Objectives Participants will be able to: State the rationale for a supportive climate during small-group time (SGT). Describe each component of a HighScope SGT. Develop opening statements to help focus children’s interests and attention on the SGT activity. 3
The HighScope Climate For Learning In all classrooms, the climate for learning falls somewhere on this continuum; ranging from laissez-faireto supportiveto directive. Let’s take a closer look at each of these climates… Laissez-Faire Supportive Directive 5
Directive: Controlling Climate Teachers control the activities and play. Teachers instruct and talk. Children listen and follow directions. During work time, directive teachers set out activities for children to do and make sure each child completes them correctly. Teachers act as classroom directors, over-controlling all aspects of the child’s day. Adults are primarily in control. Laissez-Faire Supportive Directive
Laissez-Faire: Permissive Climate Laissez-faire means “hands off” in French. Teachers let children play by themselves, they don’t get involved. Teachers act as “safety monitors,” providing supervision if a problem arises. During work time, laissez-faire teachers do paperwork, or passively observe children’s play. Children are primarily in control. Laissez-Faire Supportive Directive
Supportive: Partnership Climate Teachers and children are partners in play and learning. Teachers make adult-sized decisions, while children make child-sized choices. Adults and children share control. Teachers value children’s active learning, consciously building in opportunities to share control. During work time, supportive teachers enter into children’s play, following their interests and scaffolding their learning. Laissez-Faire Supportive Directive
Small-Group Time Climates for Learning During SGT, laissez-faire teachers give children the materials, then sit back and watch until it’s over. During SGT, supportive teachers scaffold each child’s learning and make the activity worthwhile and appropriate for all. During SGT, the curriculum content comes from directive teachers. Children drill and practice to learn exactly what the teacher wants. Laissez-Faire Supportive Directive
Discussion Which type of climate has the most positives from your experience? Which has the most negatives? Which type of climate do you want for your children? Why? 10
Small-Group Time Climates for Learning During SGT, laissez-faire teachers give children the materials, then sit back and watch until it’s over. During SGT, supportive teachers scaffold each child’s learning and make the activity worthwhile and appropriate for all. During SGT, the curriculum content comes from directive teachers. Children drill and practice to learn exactly what the teacher wants. HighScope SGTs are conducted in a SUPPORTIVE CLIMATE!!! HighScope SGTs include all the ingredients of ACTIVE LEARNING!!! Laissez-Faire Supportive Directive
Small-Group Time Small-group times (SGT) are adult-initiated activities during which children explore materials in their own way with the adult sharing the excitement of their discoveries. 13
HighScope Small-Group Times Are adult initiated. That is, the teacher plans the materials and the learning experience based on content, children’s interests and levels of development. 15
Active Learning at Small-Group Time 5 Ingredients of Active Learning What Children do at HighScope Small-Group Times Materials Children use their own set of materials. Manipulation Children experiment with the materials, using them in ways that make sense to them (which may or not be what the teacher originally had in mind.) Choice Child Thought and Language Children talk about their ideas and discoveries. Adult Scaffolding Each child is supported by the teacher, at their level of development.
Now I Get It!!! • In HighScope Small-Group Times: • Teachers plan the SGT activity. • Children still engage in all the ingredients • of active learning!
Importance of Small-Group Time: Builds on Children’s Strengths SGTs are planned around children’s emerging abilities. Adults scaffold and extend each child’s learning. As children gain confidence in their abilities, they are willing to take on new challenges. Kyra experiments until she discovers that by stacking the narrower cylinder blocks on top, they stay balanced.
Importance of Small-Group Time:Provides New Experiences SGTs can introduce children to materials and experiences they might otherwise miss. Teachers can use SGTs to appropriately build in content experiences. Do you have a child who always plays in the same area? SGTs help to provide a well-rounded experience. Kobe is mixing colors and painting a shoebox, something he wouldn’t normally choose to do at work time. 20
Importance of Small-Group Time:Provides Regular Peer Interactions SGTs provide children with the opportunity to form stable relationships. Children begin to appreciate the qualities and strengths of others in their group. Children can develop confidence speaking to this smaller group of peers. High/Scope recommends groups stay together for 2-3 months. Talking about their experiences with babies as they wash dolls helps this group of children see their similarities and grow together as friends.
Importance of Small-Group Time:Teachers Know Their Group SGT also gives the teacher the opportunity to observe and interact daily with the same children, learning their abilities and interests. Brianna’s teacher observes with interest, as she covers her hands with paint – a first for Brianna, who usually doesn’t like to get her hands “messy.” 22
Importance of Small-Group Time:Teachers Use Support Strategies We all need opportunities to practice and refine our skills. SGT gives teachers the opportunity to practice their adult-child interaction strategies in a stable setting. Nygel wanted to paint all sides of his tube. His teacher Sue, stabilizes the tube while talking with Nygel about the paint color he created. 23
Creating Your Small-Groups All small groups meet at the same time, each group of children with their same classroom adult. To determine group size, divide the number of classroom adults by the number of children. 2 adults (1 teacher, 1 assistant teacher) and 18 children. Each group has 9 children. 3 adults (1 teacher and 2 aides) and 21 children. Each group has 7 children. Balance groups by sex (boys and girls), age and temperament. Place children who play together in the same group. TIP: You should keep the same groups for planning, recall, SGT, and meals. 24
Keeping Groups Consistent • All small groups meet at the same time, each group of children with their classroom adult. • Groups (children and the teacher) should stay together for 2-3 months. • Always meet in the same place. • If you are holding small group in a different place (like the block area), meet in your normal spot first, and then move as a group. • Post a list of the group’s names and letter-linked symbols by your meeting place.
