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Early Language and the Physical Environment
1. Some components that make up an ideal classroom environment are the following:
The teacher is usually the first person that the child will see standing at the door way to welcome them into the classroom. The teacher should smile at each child as they are greeting them. They should also have an upbeat personality and talk happily to the students as they are arriving into the classroom and ready to start the day. When a child shows the initiative that they want to
participate in the classroom activities, the teachers response should be positive to the child. It is very important to listen closely to each child when they are speaking, this shows that you want to know what is going on. At the end of the day express to the children how happy you are to have them in your class and that you cannot wait to see them tomorrow.
•Some ways a teacher can show empathy is being a good listener. By acknowledging how the other person feels, you are able to connect with someone and feel their pain and struggle. By saying encouraging words to the student, like “I wish I could make it better”, or “It makes me really sad to hear this has happened to you”. Tell the student that you appreciate them sharing with you and tell them that you understand that this must have been difficult for them to do. By doing this it gives the student a feeling of safety. One of the best ways to connect with a student is not by talking, but by listening to them. Try to ask questions about their problem, by doing this it shows the student that you genuine care about them. Always try to be encouraging to the student, by saying words like be strong or I am proud of you. These words can go a long way in a child’s emotions. Encourage them that they are an amazon person. Always help the student feel loved and supportive. Tell them that you are there for them, to talk to any time they need it.
•Morning time video
I felt the teacher did an excellent job in making all of the children feel comfortable and included in the morning circle time. I liked how the teacher included the special needs child in the Pledge of Allegiance. By moving him to where he could see the flag. Also when the class was singing the song, the aid helped the boy move his hands and arms along with the song. I have had experience with a special needs child in my Preschool class. He was born with very little movement of all limbs. I always made sure that he was included in all projects and made accommodations to help him feel accepted and included in the class. I felt that this teacher is doing the same. I noticed that she always used the student’s names whenever she spoke to them. I liked how she used her arm to sound out the syllables of the words. She used some great techniques; I liked the reward spray for when the students did a great job. Using yoga with the positive words is a great way to start the day off. I found some great tips that I would use them in my classroom. Research suggests “that social emotional skills can help students succeed in school, and the teachers and schools have a significant role to play in creating an environment that fosters the development of these competencies and skills.” (Glennie, Rosen, & Snyder, 2017).
2. Three learning centers.
It is very important to include all different types of multicultural items in the classroom. Teachers today address and serve so many diverse populations of students. By introducing the children as a young age to different cultures, it will make them a better person in today’s society. The National Center for Education Statistics, 2013 states that “students of color now make up 48% of the school population and are projected to reach 55% by 2023. Specifically Hispanic students make up but 24% of the school population.” (Vittrup, 2016).
Center one: Art area.
Creating puppets that will help children to develop language skills, self-expression and cultural awareness. The students will be making hula girl / boy puppets to express the Hawaiian culture.
They will use brown paper lunch bags, with glue, markers and silk flowers. They will glue on a grass skirt on the bags, and they will have to decorate a face that is located on the flap part of the bag. They will also glue on the silk flowers for the lei. I would have Hawaiian music playing at that center, so the children can move their finished puppets to the music.
Center two: Book area.
Have children create a bulletin board of Native American symbols. This can be done around Thanksgiving time. First put a large piece of brown butcher paper at the height of the students, so they will have access to the paper. Precut the following symbols, a bear, deer, canoe, teepee and turtle. Have the student’s pick a symbol up and put their name on it, and make them tape it to the butcher paper. They can also add their own designs to the symbols. Next have the following books out so the students can read/look at the pictures.
Bear Says Thanks – This book shows a celebration of friendship and family.
I know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie and
Thanksgiving is for giving Thanks. This book is great for explaining to young children the concept of being thankful.
