Jill Soto 150We were fortunate to have Jill Soto present a webinar  about, Intentional Curriculum Implementation on August 17, 2016. Many of the participants had questions that we were unable to ask Jill.  She  was kind enough to answer them and they are posted below.  Here is a link to the recording:   Intentional Curriculum Implementation: The Director’s Role in Supporting Teachers in Early Childhood Classrooms, by Jill Soto

Click here to:  Download the PowerPoint Slides

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Q.1. Is your dissertation published and available?

A.1. No, it is not published at this time.  The goal is for it to be finished in 2017.  I am more than happy to update Early Childhood Investigations with a link to the dissertation once completed.

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Q.2. I find your research quite interesting – I completed my PhD. in 2014 on Designing Culturally Responsive Professional Development… would love to hear about your work in more detail!

A.2. I would love to have a conversation with you about my study if you are interested.  My contact information is jsoto@ou.edu.

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Q.3. GO POKES!

A.3. I am so excited to get a Go POKES!!

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Q.4. Do you have some tips for providing adequate time for planning and prep that is free from responsibility for children at the same time?

A.4. I think that nap-time is still the best option, but making sure at least monthly that the staff get time away from responsibility of watching napping children to plan.  Typically nap-time coverage decreases some so you can make it work.

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Q.5. I’m having the hardest time transitioning teachers from inappropriate curriculum to developmentally appropriate curriculum.  They’re struggling to believe that children learn literacy through print rich environment versus flash cards. How do I help to facilitate the transition?

A.5. The best advice I have for this problem would be additional training/professional development because developmentally appropriate is the most difficult concept to learn.  I think also doing some demonstrations during staff meeting would be helpful because teachers might not feel confident to share activities with peers so as the director you could share an activity and then dissect it with the group to give them the practical application of developmentally appropriateness.  That was the best strategy I used as a director to help bridge that knowledge gap.

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Q.6. I am curious if there are any strategies for observing and giving feedback to teachers that are resistant to this process and think they do not need support.

A.6. I think there are always staff that are resistant because they have years of experience or they high levels of education.  It is when you are dealing with staff like this that you have to potentially use video taped times to review together so that they will uncover the issue themselves.  Seeing is believing.

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Q.7. wait – can she say that again?  the def of scaffolding

A.7. Scaffolding: A framework for teaching in which the level of assistance decreases as the learner takes more responsibility for performance of the task.  This is the definition of scaffolding I referenced in the webinar.

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Q.8. What are challenges for new school administrators with limited teaching experience supervising effective seasoned teachers with 10 + yrs of experience….

A.8. It might be that we would want to set up a conference call to discuss this because it could be personalities, ages, so many things that are impacting the effectiveness of the director.

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Q.9. As Jill was discussing that directors need to know their purpose when observing, it struck me that it was also a way of modeling what we want teachers to be aware of when they observe.  Teachers need to have a focus and purpose of their observations.

A.9. I am completely agree!!!

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Q.10. I’m a program support mentor for daycare…..I too need strategies for observing and giving feedback to teachers and directors that are resistant to this process and think they do not need support

A.10. I think no matter your role you can implement these same strategies for observing and giving feedback.  I answered in a previous question about resistance and I think one great strategy is to video tape the teacher in action.  It would be more challenging to do this with a director, but teachers video tape there interactions during various times per day and it would allow them to begin to see for themselves where they are struggling.

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Q.11. When directors are observing, what it is the time frame of each observation and are they stiting there with a clipboard or just interacting as usual and making mental notes to the provide feedback later?

A.11. This is where you must be prepared and know why are you observing because that will tell you if it is just observing with blank paper and writing everything you see or targeted observations on specific skills of the staff.  ALWAYS write it down so that you have the facts and not what you think you saw.  Just like we want teachers to write facts about children we want to write facts about our staff.

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Q.12. Please are you able to recommend tools for observation? Thx!

A.12. Recommending exact observation tools is a bit challenging because it really depends on the curriculum you are implementing and again the purpose of the observation.  General tools I think that Environmental Rating Scale Assessments are great for global quality observations.  The new Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Third Edition (ECERS-3) is great for intentional teaching because you have to see specific math, science, and literacy interactions with children.  Creative Curriculum has an implementation checklist so you can check off specifics related to the curriculum.  If you are using a curriculum that has assessment attached use the aggregate data from the assessment for curriculum fidelity and implementation.  There is also a new scale out that is titled Teacher Intentionality of Practice Scale (TIPS).  Here is the citation for the development and validation of the scale:  Marshall, J. C., Smart, J., & Alston, D. M. (2016). Development and validation of Teacher Intentionality of Practice Scale (TIPS): A measure to evaluate and scaffold teacher effectiveness. Teaching and Teacher Education, 59, 159-168.

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Q.13. Does Jill have any resources or sample documents that provide an example of the whole process and strategies used? Like the example being share verbally about math learning.

