Early Childhood - Exploring CLASS Principles
Updated: Apr 23
A Touch of CLASS® - Classroom Assessment Scoring System
Are you using effective teacher-child interactions consistently throughout the day? This would include recognizing the cues young children give you, being responsive to those cues, acknowledging their feelings or emotions, helping them resolve their own problems, redirecting challenging behavior, leaving your emotional baggage at home, and supporting positive peer relationships.
When you ask children questions that encourage them to come up with their own ideas, you help them process... think...solve their own problems. It's not about the destination, it's about how they get there. A perfect "yes" or "no" answer stops the brain from processing, and brain pathways come to a screeching halt when they are just about to connect. When you present children with alternatives and encourage them to think for themselves, you help them articulate their decision-making process.
What you want is a "serve and return" interaction, as if you are on a tennis court sending the ball a child's way. Each time, a child hits the ball back to you, you launch it over the net again with open-ended inquiries and well-thought-out responses. It will take a while for the ball to be returned to you, because children need time to observe, analyze, and reason. But the ball will eventually come back, and when it does, send it bouncing over the net to them again. Continue on, playing an effective game.
In recent MATH workshops, we expanded upon an activity that introduced natural comparisons using the movement of our bodies. We partnered up and acted out simple statements such as, "If I curl in a ball, and you stand tall. Then I will be much shorter than you," touching on the concepts of wider, shorter, and farther away. After such an activity, the children would remain standing with their partners.
The attendees broke into groups and developed questions they could ask the children in order to delve deeper into "serve and return" experiences. Here are some examples of open-ended questions they came up with to encourage the children to think for themselves:
"What if he stands like this, and you stand like that?"
"How else can you make yourselves wider?"
"What if he puts on this hat?" "What if you move slower next time?"
"What if you curl up and he lays down flat on the floor?"
"How can you find out how far apart you are?"
"What if you both move the same way?"
"Why do you think she's shorter?"
"How can you tell who's taller if you both stand tall?"
"What would happen if you added another friend?"
"What if you both faced the other way?"
You will notice a common thread here with questions that begin with...
"How did you decide to ...?"
"What if you ... ?"
"How can you tell...?"
"How else can you ... ?"
"Why do you think...?"
"How can you...?"
"What will happen if...?"
Give children time to respond to your inquiry.They need at LEAST 5 seconds or MORE to process and formulate a response... mostly more.
Young children can understand basic math skills without having mastered math foundations, especially when given the proper support. They are naturally observant, curious, and develop their own understanding of what you teach them based on the concepts they have been exposed to in their everyday experiences with family, friends, and caregivers. For instance, they may already sort their shoes, retrieve 2 treats when they see 2 dogs, fill their glasses half full, or collect rocks and leaves.
At this age, math is easy and fun for everybody to explore!
Good luck, and feel free to share your experiences, so I can pass them on to our readers!
Contact me if you would like to check on available dates and book your early math training now.
Angela Russ is a mom-preneur, children’s author, interactive trainer on the subject of early childhood, and award-winning artist/producer of music for young children. She presents educational strategies to child care providers, parents, and teachers nationwide for AEYCs, R & Rs, and the like. She is a member of the Recording Academy and is the sole owner of the Russ InVision record label. For more information on Angela, her workshops and accomplishments you are welcome to visit www.abridgeclub.com. © 2017, Russ InVision. All rights reserved.
For information: Contact: Angela Russ
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