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Using technology in preschool classrooms to improve assessment and promote data-based decision making

When the topics of early childhood education and technology come together there are often intense opinions about when and if children should be exposed to technology at young ages, how such interactions impact child level outcomes and behaviors and the intended or unintended impact such use of technology in preschool may have on family, teacher, classroom or system level practices. Current research is developing on both sides of this debate and at present we have few empirical studies to support how to make decisions about child level interactions with technology during the early childhood years.

Tips on Writing Mini-Grants to Fund MTSS/RtI in Early Childhood

I looked at the check in my hand and read the amount: $1300 to purchase IGDIs assessment materials as part of our MTSS/RtI initiative! This was great news! I had submitted a proposal to purchase materials to a local foundation that supported early language and literacy initiatives and I was awarded the full amount I had requested. This would go a long way to helping us know our students’ current performance levels on a universal screener (IGDIs) that had met rigorous criteria as being a valid and reliable measure of current early language and literacy skills and a strong indicator of later reading fluency proficiency or difficulty.

Using Data-Based Decision Making to Drive Program Quality in PreK: The Story of One Head Start Program

with special contribution from Rachel Roberts, Assistant Principal of Kalamazoo RESA Head Start (MI)

Over the last three years, the state of Michigan has more than doubled its investment in State funded PreK. At the same time, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency in Kalamazoo, Michigan was awarded the Head Start grant to serve 626 children across the county. These two PreK programs set the stage for the Intermediate School District to ramp up its early childhood programming and implement Multi-Tiered Systems of Support in their PreK early childhood programming.

Understanding Bilingual Development in Early Childhood: Fact vs Fiction

There are many myths that you might encounter in the field about bilingual development (Espinosa, 2008). The truth is that most Americans know very little about bilingualism and unfortunately as a society we do not place much value in or have much experience with speaking more than one language. Outside the U.S. over half of the world’s population is bilingual (Grosjean, 2010). As diversity increases in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008) it is important that we get our facts right about bilingualism so that we can better serve one of the fastest and largest populations in the U.S. The following section will address three important “fictions” that influence how teachers might approach the education of young dual language learners (DLLs).

Using Data-based Decision Making to Drive Instruction in PreK: One District’s Experience

with special contribution from Mary Mischke, Early Childhood Specialist Pre-K of Bloomington Public Schools (MN)

When we hear the term “data-based decision making” or “data-driven instruction” early childhood teachers often wonder, “What constitutes data?” and “How do I use it to make decisions?” Data are the information we collect at the student and classroom level to evaluate student success or instructional practices, and when we use those data to drive how we modify our instruction we engage a data-driven process. Conceptually, it sounds easy enough, but in practice, it takes careful attention to a host of factors. This story features one school district’s experience with data-based decision making and how this model has promoted best practices in their preschool classrooms.

The Achievement Gap: why we need to start in early childhood

Volumes of research illustrate how the first five years are a window especially ripe for creating healthy, happy and successful children. Over the past two decades a substantial collection of seminal work on the magic that occurs in these precious years have been disseminated across the nation in reports, website, editorials, books and research study findings (e.g. Neurons to Neighborhoods, Harvard’s Developing Child Center, National Early Literacy Panel, Thirty Million Words, etc.). Findings stretching from neuron formations and brain development, to the value of talking to children in meaningful conversation to build vocabulary, to supporting healthy eating habits that promote sustained healthy lifestyles have all contributed to the importance of these first five years. As a result, it is now well accepted that across the research, findings all point to the core notion that if we want to create circumstances for the most success in life, we must start in early childhood.

Demonstrating Results: How Minnesota Reading Corps uses MTSS for preparing successful readers

In this post, we spotlight the Minnesota Reading Corps – the largest AmeriCorps program in the country. Authored by Minnesota Reading Corps’ Pre-K program developer, trainer and master coach, Kate Horst, this is the story of how the Minnesota Reading Corps established a framework of supports for producing strong literacy gains among emerging readers.

Kansas Preschool Programs using myIGDIs for Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

To ensure young children are reaching important achievement standards and school readiness goals, the Kansas Preschool Programs (KPP) are integrating structures necessary for implementing a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS).

The Kansas MTSS framework is based on a systematic, evidence-based approach to curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices for influencing positive educational outcomes. Working within this framework, the Kansas Inservice Training System (KITS), a program of the Kansas University Life Span Institute at Parsons, initiated training to reinforce assessment, planning, and intentional instruction by the KPP.

What is early literacy and why is it so important?

In the early 2000’s, legislative shifts and new educational paradigms started to shift attention to Pre-Kindergarten outcomes. A new focus on academic readiness was born, with the aim of better preparing students for Kindergarten. With laws and initiatives like Early Reading First and No Child Left Behind, we began to direct our attention on the early predictors for academic success. One of these predictors, early literacy, gained much attention as researchers went to work to define what it is and how it contributes to educational success.