A.13. The math learning example will be available soon with the examples of the missed teachable moments along with commentary and break down in the learning.  As soon as those are available for viewing I will share the link to them with Early Childhood Investigations.  The filming and editing will be completed during the month of September.

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Q.14. Will you comment on the use of video observation of teachers?

A.14. I think it is a critical aspect and one of the most beneficial tools to be used.

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Q.15. I have read recently that helping teachers to develop good lesson plans (not just reviewing them) provides better professional growth than simply observation and curriculum

A. 15. I agree that using lesson plan development as professional development opportunities is great and needed.  However, if directors do not initially review the lesson plan they might not even realize that staff need assistance.  I mentioned during the webinar that it is helpful for you as director’s to be available or participate in the teachers planning time.  This is a wonderful opportunity for teachers growth.

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Q.16. Will you comment on the use of video observation of teachers?

A.16. I think videoing teachers in action is great because they will often see for themselves what needs to change before you even have to comment on it.  It is a great tool for self-reflecting.  I think it is important that it is used as a tool for supporting not catching teachers doing something wrong.  I think you want to be clear about the purpose of the videotaping.  For example:  You said you are having a difficult time during group time so I am going to come in an observer group time today and tomorrow I am going video tape group time and then we are going to meet together and review the video.

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Q.17. Some district have funds to hire curriculum specialist…….how does this role factor into intentional supervision….?

A.17. I think that curriculum specialist can be very supportive in assisting teachers with lesson planning and implementation, but be cautious that simply because you have access to the curriculum specialist that directors don’t become disengaged from what is happening in the classroom.  In some instances I have seen that the curriculum specialist is very aware of the struggles of a classroom or teacher, but it is unknown to the director so you want to ensure that you have something in place to close the gap so that the director remains a part of the process.

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Q.18. Is is possible to see some examples of what intentional observations/feedback can look like (from directors and teachers).

A.18. The math learning example will be available soon with the examples of the missed teachable moments along with commentary and break down in the learning.  As soon as those are available for viewing I will share the link to them with Early Childhood Investigations.  The filming and editing will be completed during the month of September.

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Q.19. I have been using video then reflection process with teachers and practicum students. Any thoughts?

A.19. I think videoing teachers in action is great because they will often see for themselves what needs to change before you even have to comment on it.  It is a great tool for self-reflecting.  I think it is important that it is used as a tool for supporting not catching teachers doing something wrong.  I think you want to be clear about the purpose of the videotaping.  For example:  You said you are having a difficult time during group time so I am going to come in an observer group time today and tomorrow I am going video tape group time and then we are going to meet together and review the video.

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Q.20. It is very hard to be in ratio and give time to prep to teachers. what would you suggest to management to make this happen?

A.20. Absolutely it is challenging to remain ratios and give teachers prep time.  I think you want to look at the possibility of what would it cost to bring a part time person one week a month to relieve classrooms for age group planning.  It might be less expensive than you really think.

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Q.21. I would like to ask is there an outline form that you would suggest to use to observe with the class. I do not observation the classroom as at all and what to start .

A.21. There is not just one great outline form for observing in the class, but I would be happy to brainstorm a checklist of items and work on creating something to assist.

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Q.22. Would you give a brief list of things that could be on a classroom observation list.  What things should we look for on a regular basis?

A.22. There is not just one great outline form for observing in the class, but I would be happy to brainstorm a checklist of items and work on creating something to assist.

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Q.23. Help me sell centers on the benefits of paying for planning time (away from the room) – they always tell me they cannot afford to.

A.23. I typically ask directors to try it for one month and go back and observe in the classrooms and again seeing is believing.  I think that they don’t see the benefits because they have not tried.  Once that actually observe before have teachers planning together and go back an observe again they will see there the children are getting so much more then they will work for find creative ways to fund planning time.

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Q.24. I would like to hear a bit more about the “staying at inquiry” part. Are there any references that Jill could refer us to?

A.24. I have a video titled Collaborative Supervision that is wonderful and showing how this works.  I would be happy to work with you to get access to the video.  We have it in our Video Lending Library here at Center for Early Childhood Professional Development.

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Q.25. do you recoment that staff collaborate with eah other if they do not work in with the same age group

A.25. I would not put staff together to work on lesson plans that do not work with the same age group unless I have a really experienced teacher that does a great job with planning and then I might ask her to attend the staff that are struggling more to offer them some strategies she uses, but often teachers are less confident in offering suggestions to teachers of different age groups.  This could be a great way to scaffold teachers learning and prepare staff for new roles of support within the center.

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Q.26. How many hours a week of plan time do your teachers receive?

A.26. I think if teachers can get 1 hour uninterrupted that is very sufficient if they are only planning for the next week.  If you are working on an aspect of curriculum implementation and you are going to review a video you taped of their group time then it could take longer, but for simply lesson planning 1 hour a week would be quite acceptable.