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Collaborating with Preschool Teachers to Create Language/Literacy Rich Classrooms Lesley Becker Sandra Combs Nancy Creaghead Micah Hines Amy Hobek Contexts for our Services Poverty Preparation for school RTI Need for teacher education in language and literacy

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collaborating with preschool teachers to create language literacy rich classrooms

Collaborating with Preschool Teachers to Create Language/Literacy Rich Classrooms

Lesley Becker

Sandra Combs

Nancy Creaghead

Micah Hines

Amy Hobek

contexts for our services
Contexts for our Services
  • Poverty
  • Preparation for school
  • RTI
  • Need for teacher education in language and literacy
key facets of collaborating with teachers
Key Facets of Collaborating with Teachers
  • Be in the classroom
  • Empower Teachers
    • Believe that we can make a difference
    • Become real partners
  • Build relationships
    • Take time to get to know each other
    • Take time to help with what needs to be done in the classroom
    • Respect what the teacher knows
    • Understand their responsibilities
maya angelou
Maya Angelou--

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you.”

2 types of teachers
2 Types of Teachers
  • The type you can’t stop watching b/c he/she is doing so many wonderful things.
  • The type that you can’t stop watching b/c of the train wreck that she/he is creating.
we collaborate with teachers because we care about children
We collaborate with teachers because we care about children
  • Today we will cover 3 areas of language/literacy collaboration with teachers.

1. General Rules for Collaboration + Contextualized Language/Literacy Instruction--Lesley

2. Lesson Planning--Sandra

3. Writing Workshop--Amy

rehab your collab
Rehab your Collab!

STEP 1: Identify your teachers

  • You may want to initially start with the “cooperative teacher”
    • What happens if you choose “difficult teacher?”
  • At first, maybe only a few teachers (1-3)….eventually expanding to all perhaps
rehab your collaboration
Rehab your Collaboration!

STEP 2: Identify your goals

  • Consult with your chosen teachers
    • Your goals may not be theirs!
  • Where can you have the most effect?
    • Dialogic book reading?
    • Phonological awareness?
    • Supporting language facilitation?
    • Screening/Identification?
  • Match your prevention goals to caseload goals
  • Remember to considerEvidence-Based Practice
rehab your collaboration9
Rehab your Collaboration!

STEP 3: Allot time

  • You do not need a large amount of time to accomplish your goals
  • Consider schedule of teacher too.
  • Allow time for modeling
  • Allow time collaboration
    • Help develop activities/choosing books, materials, etc.
rehab your collaboration10
Rehab your Collaboration!
  • STEP 4: Implement the program
    • Put “talk” to action
      • Create hand-outs—or learning binder
      • Consider using a communication journal
        • Effective with following individual cases
        • Allows teacher to voice his/her trials-and-errors on his/her own time
          • Make sure to respond to comments
        • Makes sure that teacher is actually implementing your suggestions
rehab your collaboration11
Rehab your Collaboration!
    • Implementing program
      • Monitor your success
        • If you aren’t being successful—make changes
          • Interview your teachers (on paper or in person)
          • Child outcome data
          • Track data on goals
raisor and creaghead 2006 phonological awareness study
Raisor and Creaghead (2006) Phonological Awareness Study
  • Investigated whether a contextualized approach to phonological awareness training in preschool was as effective as a more structured, drill-like approach.
  • We found that children made gains in phonological awareness in both the drill and contextualized approaches
    • (although the contextualized group also made gains in print knowledge)
collaboration for phonological awareness in the classroom raisor 2006
Collaboration for Phonological Awareness in the Classroom (Raisor, 2006)—
  • First, I noticed that teachers were not doing any types of phonological awareness activities and if they were—they were down right bad.
  • To combat this, I implemented a “teacher training”
    • I discussed contextualized and drill-based interventions in phonological awareness
    • Appeared unsuccessful by itself—
      • Consultation required more to be successful
collaboration for phonological awareness in the classroom raisor 200615
Collaboration for Phonological Awareness in the Classroom (Raisor, 2006)—
  • Second, I identified my teachers (6) for the study and utilized graduate students in CSD to model the interventions for teachers
  • Along with the modeling, I met with the teachers 2 times per week (5 minutes each meeting) to discuss what the students were doing and why (I THINK THAT THIS WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR)
    • I regularly consulted with teachers to monitor their own progress using both traditional and naturalistic methods
      • Program was 8 weeks (10 minutes total collaboration per week/ 80 minutes total collaboration across the study)
    • Took notes during consultation/exchanged communication journal
collaboration for phonological awareness in the classroom raisor 200616
Collaboration for Phonological Awareness in the Classroom (Raisor, 2006)—
  • Finally, I watched their classrooms and classroom interactions transform
    • We saw amazing growth in the use of both contextualized and drill-based phonological awareness activities in several of the classrooms
    • There were some classrooms that did not grow as much
      • Why does this happen? What can we do about it?
project call culatta hall kovarsky theadore 2007
Project CALL (Culatta, Hall, Kovarsky, Theadore, 2007)
  • Contextualized approach to language and literacy (Project CALL): capitalizing on varied activities and contexts to teach early literacy skills.
    • Explicit teaching of language/literacy skills taught in engaging activities
    • Embed instruction in a full array of classroom-based activities
      • Allows instruction to be child-centered
project call culatta hall kovarsky theadore 200718
Project CALL (Culatta, Hall, Kovarsky, Theadore, 2007)
  • Researchers found that rhyme and letter knowledge increased after a 14 week period using CALL

