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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 Education Technology

coding

So last year I started a Coding Club...with kindergarten students.

Oh it get's better-I haven't been a 'teacher' in over a decade!

The Woodson Coding Club started first on a personal passion - to find out more about my son's love of robotics. This passion grew into a mission to provide our youngest learners opportunity to create, design and amplify their own learning, and in turn my own.

This year we are back again, this time with a little more research and a new framework to support this learning.  We will run two 30-minute sessions during two 6-week sessions for a total of at least 60 students participating. Teachers are identifying students who might have an interest or spark in this work and like last year ensuring that the students in our club represent the diversity of  our classrooms.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

transitions

This summer (kicking and screaming) I am a parent in transition.  My oldest son is entering 7th grade and heading to the Jr. High.  Reflecting on this transition I am calling it the '2nd Kindergarten' as it is evoking similar emotions as when he started Kindergarten a few years ago....

Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor

While reflecting on my own emotions with this transition it has provided me an opportunity to review the practices, systems and supports we have put in  place to support students, families and our community and successfully bridge the role of PreK and K.

Community Connections

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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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