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Jessica Cabeen @JessicaCabeen

Jessica Cabeen @JessicaCabeen

Jessica has been the Principal of the Woodson Kindergarten Center for the past four years.  Prior to that she was the Assistant Principal at the Middle School and Special Education Supervisor at the Secondary Level for the Austin Public Schools in Austin MN.  Prior to moving to Austin she worked within the Saint Paul Public Schools for seven years.  She received a Bachelors in Music Therapy from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, a Masters Degree in Special Education from Saint Thomas University in Saint Paul MN, and her Director of Special Education and Principalship licenses from Hamline University.  


 

Posted by on in Early Childhood

kindergarten classroom

Recent news continues to highlight the increasing demands on teachers, students and families during the first year of school. Kindergarten is the "New First Grade" has been said many times during the past few years, however increased academic expectations can be met with developmentally appropriate instructional strategies…play included.  The benefits of play in the new first grade are seen throughout a child’s day in multiple domains.

1. Development of the whole child.  Play-based activities reach a wide scope and sequence of skills.  From critical thinking to problem solving skills-students have a very concrete and motivating way to learn the foundation skills that will support their learning K-12 and beyond.

2. Reaches the diverse learning styles of our students.  Play is a universal language.  I have observed students of all native languages interact together at a sensory table with water and sink/float activities.  We don’t always need our words to learn-but for our students who thrive in modes of learning that incorporate kinesthetic and visual activities- play can be the spark that supports more meaningful understanding of concepts.

3. Opportunities for development of oral language skills.  So much research has come out in regards to the importance of meaningful talk time for our early learners.  Playful learning offers intentional opportunities for students to enhance their vocabulary skills, while having student models and teacher facilitation of conversations.

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Posted by on in Classroom Management

PBIS Logo 1

PBIS-Four letters that can evoke different thoughts and feelings from teachers, leaders, students and parents. If implemented well-it works.  If not-stakeholders are left with a bad taste of the system of supports that was not fully explained or fully implemented. 

PBIS is more than tickets and parties, it is a prevention based school wide approach to looking at student behavior in parts: teaching behavioral expectations, acknowledging students for appropriate behavior, consistent discipline and team-managed data based decision making. 

At Woodson we have been utilizing this system of supports for five years.  During these years we have changed and evolved many aspects of the primary tenants of PBIS to meet the continued need of students and staff.  

1. Teaching Behavioral Expectations.  

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

children and computers

Taking a page from George Curous' book "Innovators Mindset" I took an Uber ride into Washington DC. My driver and I were talking about what I do which led into her sharing about her 5 year old daughter.  She mentioned that her daughter can spell 4-letter words -like the word 'free' because she can only download free apps on mom's phone.  

Like it or not technology is a force that we can use for such great things-even at the preK-K level.  As leaders of schools we have the opportunity to create a mindset of providing opportunities for integration of technology that is meaningful, relevant and developmentally appropriate.  In our journey with blending technology into learning the following steps below can help start (or continue) this conversation.

Create a Vision-"How will your school support incorporating technology in learning?"

Build Buy In.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

kids on ipads 800x600

"We all share a responsibility to be sure children’s engagement with screen media supports early learning and the development of the whole child." NAEYC’s Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years 

When you think of handing technology over to young children in this the picture that initially comes to mind? 

Creating opportunities for teachers, students and parents of our youngest learners can provide enhanced content knowledge acquisition, creativity, and extension of learning targets. It can also be an overwhelming to determine where to start and how to enrich learning with tech tools.  

A great starting place and framework in moving forward to determining the role of digital technology in the classroom is utilizing the Three C's Framework:

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

preschool classroom kids

 

If we want children to be ready for kindergarten, we must be certain that the environments and systems we create are responsive to the unique developmental needs of not only preschoolers but infants, toddlers and their families.   Dr. Terri Rose - Emotional Readiness:  How Early Experiences and Mental Health Predict School Success

Moving into the K-12 system is a big milestone for students and their families.  It starts their journey of lifelong learning and building relationships around multiple stakeholders in the educational system.  Kindergarten registration is a key point to connect with families and supporting their first few moments in the K-12 world are safe, positive, and meaningful.  

At Woodson last year we revamped our registration based upon personal experiences and feedback from families.  No longer was it a 60-minute 'talk at' but 15 minutes of 'big picture' and then hands-on activities that families could work on throughout the summer.

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