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Questions for Panel

  1. Is your class an inclusive classroom? If so, how many children do you have with IEP’s?
  2. What grade levels do you teach?
  3. What made you decide you wanted to be a teacher?
  4. Do you teach an anti-bias curriculum?
  5. What social justice issues have you had to address in your classroom? How did you go about addressing them?
  6. Are the parents of your students involved?
  7. Have you had any pushback from parents? How did you handle that pushback?
  8. Do you have a supportive faculty and administration?
  9. How are you involving the community in your classroom? Do you take field-trips, bring in guest speakers, etc.?
  10. What is the biggest unexpected challenge you have faced as a teacher?
  11. What advice would you give to pre-service teachers?

Fairness in the Classroom

Holding Nyla
The teacher in this story chronicles her experiences with Nyla, a students who lives with severe effects of cerebral palsy. The teacher is anxious about working with this student considering her delicate medical state. After holding Nyla during circle time, the teacher is able to make a personal connection with the student and consequently the students feel more  comfortable reaching out to Nyla as well.
When the class orders new dolls, they also order a doll that sits in a wheelchair. When the doll arrives, the wheelchair is ill-fitting and the class writes a letter to protest this inaccuracy.
After time passes in the classroom, Nyla’s mother feels increasingly anxious about Nyla being a part of a general classroom setting and decides to move her to a different school. The class is devastated  and spends Nyla’s last week doing goodbye activities. Nyla’s mother walks in the class, one child expresses that Nyla is his best friend and that he loves her. Nyla’s mom is brought to tears and decides to let her stay in the classroom. She had never envisioned the possibility that Nyla could have a best friend.
Fairness First
The author, Walters, was a first-grade teacher. There were 16 students in her class and all of them are African Americans (like herself) .She decided to teach a social studies unit on “fairness” as a jumping-off point for talking about justice. She believes that it is important for young children to understand they have a role in creating a more just society. She has two key goals for her class: 1) to help her students understand that children can work for change despite their age and 2) to underscore that fairness and justice are not just global concepts, but that students can take action in their own corner of the world to right wrongs. She was not sure if this class unit would be successful, but she decided to do.
She had been trying to build community in the classroom. They held daily meetings where students talked with each other about their lives. they also did lessons about friendship; they discussed openly in class why some people are treated differently than others. She wanted her students to be aware of “fair” and “unfair”. They discussed what it meant to be fair in the first lesson. Ss had different answers one of which was from Inez: “Not letting other children play with you or come to your birthday party with you because of the way they look.” Ms. Walters started to realize that whether people are treated fairly or not is related to something about the person’s identity. She asked the students:
Are people always fair? What should we do when we see people treated unfairly?
Then they did two lessons on MLK Jr. When she asked: Do you think that young children can help to to change things in our world that are not fair?” only TWO said YES. Then they read The Story of Ruby Bridges and Through My Eyes. Ruby was the first African American student in William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. The students learned that young children could do something to change things that are not fair.
Ms. Walters convinced her students that “any action they take to improve our community— no matter how small—is significant.”
Teacher Panel Questions:
How do you deal with parents who do not agree with your curriculum strategies?
How do you incorporate the LGBTQ community into your classroom?
How do you shape your classroom to include children of varying developmental levels?

Good Grief

All families experience death.  For some of our PLC members, their first experience was in high school; for others, a classmate lost their life in middle school.  We recognize that we were all very blessed to have not experienced the tragedy of death when were in preschool.  A PLC member spoke about a student she works with losing her father at the age of three.  There was no curriculum in place to help the girl deal with her complicated and deep feelings and it was not even spoken of in the classroom.

In, Rethinking Early Childhood Education, a story of the loss of classmates (a brother and sister who tragically died in a fire at their babysitters house), the principal asked that the teacher not dwell on the loss of life, but get back to school as usual as quickly as possible.

Upon seeing her students’ confusion and grief due to the loss of their friend, she created curriculum and activities to respond to her students’ questions and sadness.  They decorated Jessica’s desk with cards and letters to vocalize how much they missed their playmate.  The teacher erected a bulletin board memorial to commemorate Jessica’s life and her presence in the classroom.

The teacher began to see the similarities in the different types of loss students experience.  She began to develop the same kind of activities for students whose parents are in jail or whose parents are divorced and they only get to see one of their parents frequently.

Grief is an important part of life.  We will all experience loss at some point and it is important that each person have the tools to handle that grief.  We believe that it is our job as early childhood educators to help children begin to develop these tools that they will carry with them for life.

Language In The Classroom

For this week we decided to talk about the different languages in the classroom and how it is important for teachers to corporate their languages into the class room. In order to discuss this we decided to talk about three of the different videos we watched in class last week.

Appalachian English: it shows the prejudice against people who talk not in full english. When we hear them talk you automatically begin to think that they are uneducated, but it is not always the case. It is also interesting that they were able to create a completely different language from combining the different words other cultures use. It is also important because this video highlights accent differences and the importance of code switching depending on who you are talking to. It was also interesting that many people thought they prefer to talk with people who use their own language because it reminds them at home.

Legitimizing Student language: It acknowledges AAVE( african american vernacular English). The teacher would have the students translate the sentence for AAVE to standard english. By saying translate, he gave the AAVE a more legitimate language and validates it as an actual language.

TRI-Tounged oration: Was a video in which a women talked about how she is tri-tounged cause she can talk to all sorts of people. Even though they aren’t three different languages she was able to use three different dialects which makes her basically tri-lingual. She is able to code switch, which allows her to talk to all sorts of people.

