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Educator Pointers

  1. Remember that we are unique individuals with unique thoughts and feelings.
    • What does the word <say a word> mean to you?
    • What are you thinking about?
    • How do you feel about that story?
  2. Maintain authority, but allow the learner to take ownership of his/her learning.
    • <Name>, today we are learning about snakes. However, when we go to centers, I can show you a book about spiders if you really want to know more about them.
  3. Show emotion - smile, nod, shake your head, and use your body to express yourself.
  4. Be involved during the learning process - participate in all activities. Ask the learner meaningful questions about his/her work and follow through with meaningful feedback.
  5. Know that sometimes being involved also means silently observing.
  6. Explain out loud your thoughts and feelings.
  7. Keep eye-contact when talking to the learner.
  8. Model behaviors you expect in return.
    • Teach respect by showing respect.
    • Always say please and thank you.
    • Keep a calm tone to your voice.
  9. Speak and respond in full sentences.
  10. Validate the learner's effort.
  11. Ask the learner about outside of school events and incorporate those interests into lessons.
  12. Use specific feedback.
    • I love how you drew a squiggly line in your drawing.
    • You did a wonderful job staying in the lines.
    • I noticed you used your inside voice when talking to Johnny, great job!
    • Next time you come to circle time, can you walk please? Thank you.
  13. Guide the learner through the learning process with both verbal and non-verbal instructions (i.e. hand gestures).
  14. Explain all directions clearly and occasionally mention what you do NOT want.
  15. Occasionally accept non-compliance, but explain why you are allowing it.
    • I asked you to share your ideas with Sara, but I understand you wanted to tell Jacob instead. Next time, you need to follow the instructions.
    • You were supposed to color the picture. I understand that you wanted to play with Kyle, but Kyle had already finished coloring his page. Now you have a blank page to put in your portfolio. This time you can finish coloring later when you have extra time.
    • Free time is over. You were asked to help clean up the toys. It looks like Amy cleaned up all the toys by herself. What should you do next time when it is time to clean up?
  16. When asking questions, allow enough time for a proper response.
  17. Never accept "I don't know". Help the learner to realize the answer.
  18. Ask questions that are open ended and provoke thought.
  19. Use "we" more than "I". Learners should know they are part of a group whom depend on each other.
    • Today we are going to learn about the circus. NOT I planned for us to learn about the circus today.
    • We need to wash our hands. Please line up. NOT I see it is time to wash hands. Please line up.
  20. After asking a learner a question, always wait for a response. Giving up on that child for an answer allows them to give up on themselves as well.
  21. Give appropriate wait time and then offer suggestions if a learner seems unable to respond.
    • Do you want me to come back to you?
    • Do you need help?
    • Do you want to ask a friend for help?
  22. If the learner asks for help, give hints or guide him/her through the learning process.
    • What is 2 + 2? (wait) Need help? We know 2+1 is 3, so 2 +2 is _________.
    • What is 2 +2? (wait) Need help? Hold up 2 fingers. Now hold up 2 more. Let's count. 1, 2, 3, 4. So what does 2 + 2 equal?
  23. Use reasoning skills more often than directions.
    • We have a messy room, what should we do?
    • <Name>, the rest of the class is seated and working quietly. What do you need to do?
  24. Randomly line up learners and at the same time allow them to realize that the have common interests or qualities.
    • If you have a brother, line up.
    • If you have a dog, line up.
    • If your favorite color is green, line up.
    • If you were born in the month of May, line up.
  25. Help the learner to focus.
    • <Name>, the next question is for you.
    • <Name>, are you ready to answer this question?
  26. Talk using synonyms.
    • Who is confused or doesn't understand?
    • We need to be silent, which means to stop talking.
    • Who can think of a farm animal? (wait) <Name>, which farm animal did you imagine?
  27. It's okay to make mistakes. As a educator model making mistakes and learning from them.
    • Oops, I wrote that 1 + 1 = 3. Is that correct? Did I do that right? No? What should I have written? Thank you. I'll try to remember that next time.
    • It's time for gym. It isn't? I should have looked at the calendar. I thought it was Tuesday, but it's Wednesday. What should we be doing now?
  28. Use humor and avoid sarcasm. Sarcasm causes confusion and mixed-messages.
    • <Name>, you have a boot on your head. It's not? Oh, it's a hat - you're right. Where should it be? Please put it there now. NOT <Name>, I see a hat on your head. You are always great at listening to my instructions. Put it in the coatroom please.
  29. Focus more often on positive reinforcement and less often on punishment.
    • <Say a learner's name who is off task>, can you show me how to do your work properly? Reward the behavior when the work is done properly.
    • If you complete your work silently, that means without talking, than you can go from yellow to green on your behavior chart.
    • Give praise to a learner who is on task and see if the learner off task changes his/her behavior.
  30. Allow for choices.
    • <Name>, would you rather help your friends clean up or go to the time-out chair for not following directions?
    • < Name >, right now you are making a wrong choice. Show me how to make the right choice.
    • You can listen to my instructions < Name >, or you can go to time-out and think about how to make better choices.
  31. Use time-out sparingly by removing the learner from a situation for a short time. It should be an area for thinking about how to make better choices.
  32. Allow for learners to improve their behavior.
    • Learners can go from green to yellow and then from yellow back to green if their behavior improves. Otherwise, the learner has no motivation to continue to behave.
  33. Set clear and positive rules.
    • Respect yourself.
    • Respect others.
    • Respect the classroom.
  34. To quiet the class, avoid noise.
    • Finger to lip and hand in the air. The learners repeat the gesture.
    • Dim the lights.
    • Flicker the lights.
  35. Plan lessons ahead of time and make sure materials are ready the day before.
  36. Make sure each lesson has a single-clear objective.
  37. Be organized.
    • Use a lesson book.
    • Have a schedule for each day that is visible to the whole class.
    • Color code materials that are used often.
    • Everything should have a place.
    • Use clear bins and sturdy hooks for things that are used often and found on the floor (clothing, toys, supplies, etc.)
  38. Be fair.
    • Fair does not mean equal treatment. One learner may need to use the washroom often because of an illness and another learner may ask to use the washroom often as a way to avoid work.
  39. Be consistent.
  40. Have a place for learners to be alone and allow them to use it for 5-10 minutes at a time.
    • A quiet chair (different from time-out).
    • A personal mat to place on the floor.
    • A pop-up tent.
  41. Create independent centers for learners who finish early or need a mental break.
    • Quiet Center (puzzles, I Spy, coloring, and/or book nook).
    • Sensory Center (play dough, light sight, and/or sensory bin).
    • Construction Center (blocks, Legos, sponges, and/or doll house).
  42. Allow for appropriate physical contact.
    • high five
    • thumb to thumb
    • finger fan tickle (wiggle four fingers against someone else's four fingers)
    • holding hands to form a circle
  43. Display quality work inside and outside of the classroom.
  44. Help with transitioning from one activity to another. This can be done many ways.
    • clean-up songs
    • sounds (bell, song, or tune)
    • routine written up on the wall and point to what is next
  45. Remember to discuss time so that learners begin to perceive minutes and hours. Using a timer helps to show the exact time.
    • Please complete the task within 5 minutes.
    • We are going to play outside for 1 hour.
    • You have 3 minutes in time-out to think of an apology for Miles.
    • Clean-up is in 10 minutes.