We encourage teachers to use the full array of classroom contexts for instructional purposes.

    • Try to teach teachers to capitalize on all activities in the classroom not just circle time.
lesson planning

Lesson Planning

Here are the answers to common teacher questions about incorporating language and literacy throughout the curriculum

monthly themes
Monthly Themes

August Back to School

September All About me

October From Farm to Market

November Cooking with Native Americans

December Customs around the World

January Polar Express

February Underground Railroad

March Health Hearts/Healthy Minds

April Under the Rainbow

May From Caterpillar to Butterfly

lesson plan format
Lesson Plan Format
  • Morning Meeting
    • Read aloud
    • Phonological Awareness
  • Language Development & Literacy
    • Dramatic Play
    • Journal Writing/Writing Center
  • Mathematical Development
    • Math Center
    • Construction Center
  • Individualization
  • Science Development
    • Science Center
  • Art Center
  • Physical Health Development
    • Fine and Gross Motor
  • Social/Emotional Development
    • Cultural Awareness
what can we do in morning meeting besides read and retell

What can we do in morning meeting besides read, and retell?

Jacket I Wear in the Snow

Activity 1

Select 1 child to be the main character from book.

Have all clothing items from story in a bag.

Have child selected act out story ( put on clothing in order mentioned in story ).Activity 2

Have outline of child on poster board.

Have all clothing items from story blown up to fit poster.

Each child selects an article of clothing. As read story children come and place on poster board in sequence.

Guess How Much I Love You

Have bunny ears and give children opportunity to act out story (Mailbox)

