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Dawn Braa @dawnbraa

Dawn Braa @dawnbraa

Dawn has worked as a lead preschool teacher in both metro and rural Minnesota cities. Currently, she's an Early Childhood and Youth Development instructor and has been teaching at the collegiate level for 13 years. Dawn also facilitates early childhood workshops at the local, state, and national level. Dawn is the author of the Enhancing Young Minds blog and host of the innovative Beyond The Pages blog book study, featuring guest content experts. Dawn has a MAEd. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Phoenix and continues to update her credentials through courses, webinars, workshops, research, and conferences.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EarlyChildhoodIdeasResources
Blog: http://enhancingyoungminds.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dawnbraa
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dawn-braa-m-a-ed-68336822

Posted by on in Education Resources

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The end of the semester has come. As I grade through the seemingly never-ending pile of papers, I reflect. How did the students respond to the textbook and certain activities this semester? How engaged did they seem during class? I consider the success level on student assignments and how that success was determined. Should I modify the assignment? The rubric? Do I allow for students to “show what they know” in a variety of ways, depending on their personal preferences and learning styles? Although the semester is over for students, my learning continues.

stacksIn fact, I learn quite a bit each semester. Did that new approach produce the desired results? Was that structure a headache or worth it? Were there student needs I was unprepared for? How can I better set each student up for success, while still allowing them to meet high standards?

One of my favorite reflection tools at the end of the semester is the exit ticket. Each student completes one, whether in a face-to-face or online course, before they leave the course. It’s their final task. The exit ticket provides me with student insight for the course but also assists me in learning more about each student. Although I modify it slightly every semester, here’s what the exit ticket entails:

When answering the following, reflect on the entire course.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

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Many in the early childhood field would agree that the momentum surrounding early childhood education throughout the country seems to be building in our favor. On local and national levels, in the media and the government, with educators and politicians, early care and learning is in the news. This is exciting, but I'm torn because although the polls are showing that a majority of Americans believe in the importance of early education and care, I wonder if change is actually on the horizon.

We in early learning and development have known for years, backed by science, that the early years are critical. We also know through research findings that professional learning is a key component in consistent high quality care. Many in the field have been shouting these facts for years! In fact, I'd argue that although our field has made recent strides forward, historically we've been moving at a snail's pace. We need a sense of urgency - now is the time for a monumental push (and perhaps a shove!) Stacie Goffin is calling on us, within the field, to develop a "collective will or a shared passion for creating an alternative future" for tomorrow's children. (Dahlin)

Did you notice in the first two paragraphs that different terms were used? Early childhood education, early care and learning, early education and care, early learning and development... why are there so many? Do they refer to the same thing? Why is it that in nearly every state there are various early childhood systems working individually, disconnected from others doing similar work. I've always questioned these "silos" that seem to be deep-rooted within our field. Why reinvent the wheel ourselves when we can tap into our field's greatest asset...each other!

Last spring, the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences released the Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8 report calling for the transformation of the early childhood workforce. 

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Posted by on in Education Policy

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If you ask a child what their favorite part of the school day is, they’ll probably tell you recess. “Recess is the time of day set aside for elementary school students to take a break from their class work, engage in play with their peers, and take part in independent, unstructured activities,” Bossenmeyer, M. (2005). A trend is happening throughout the United States and in my opinion; it’s not a good one.

Recess is being cut and/or eliminated from school schedules. Why does this matter? Children are able to interact outside in ways different than in the classroom. Should recess remain a part of the child’s school day?

Recess provides children with discretionary time and opportunities to engage in physical activity that helps to develop healthy bodies and enjoyment of movement. It also allows elementary children to practice life skills such as conflict resolution, cooperation, respect for rules, taking turns, sharing, using language to communicate, and problem solving in situations that are real. Furthermore, it may facilitate improved attention and focus on learning in the academic program. (Council on Physical Education for Children, 2001)

playgroundI believe a national crisis will be reality in the lives of young children if we eliminate recess from schools. “Over forty percent of our nation’s schools have either reduced or banned, or are considering to ban recess in order to maximize amount of time spent in the classroom,” (Bazaliaki, N., Cox, D., Long, T., Risteen, J., Sparks, K., & Jonas Ward, J.) Why are schools doing this when recess has been apart of the educational system for so long? There is a tremendous amount of academic pressure on teachers and schools to create successful, high-achieving students.

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