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classroom management during experiments | Posted in Early Childhood

Hi Selena! I am currently a student teacher in a math and science classroom, and I get the chance to watch my mentor teacher enforce the most effective classroom management skills I have ever seen. She uses positive reinforcement constantly. The school I am at has a reward system where they give "merits" and "demerits" for behavior. These are backed up by a system where if students accumulate a certain amount of merits, they can choose to spend them in the classroom "store" or save them for a special privilege. My mentor says things out loud to the class like "I appreciate how ___ is following my instructions, I am going to give them a merit." or "These students are showing patience as they wait for the next activity quietly, I will give them a merit." Sometimes it is while some students are off tasks, so they will redirect their actions so that they can also receive merits. If it doesn't help, she will give demerits after fair warning. Another really great technique is giving access to science experiment materials after modeling and giving explicit instructions on what they are expected to do with them. First, tell them what to do, then tell them the voice level you expect them to be at. Showing appreciation for those that followed instructions constantly. I hope this helps! Good luck!

Bianca Balderas

STEM as a "special"?? | Posted in STEM

[size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Beth and everyone,[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]You might also post this question on the STEM, earlychildhood and elementary [url=]email lists/listservs run by NSTA[/url]. You will add to the conversation and reach even more experienced NSTA members. The responses come to email instead of being archived on a platform but the conversations are just as helpful.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]My experience is with children ages 2.5-5 years old--also a wide developmental range : ) I haven't taught in your situation but over the years I've heard from others who have.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]They say that organizing the materials for 5 classes a day of children in grades K-8 will make your teaching time more productive. [/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Think about what materials can be left out for subsequent classes. For example, having high shelves where I can quickly move trays of materials used by the 4/5s when the Twos come into the room is essential. [/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Think about projects that can involve multiple ages at different levels, such as gardening. While middle school students are examining cell structure using microscopes, Kindergarten students can be planting seeds. The [url=Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards]NGSS Appendix E[/url]-Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards can help us make decisions about what to teach when.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]In keeping with research that shows children learn over time, plan to teach a concept over weeks and months, not just one week, especially the K-2 students.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]I hope your colleagues in the grade level classrooms can meet with you to see how you all can collaborate so science-technology-engineering-math doesn't become isolated from the rest of the children's learning.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Best wishes for a successful program![/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Peggy Ashbrook[/font][/size]

Margaret Ashbrook

Gardening at school with young children | Posted in Early Childhood

Sounds like a great plan of action. You're planting the seeds for further garden lessons in the spring (pun intended). Keeping the school garden going throughout the summer and planting things kids could experience the entire life cycle of was always a challenge for me too! I never balanced it quite right. Our preschool teacher did a great job with her students. They planted potatoes and popcorn each spring and then the new class would harvest in the fall. She also kept her gardening/healthy eating program alive throughout the snowy winter by incorporating specific produce into her baking lessons each week. i.e. beet cake, zucchini muffins, avocado pudding, etc.

Sarah Benton

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