teacher s request planning phonological awareness
Teacher’s request: Planning phonological awareness
  • Three Billy Goats Gruff
    • Changing Voices (Listening for differences)
      • Teacher says different character quotes from the story, changing the voice for each character seeing if the children can identify who said it. Then, using the same voices, say something that is not in the story and ask the children who they think said it.
    • Rhyme Time
      • Have a big cut out of a goat velcro dots
      • Have words that rhyme with goat (coat, boat, note, moat, wrote, etc) along with a few words that don’t rhyme.
      • Show the children each picture one at a time and ask them if it rhymes with goat.
      • Put the rhyming words on the goat.
what can we do in dramatic play besides play house
What can we do in dramatic play besides play house?
  • Three Billy Goats Gruff
    • Make a valley scene with trees, mountains, rocks, river, etc.
    • Make a bridge out of cardboard or paper so that the children can walk over it.
    • “May I Cross Your Bridge?” - kids ask, “May I cross your bridge?” and the “troll” could respond, “You may jump across my bridge, if you are wearing____________.”
    • Finger puppets or stick puppets could be made and placed with the book to encourage retelling and acting out the story.
  • The Jacket I Wear in the Snow
    • Create a Winter Wonderland with white peanuts on the floor
    • Provide clean white socks rolled into balls for snowballs
    • Provide shovels and assorted winter clothing for dress-ups
    • Create a fireplace on one wall for children to “warm-up” by
    • Make a cave for hibernating
    • Make a pond for pretend ice skating
how can we get the children to want to write in their journals
How can we get the children to WANT to write in their journals?
  • Three Billy Goats Gruff
    • Have pictures of farm animals with matching words for the children to see and practice writing.
    • Have the pictures of the goats with the different sizes written next to them: big, medium, little, as well as a picture of a bridge and a troll with their matching words.
    • Story Starters:
      • Have children draw a picture from the story
      • Use stamps or stickers to get started
      • Have children dictated their story and write it for them
  • Guess How Much I Love You
    • Materials: construction paper, pencils, doilies, crayons, envelopes and stickers.
    • Encourage the children to use this time to:
      • make valentines
      • write letters to friends, family telling them how much they love them.
    • Have some papers with “I love you as much as_________” and let them draw a picture.
    • Story Starters:
      • Write about or draw a picture of your favorite part of the story.
      • Write a letter to someone telling them how much you love them.
      • Draw a picture of how high you can jump (to the moon, the stars or the tree branch
can we really get a story theme into the math center
Can we really get a story theme into the Math Center?
  • Three Billy Goats Gruff
    • Counting Goats
      • Have cut-outs of goats, troll and bridge. First count each goat and then the troll. Are there more goats or trolls?
      • Re-enact the story. If one goat crosses the bridge, how many goats are left? How many goats have crossed the bridge? You could have more than three goat cut-outs while re-enacting to make the activity more challenging depending on the level of the children.
    • Ordering Goats:
      • Put goats in order from smallest to largest (or vice versa) using cut-outs for goats.
      • Use other objects – bowls, trees, game pieces, etc… to order from largest to smallest
  • Guess How Much I Love You
    • Measuring and Graphing
      • Have graphing paper, large chart with laminated name tags, measuring tape or yard stick and a ruler.
      • Measure and graph how tall each child is and then how high they can reach.
    • Whose Hug is bigger?
      • Have different sized animals that the children can measure whose arms are longest
      • Graph whose hug is bigger and whose hug is smaller?
what can we do in blocks besides just build and knock down
What can we do in blocks besides just build and knock down?

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

  • Materials – blocks, plastic goats, cars, people, troll dolls
  • Encourage children to build bridges to see how big a bridge they can build, how long does it take the goat to cross each bridge?

Guess How Much I Love You

  • Materials – blocks, small animals (stuffed or plastic), some colored shapes (for a moon and a tree).
  • Encourage the children to see how high they can build the blocks and how far they can stretch the blocks across the floor

The Biggest Best Snowman

  • Cover blocks with white paper and allow children to make igloos, snow forts, or castles
  • Introduce cylindars, or barrels covered with white cloth or paper to build snowmen
can you help me with this lesson plan i don t know how to get this story into science
Can you help me with this lesson plan? I don’t know how to get this story into science?”
  • Guess How Much I Love You:
    • Reading Maps
    • Materials – map of the field where the Nutbrown Hares live, a ruler, various colored crayons, journals or graph paper
      • Ask the children to ‘hypothesize’ which places are farther and which are closer based on just looking at the map
      • Test your theroies by measuring the distance from various places in the field – tree, sun, etc…
      • Record your measurements in a ‘science journal”.
    • Who can reach the highest?
    • Materials - children, measuring tape, yard stick, journals, graph paper
      • Ask the chidlren to ‘hypothesize’ whose arms are longer, who can reach the highest?
      • Ask them to tell you ‘why’ they think that?
      • Test your theories by measuring the height of the children, arms and then how high they can reach
      • Record you answers in your science journal
seriously there is no way to get literacy into my physical development goal
Seriously, there is no way to get literacy into my physical development goal!

Three Billy Goats Gruff

  • Play a game with the bridge called, “May I Cross Your Bridge?”
  • Have the kids ask, “May I cross your bridge?”
  • Let the “troll” (you) respond – i.e. “You may go across my bridge, if you (some kind of action) ! (hop on one foot, jump, skip, crawl, etc).
  • Walk like a troll?!
  • Handwashing, Toothbrushing
      • How would a troll brush his teeth?
      • How would a goat brush his teeth?
      • Would they brush their teeth?!

