandatory that everyone
                                                         come to small groups before they pick a center. Are
                                                         you going to join me at small group so you can do
                                                         puzzles later?”

                                                         *natural consequence = not getting to pick a center

Kids in you class are going to cry. They might cry at drop off when their parent leaves, when they get hurt,
if another child takes their materials, if they’re tired, etc. Be prepared for tears! Rather than dismissing a
child and saying, “Stop crying, you’re okay,” take advantage of these opportunities to model empathy and
talk about feelings. This is a natural way to develop your students’ emotional literacy! Reminding kids that
their parents will come back to pick them up, showing compassion when they get injured, helping them
solve issues/problems of sharing materials, etc. will help kids develop trust in you as a caring adult and
will teach them appropriate ways to respond when others are upset. Encourage kids to check on one
another if they are hurt and work to create a caring classroom community where taking care of each other
is the norm. Forcing kids to apologize doesn’t do much in the way of developing empathy, but taking care
of a friend they hurt definitely does!

Meals and Snacks
Meals and snacks are an incredible opportunity to build relationships with your students. Take advantage
of this time to have conversations with your students (model turn taking, appropriate grammar, new
vocabulary, etc.) and model good eating habits. Encourage them to try new foods and talk about how
things taste. Try not to be tempted to get other things done while the children are all occupied and
engaged at the tables with their food. It’s a great learning opportunity!

Kids are going to spill. Period. Teach children where to place their cup on the table and how to drink (use
two hands, etc.), but know that accidents happen (usually daily) and whatever liquid is in their cup will
likely end up on the table/floor/chair. Be prepared with paper towels nearby and adopt an “Oops! Let’s
clean it up!” attitude. There’s no use getting upset or frustrated because it was an accident (and it’s
probably going to happen again )
Transitions are often the hardest times of day for kids. And there are a lot of transitions in your daily
schedule this summer! Some tips about transitions:
             Whenever possible, give kids a warning that a transition is coming. For example, “In five
                 minutes we’re going to clean up for lunch.” If you notice that certain kids struggle with
                 transitions more than others, consider giving them individual warnings (approach them,
                 get on their level, get their attention, and give the warning) or more warnings (15, 10, 5, 2
                 minute warnings).
             Plan for transitions so they are as fast and smooth as possible. Have materials for the
                 next activity or lesson ready to go so kids are not idle and waiting for too long.
             Consider using music to cue your kids for transitions (i.e. a clean up song).
             When waiting is necessary (and sometimes it is – for example, if lunch is running late or
                 you go to the bathroom as a class), have a plan for some fun songs and fingerplays (e.g.,
                 “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”) to keep kids engaged and occupied. Boredom almost always
                 leads to behavior issues.

Early childhood classrooms are a messy place! Not only because of the materials you’ll use like paint,
glue, playdough, sand/water, etc., but also because little kids are messy! They spill, have toilet accidents,
don’t cover their nose/mouth when they sneeze, have trouble drinking out of water fountains, fall and
scrape their knees, etc. Know this and embrace it. You can’t fight it! Dress appropriately in clothes that
are comfortable and can get a little messy (for women, keep in mind that you’ll be spending the majority
of the day on the floor – skirts/dresses can be tough!). You’ll enjoy teaching much more if you can interact
with your students without worrying about getting dirty.

Tone of Voice
Your tone of voice in ECE classrooms is incredibly important – when you’re excited, kids are excited to
learn! While it might feel a little awkward or fake to you in the beginning, it will get you great results.

Also – don’t forget about whispering. When you get quiet, kids get quiet.

It is also important to develop an assertive tone to use when redirecting kids. Being assertive is different
from yelling, but kids need to know when you mean business. Whenever you are engaging in
conversation with a child – whether for redirection/guidance purposes or just talking about something, get
on their level. A good ECE teacher is often bent down, on his/her knees, or on the floor because he/she is
engaging with kids on their level.

Remember to reach out to your CMAs and FAs for more support throughout the summer. And have fun –
3/4/5 year olds are the best!

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