The Reggio Emilia approach is one that many teachers aspire to use in their classrooms, and while much information can be found on how to best set up one’s classrooms and ideas for provocations, the challenging part is finding concrete information on how to assess student learning. Below are some tips to help you evaluate student progress in a concise and documented fashion.
First things first: classroom set up is key and not just because your room should have a certain look to it, but because you must be absolutely clear on which objective(s) will be met in which defined space. When setting materials out, it helps to use a planning tool that will help you lay out your room so that when the students interact with resources they are being “guided” to meet the standards you have in mind. Additionally, when creating each space it is not only important to think about how each defined space can meet objectives for a single subject area but also for multiple subject areas, if possible, and to have a plan if students move materials from one space to another. For ideas on how to create such a planning tool, see the following:
8 Steps to Setting Up a Classroom
Ensuring Your Environment Becomes the Third Teacher
Once you are clear on how you will use your environment to guide learning, you can begin to think about how you will evaluate students and what criteria you will use. Some things to think about are:
When you have a clear plan on how you will document student learning, the next step is to execute. Because you are working in a fluid environment where demonstrating learning is ongoing, this can be a tricky thing; however, if you have a tool in place for recording what you observe, such as a tracking sheet for each defined space that lists objectives you are looking for and includes space for you to note students who have achieved the goals, it will be easier for you to keep track of what you observe. This tracking sheet can be based on your classroom setup planner as it already has objectives mapped out across each area in your room. It also goes without saying that a device for taking pictures/recording evidence should always be near - you never know when that magical moment may happen!
And finally, once all your evidence of learning has been collected, the last step is reporting. Because you have your tracking sheets that list objectives and which students met them, you will be able to accurately report on each child’s progress and have the photo/video evidence collected to back you up, which is exactly what parents and admin will want to see. If teachers in the next grade level are not following the Reggio Emilia approach, consider condensing the report you provide to them to include only what the students have demonstrated they can do, minus the photo/video evidence as this is what they will be most interested in when planning for the year ahead.
While these are some tips and suggestions to help you get on your way, they are by no means the only ones. Have any other strategies you would like to share? We would love to hear them!
By Patricia Hill
It's no secret that kids can be a handful. They're always on the go, and their energy levels can be through the roof. As a parent, you might feel exhausted just trying to keep up with them. But it's important to remember that your children need your help to stay healthy and happy, and one of the best ways you can do that is by encouraging them to practice self-care. Here are some tips from Education by Shala Books to keep in mind.
Photo via Pexels
Model Self-Care for Your Children
Millersville University explains that one of the best ways to encourage your children to practice self-care is by modeling it yourself. Let them see you care for yourself, so they know it's essential. When your children see you care for yourself, they'll be more likely to do the same. Find time for things that make you feel good, such as exercise, meditation, and spending time outdoors.
Fitness is ideal for everyone, and exercise is an excellent way for kids to release energy and calm down. It can also help improve their focus and concentration. Encourage your children to get moving every day, even just for a few minutes. Create an obstacle course in your backyard, or take a family walk around the block or at a nearby park, a simple way to get active and made even more convenient if you happen to live in a town with a high Walk Score. This is a great way to spend quality time together while also getting some exercise. Find ways to enjoy the great outdoors through hiking, fishing, and swimming.
Soccer is a great sport for kids of all ages. It helps to develop coordination and motor skills, and can be played both indoors and outdoors. Soccer also promotes fitness and can be a great way to burn off energy. In addition, soccer offers kids the opportunity to socialize and make new friends. It can also teach important life skills such as teamwork and sportsmanship.
Make Time for Meditation
Meditation can help kids learn to control their thoughts and emotions. Parents.com notes that it's an excellent way for them to relax and de-stress. There are many ways to meditate, so find one that works best for your family. Try guided meditation, where you focus on your breath and a mantra or consider walking meditation, where you focus on your surroundings and your steps.
Consider making a space in your home dedicated to relaxation and solitude. This can be a great spot for meditating that both you and your kids can use to destress.
Purchase Healthy and Safe Products
When it comes to their health, there is no such thing as being too careful with your kids; so you need to be vigilant about the products they use. Thankfully, there are a number of companies that offer safe and healthy choices for every need. And with a little research, it is easy to find products that are both effective and affordable.
Connect with Nature
Being out in nature is a great form of therapy. In fact, Yale Environment 360 reports that being in nature has positive effects on mental well-being, including a decrease in anxiety and an increase in mood. Being with animals can also be incredibly therapeutic. Petting an animal releases cortisol, which is a hormone that contributes to feelings of stress. And Inverse explains that petting animals also positively affects the part of our brain responsible for emotions.
Try activities as a family that get you outside and communing with animals (in a safe way, of course). Visiting a petting zoo is a fun way for even little ones to get up close and personal with animals. Or try horseback riding as a family. There are great programs that allow kids of all ages and abilities to ride safely.
Teach Breathing Techniques
When kids are feeling overwhelmed, teach them how to take slow, deep breaths. This simple technique can help them relax and feel more in control. It's also a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. And these breathing techniques are an easy introduction to meditation for kids who aren’t quite ready for it yet.
Regardless of being sick, regularly seeing your doctor is an important habit to build early. Preventative medicine can be the best medicine. If you work for yourself, make sure you’ve explored your insurance options. The ACA Insurance Exchange, for example, is a good place to start your search if you need new insurance.
Listen to Music
Music can be a powerful tool for relaxation. Create a calm environment for your children by playing soothing music in the background. You can also encourage them to listen to music when feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Work on a Project That Encourages Practical Skills
Be creative and think of a project that you can share with your kiddos, preferably something hands-on that they can use for a lifetime. For example, you can teach kids about appreciating their vehicles as a major investment. They can learn basic car care at a very young age and then, when they get older, you can teach them how to change the oil and check air pressure in the tires.
Make Small Acts and Big Trips into Quality Family Time
It's essential to find ways to prioritize your children, especially during busy seasons. Having a plan of attack ensures your children have quality time with you and you're not just running from one activity to the next. Try to schedule some time each day to focus on your children, even if they're just helping with chores next to you while you work in the kitchen. Other ideas include reading a book together or going for a walk.
You can also go a bit further and plan a fun getaway, like to a Disney theme park, something that every family member will enjoy. Not only is a Disney World or Disneyland trip an opportunity to get away and spend quality time with the kids, but it will create memories that will last a lifetime for the entire family. Check out MouseLifeToday, where you can find great deals and discounts for your next Disney trip at a reputable website that also has Disney-related news and a rewards program.
Find Fun Ways to Unwind
Life can get hectic and overwhelming for people of every age, which is why it’s important to teach our children how to engage in self-care practices. When teaching your children how to care for their physical and emotional well-being, make it fun and relaxing. Prioritize your children’s health, the time you spend with them, and encourage them to find activities that make them feel good. Whether it's a family game night, horseback riding lessons, a walk around the block, or even a trip to Disneyland, take every opportunity to model self-care and enjoyment together.
For resources for beginning readers, as well as ESL and FSL readers, visit Education by Shala Books today!