As teacher it is important for us to appreciate all our students languages and help them feel comfortable and proud of the language they speak. We should work hard to teach students in the most comfortable languages, so we should be accepting of her home language.

Next week we will all pick our own favorite stories from the book and discussed why we picked it and what they were about

Using 3C products as a entertainment– Wether it’s good for children’s developmental pursuits or not?

Ever since the 1950s when television sets began to appear in the average home, kids have one more ways of entertainment at home. Nowadays, television has become the most popular media, which is also the indispensable device in our daily life. Teenagers like to talk about those popular TV programs or TV plays with their friends. However, some families in China advocate people limit the watching TV time for their kids, especially for those early age kids. In western countries, people describe those lazy people who do nothing but sit on the couch and watch television as “couch potato”. In the reading materials in this week, the teacher designed a wonderful curriculum to let students use math to analyze what TV is teaching them. With these two chapters, our group members discussed a lot about whether using 3C products (Computer, Chdiexyhwoann, and Consumer Electronics) in their spare time are good for students in their early childhood or not.

As the typical 90s generations, there was no 3C products in our childhood. Without iPads, computers, and smart phones, we played games with our friends and learned how to communicate with different people through different social activities. Our experience in our childhood proves that without those 3C products, kids still can have a happy childhood. One of our group members shared her tutoring experience with us. She mentioned that the kids’ parents were too busy to look after their kids and invited her to take care of the kids. The parents told her, “Our kids like to watch TV. After eating breakfast, you can just let them watch TV until we come back home at night.” Television takes place of face-to-face communication. Ironically, the parents even spend money to the tutor to accompany their kids to watch TV instead of letting the tutor communicate with them. Watching TV or playing iPad becomes a lazy way for parents to supervise their kids. When kids are watching TV, they don’t need to think. Some of them would even be attracted by the TV. When the parents talk with them, they don’t have any response. Furthermore, in the aspect of health, spending hours watching TV is harmful for eyesight.

According to the reading material, some TV plays are full of violence and inappropriate contents. During our small group discussion, we also spoke highly of the teachers’ method about letting students use math to analyze the contents in TV. Students not only can learn how to collect data, but also have their own conclusions based on their own data. However, there is no direct proof that the increase in television violence highlighted on the site had led to more real-life killing. Although some of the conclusions from those kids need to be considered in different perspectives, it is still essential to let them realize that the importance of thinking for themselves and questioning the sources of their information.

Note Taker: Amy (Rongchenzi) Wang

To play or not to play- Michaela Bailey and Allie Salabach

Ted Talk Link:

For this week, we looked at the importance of play in children’s lives. To further reiterate our  PLC readings, we looked at a Ted Talk video, entitled “The Decline of Play.” Similar to our readings, Peter Gray highlights on various aspects as to why children must play.

He begins by saying animals of all species play as it allows them to learn to cooperate with one another. When young animals are deprived of the opportunity to play, they will not know how to appropriately respond to the environment, not develop social or emotional skills, and will ultimately not know how to respond to those they interact with. Gray also suggests that children that are allowed to play are brighter and more emotionally stable than those that do not play. Ultimately, children play the most out of all species. He suggests play as “God’s gift” and if we do not allow children to play then we are taking away this gift.

Play is not only becoming diminished, but also structured. In the mid 1900s, children received at least two hours of play with little to no homework. Now children are receiving 20-30 minutes of play, and it is becoming structured through various activities and sporting events. With this being said, researchers have also noticed a correlation between the decline in play and an increase in child psychological disorders, depression and anxiety. Gray suggests that we must work to implement play, whether it is through neighborhood networks or establishing a safe place for children to play.

This Ted Talk correlates with the main points presented in our PLC readings. Teachers believe children are able to learn through play and achieve high academic success. They also looked at curriculum in the United Kingdom, Finland and other European nations and how they are incorporating play in early childhood and pushing the age back in which they begin to teach students formal curriculum. They are also eliminating standardized tests. Teachers in our readings believe that the U.S. should reconsider their notion to eliminate play in curriculum, and consider the above approaches.

Preschools PLC Challenge

Group effort.

This article talks about the increasing demands on parents for their children in pre-school. Some preschools are requiring entrance exams, less inclusive hours for care, and parents are needed to do a lot of outside work to keep their child in the classroom. There is also legacy status influence, so some children are allowed to attend the school over others if their relatives had attended the school.

Preschool plays an influential role in a child’s future success; however, it is becoming less accessible to lower social economic status families. There are not a lot of public preschools available, so these private facilities are in greater demand and cost more. Additionally, parents are required to help out in the classroom and purchase items for the class outside of their tuition money. There is a definitive line of who can afford to send their kids to preschool and a separate line for those who can afford the preschool, but not the outside demands it is requiring of parents.

Working parents who are working extra shifts and jobs to send their children to these preschools are restricted in their time and cannot pick up their children at the early time that the preschool ends and they do not have the time or extra money to go to the store to buy items for the classroom.

This has a negative on the child’s future success, because not every child is receiving the same opportunities, because of their family’s income and social status. The wealth disparity among the families with preschool aged children increases the gap between the rich and the poor, because the lower income families cannot afford to send their children to preschool.

Connections to book reading:

Are schools limiting childhood experiences by decreasing play and increasing academics in children at a young age? How does this impact the child’s social skills?

Reading for next week- 74- 83