Center Three -Math Center / Manipulative
At circle time I would read the class the book” Max moves to Moscow”. It’s about a Labrador that is moving to Moscow. The book explains how Max the dog is making friends with other dogs in the new city that he lives in. The story is set in the city of Moscow and will educate the children of different settings. At the math center I would have the Russian nesting dolls for the children to play with. This will help with their fine motors sills and they can also use the dolls
to count them. It also helps out with the child’s hand-eye coordination. These dolls will also teach the students about sizes and the concepts of smallest to largest. These dolls are great with helping the child develop focus and concentration. I would also add into the art center a coloring sheet for each student to color.
3. Empathy in the classroom.
One way of showing empathy in the classroom is showing warmth towards your students. As a teacher in the classroom, you are the role model on how to interact and treat each other with good behavior. A good role model is acknowledging and valuing other student’s feelings. For example if the student is upset and crying, by showing that upset student sympathy and understanding. By using words like, you seem so upset, what is the matter? Can I help you
feel better ?. Giving the child a chance to connect with you on their terms, the child will mostly open up to you. Another way to connect with the student’s feelings, thoughts and behaviors, is by connecting the child’s behaviors with feelings. This is a great way to show children cause and effect. For instance if Sue was playing with a baby doll and Sally took the doll away from her, Sue would begin to cry. This shows the children a perfect example of cause and effect. Studies have shown “the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another is so imperative when teaching students from such varied backgrounds in order to better understand each individual child and in turn meet their educational needs.” (Bouton, 2016).
I would read the Book:
Hey, Little Ant. By: Phillip and Hannah Hoose.
This book would be read out loud at circle time. For the activity, I would do this as a whole class activity. I would make a chart on chart paper.
Squish or Save?
This would be an Opinion/Persuasive writing or thinking activity. (Since I am doing the writing)
Under the title I would say:
I think the boy should:
Squish the Ant or Save the Ant ?
Ask the children to raise their hands on what they think is right. Put tally marks under each option. Then ask the class reasons why they would do that. Also write three reasons down on the chart. This is a fun whole group activity. Another book I would read to the class is “The Recess Queen, By: Alexis O’Neil. A lot of issues can come up at recess time and the book gives a great
example on how to act during recess.
Early Learning Environment.
Learning centers should be arranged so that the children can see them, can be cleaned up and use them easily. The centers need to be filed with items that are exciting for young children. Classrooms that focus on promoting literacy must include the following materials to be able to promote listening, speaking, reading and writing. Each center needs to have the appropriate materials in them, for example CD’s with books, Children’s books with notebooks/journals for writing. Whiteboards and other print materials are needed. Children will use these tools to be able to communicate and to interact with one another. I would use the checklist as a guide to my classroom centers. Sometimes you are giving a certain budget, so you may not be able to have everything that is on the list.
For dramatic play I would make sure the center has dress up clothes and prop boxes, also props such as a telephone directory, note pads and pencils. The children love to call mom or dad on the phone. For the building block center I would have small figures like stop signs and traffic lights, trucks, cars and bridges. Make sure that the shelves are named with symbols and pictures of the blocks. For the Book Center, I would have different types of books, for example the large read out loud books. I would have them on a easel so the students can grab a pointer and point to the words as they read the book out loud. I would also have puppets and charter dolls on the shelves of the library. For example the student can take the charter doll and read to it. A must is having comfortable chairs with pillows, and large cushions that lay on the ground so the students have a chose to sit in a chair or on the ground.
In the Manipulative/Math Center
- Bouton, B. (2016). Empathy Research and Teacher Preparation: Benefits. SRATE Journal,25(2).
- Glennie, E. J., Rosen, J. A., Snyder, R., Woods-Murphy, M., & Bassett, K. (2017). Student Social and Emotional Development and Accountability: Perspective of Teachers. NNSTROY Teachersleading,1-22. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED581290.pdf.
- Vittrup, B. (2016). Early Childhood Teachers’ Approaches to Multicultural Education & Perceived Barriers to Disseminating Anti-Bias Messages. 1-5. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1119398.pdf.
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