Overview of the Components • Beginning • Introduce the activity with an opening statement. • Middle • Active learning and scaffolding. • End • Bring the activity to a close and transition to the next part of your routine.
Before Your Small-Group Time, Prepare Materials Ahead of Time • Review your plan. • Gather a set of materials for each child and for yourself and sort them into individual containers.. • For example; scissors, glue stick, and paper scraps in each basket for an art-focused SGT.
Before Your Small-Group Time, Prepare Materials Ahead of Time • Also have back-up materials ready. • Back-up materials are extra materials that you place in the center of the table for anyone in the group to use as needed. • For example; more paper scraps, yarn, and feathers for that art-focused SGT. • Place materials within easy access of your SG meeting place.
Trays • Use small baskets, yogurt containers, • trays, lunch bags, shoe boxes, etc. • to hold a set of materials for each • child and for yourself. Tubs Baskets
Preparing Ahead of Time Has Benefits! • Cuts down on wait time. • Makes materials easy to distribute to the children. • Ensures that each child will have what he or she needs.
SGT: The Beginning Small-Group Time Beginning
Beginning: Getting the Activity Started • Have materials ready ahead of time. • Use an opening statement to introduce the activity or materials to the children. • Give children their own set of materials and let them begin working immediately.
Opening Statements • Opening statements serve to introduce the activity to the children. • Opening statements capture children’s attention to help them get interested and engaged with the materials.
Opening Statements (cont.) • There are four types of opening statements typically used at small-group time: • Describe the materials. • Connect the materials to children’s previous play or interests. • A short, simple, open-ended story using the materials. • Help to focus on a content area (KDI or COR item)
Same SGT, 4 Different Opening Statements Connect the activity to children’s interests. “Yesterday, during work time, Amaia and Jordyn wrote some letters on our message board. Today, I thought it would be fun for us to write on our own message boards. Let’s see what you can do.” “In your baskets, you’ll find some special markers and white drawing boards. When you are done drawing, see what happens when you wipe your board with your cloth.” Simply describe the materials. “We always have drawings on our message board, and sometimes we also have letters. Today for small-group time, you each have your own message board. I’m curious to see what letters you write.” Draw attention to a content focus. “Once upon a time, there were some letters playing on a board. Soon, more and more of their letter friends joined them. Here are some markers and boards you can use to make your own letter stories.” A short, simple story.
Small-Group Time Beginning Middle SGT: The Middle
Middle: Active Learning at It’s Best • Watch what individual children do with the materials. • Move from child to child. • Listen to what children say about what they are doing. • Have a set of materials for yourself, imitate or copy what you see children doing.
Middle: Active Learning at It’s Best • Talk with children about what they are doing. • Refer children to each other for ideas and assistance. • Bring out back-up materials as needed. • Scaffold children’s learning (we’ll talk about this strategy in the afternoon).
Observe what children do with the materials. Use materials yourself. Imitate children’s actions. Illustrations of Strategies Used in the Middle
Move from child to child to give individual support. Listen to what children say. Engage in conversations. Illustrations of Strategies Used in the Middle
Move from child to child. Support children’s ideas. Listen to what children say. Connect children together in conversations. Illustrations of Strategies Used in the Middle
Move from child to child. Be ready for children to use materials in unexpected ways. Converse with children, using a variety of interaction strategies. Illustrations of Strategies Used in the Middle
Listen to what children say about their ideas and work. Converse with children. Refer children to each other for problem solving. Illustrations of Strategies Used in the Middle
Small-Group Time Beginning Middle End SGT: The End
End: Bringing SGT to a Close Give children a three-minute warning before ending the activity. Encourage children to help you clean up the materials. Give children concrete suggestions about where to put materials and/or what they can do. Remind children where they can find the materials if they want to use them again at work time. Plan a way for children to transition to the next part of your daily routine. 45
Phrases Heard During the End of SGT “It’s almost time to go outside. You can put the magnets in this basket and the paper clips go here.” “In three more minutes it will be time to put the blocks away.” “We’ll put the play dough tub right here on the art shelf. If you want to make a plan to use it tomorrow at work time, this is where you can find it.” “After you put your frogs in this basket, hop to your cubbies and put your coats on.”
The Components of SGT Small-Group Time Beginning Middle End
Objectives • Participants will be able to: • Plan SGTs based on the sources of ideas. • Define scaffolding. • Describe the 4 steps to scaffold early learning. • Use scaffolding strategies to support and extend children’s learning.
Sources of Ideas A concern expressed by many who are learning about SGTs is: “Where do you get your ideas when planning small-group times?” Here are four sources that you can use: Content areas Children’s interests New and unexplored materials Local traditions 50