The Biggest Best Snowman and The Jacket I Wear in the Snow

  • Frosty Says (simon says)
  • “Snowball fight” using clean, rolled up white socks
  • Go for a walk and look for the biggest best snowman in the neighborhood
  • Make a snowman and ‘roll, nudge, mat/pat/bat’ the snow into a snowball
  • Make snow angels
this is the easy one but did you know you are meeting language goals here too
This is the easy one – but did you know you are meeting language goals here too?
  • Feelings: Three Billy Goats Gruff
    • Do you think trolls have feelings?
    • How did the troll feel when they came across his bridge?
    • Why do you think he was angry?
    • How did each goat feel when the troll was mean and why?
  • Cultural Awareness: Guess How Much I Love You
    • Discuss the relationship between Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare (father/son).
    • What kinds of families are represented in the class? Do you live with mommy, daddy, grandpa or grandma.
    • Introduce other family stories such as Mamma, Do You Love Me?,Grandpa’s Face, and I Love You Forever
    • Ask the children “Are you named after someone?” Talk about how that links us to our past (history).
    • Introduce other famous people named after someone (Martin Luther King Jr.)
    • Use these to introduce Black History Month and the Underground
what we saw
What We Saw
  • Writing Time: Children all sat at a table and were instructed what to write in a composition notebook with narrow lines
  • Writing assignment included writing name multiple times, tracing letters, writing letters over an entire page, copying sentences, etc
  • Writing centers had few materials, mostly pencils and lined paper
  • Many children groaned when told it was time to “write” or could be heard saying “I can’t do it”
what to do
What to do?
  • Began to research preschool writing, however there wasn’t much information I could find to present to the teachers that had much weight
  • I would give suggestions in the classroom, but didn’t have much to back it up
  • I gave up for a while due to not knowing what to do!
the art of ceus
The Art of …CEUs
  • Live E-Seminar “Developing Early Literacy Through Mediated Writing” by Joan N. Kaderavek, PhD
  • ASHA BookTalk, The Art of Teaching Writing by Lucy Calkins
now what
Now what?
  • Have a relationship built with your teachers first
  • Have a concrete plan
  • Convince them that the information you have to offer them is valuable
  • And if all else fails…bribe them!
if you build it
If You Build It…
  • Will they come??
  • My goal: 1 teacher…. (one teacher=18 children)
  • Sent out reminders, went around that morning and reminded each teacher
  • Held my breath and…
  • Nine teachers (out of 16) showed up to hear what I had to say during their lunch break at their will!
  • (Of course, I did bring a lot of food and prizes to raffle off, but I like to think they were somewhat interested!)
  • The following month I only had 4 show up (better than zero) and the following month I didn’t initiate it and I had two teachers inquire about it.
writing rescue

Writing Rescue

An Introduction

  • 36% of white fourth graders achieve proficient levels of writing
  • 14% of children who are African American become proficient writers
  • 17% of children who are Hispanic become proficient writers

(reference??—Lesley did I steal this from you?)

(we are not talking about being able to physically write letters, we are talking about being able to articulate a story in writing, etc)

why is our speech therapist talking to us about writing
Why is our speech therapist talking to us about writing??
  • The children that are on my caseload are the most at risk for reading and writing difficulties
  • Thirty minutes a week is not nearly enough for these children. With your help we can give them so much more…
writing development a guideline
Writing Development: A Guideline
  • Scribbling: “scribble scrabble” is developmentally appropriate, it is the starting block, a stepping stone, it IS writing to a three year old (Baby ex)
  • Drawing: children draw pictures to tell their stories, it IS writing to a 3,4,5 or even 6 year old. They may even begin to reproduce characteristics of the writing system in their environment.
  • Letters and Letterlike Units: Children begin to use letter forms or pseudo-letters. Letters may be use in strings, but do not correspond to sounds in the words.
  • Beginning Invented Spelling: Child may use a letter to stand for each syllable or word.
  • Later Invented Spelling: Child begins to demonstrate increasing knowledge of letter-sound relationships.
  • Conventional Spelling: Child uses letters to indicate all the sounds in a word.

(Emergent Writing levels adapted from Au, Mason and Scheu, 1995; Ferreiro &Teberosky, 1982; Sulzby, 1990)

-Adapted from Kaderavek, J. e-seminar

what are we doing now
What are we doing now?

“It is adults who have separated writing from art, song and play; it is adults who have turned writing into an exercise on lined paper, into a matter of rules, lessons and cautious behavior. Children view writing quite differently. For them, it is exploration with marker and pen.”

-Lucy Calkins, The Art of Teaching Writing

what are we currently doing
What are we currently doing?
  • Copying, tracing letters over and over and over again
  • Having a child “write” without putting meaning to what they are writing
  • Expecting the same thing from our 3 and 5 year olds
  • Focusing on the motor task of penmanship opposed to the creative task of writing
well then what should we do
Well, then, what should we do?

Head Start Standards: Writing

  • Develops understanding that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes
  • Represents stories and experiences through pictures, dictation and in play
  • Experiments with a growing variety of writing tools and materials, such as pencils, crayons and computers
  • Progresses from using scribbles, shapes or pictures to represent ideas, to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing family words such as their own name

(Head Start Child Outcomes Framework 2000)

what to do45
What to do?
  • “90% of children come to school believing they can write.”
    • Let’s be the ones who reinforce that belief in them.
  • “It is very helpful if we can focus on what children are doing rather than on what we wish they would do.”
    • We have to begin by meeting each child where they are, not where we want them to be.

(Lucy Calkins, The Art of Teaching Writing)

  • The most powerful classroom predictor on end-of-kindergarten-year vocabulary levels and emergent literacy skills is the frequency and content of extended teacher-child interactions. (Dickinson, 2001)
    • We must take an active part in facilitating each child’s writing growth and development.
it s up to you
It’s Up To You…

I really feel it’s up to you on how you want to change how you think about preschool writing and how that looks to you in your classroom, if you think you need to change at all.

Try to remember our long term goals, creative writing, telling a story, being able to express oneself through words. Make it functional and meaningful to the children. Let them have the opportunity to LOVE writing.

“We care about writing when we write with, for, and about the people who matter to us, and when we write about or ‘off of’ the issues and experiences that matter to us.” –L.C.

“What is necessary is that we have memories of a time when we loved writing and that we draw on those memories when we teach writing.” –L.C.

(special excerpts of writing from Amy’s children shared here!)

some suggestions journal writing
Some Suggestions: Journal Writing
  • Let the child lead (scribbling, drawing, writing, whatever); It’s called a journal for a reason, does anyone tell you what to write in your journal??
  • Talk to them about what they have written (even if it’s scribbling or drawing, we can still call it writing, that’s what it is to them)
  • Help them extend it to the next level, if they are scribbling, can they write lines or circles; if they are drawing can they write letters to tell more about their story,etc
  • Have them share their writings with the rest of the class
  • (examples)
dramatic play
Dramatic Play
  • Housekeeping: recipes, a shopping list, pad of paper beside the phone, a note on the fridge, a book to read to the dolls (the child makes it)
  • Bank: write checks, fill out deposit slips, keep ledgers
  • Restaurant: menu, bill, receipt
  • Block center: make own signs, road signs, street signs, “Don’t wreck it”
writing center
Writing Center
  • Have many different writing materials (pencils, markers, crayons, colored pencils, stamps, stencils, etc)
  • Have many different things to write on
    • Staple paper together to create “mini” books for “mini” stories
    • Lined and unlined paper
    • Notepads, sticky notes, lists
    • Notecards, blank cards, envelopes
  • Thematic activities with pictures and words from your activities, books, etc for the month
  • Non-writing literacy activities such as matching letter activities, letter puzzles, etc
  • Change it often and make it inviting and exciting! (Would you want to spend time in your writing center?)
other classroom ideas
Other classroom ideas
  • Sign in sheet
  • Milk requests
  • Job responsibilities
  • Making valentines/mother’s day/father’s day cards etc
  • Writing letter to field trip provider
  • Writing on dry erase board
  • Bring in a chalk board (or sidewalk chalk)
next time
Next time
  • Less of me and more of you…
  • I want us to share ideas…
  • Let us know what you did differently this month…
  • Share what worked great and what didn’t work so well
  • What do you want help with?
foot in the door
Foot In the Door
  • Follow up in the classroom-this presentation gave me the foundation to comment more in the classroom setting
  • Teacher conversation-gave them the opportunity to discuss among themselves the different strategies used
  • Ongoing-wasn’t a one time event, our learning continued together
what could i have done differently
What could I have done differently?
  • Next time…
  • Plan for beginning of year and try to continue throughout
  • Ask for anonymous feedback from teachers
  • Provide in class assistance with writing with each teacher
  • Try to set up a team of teachers to meet with or without me involved on a regular basis