High/Scope ElementaryHigh/Scope    in the Elementary School Classroom                                                     ...
High/Scope Elementary                                              High/Scope’s Elementary Teaching Practices             ...
High/Scope Elementary                                                                                                     ...
High/Scope Elementaryrooms, with an emphasis on cooperative                   writing samples, and schedules, because     ...
High/Scope Elementary                                                                                                     ...
High/Scope Elementary    When adopting the problem-solving          teacher needing to define it for them.      solvers; g...
High/Scope Elementary                                                                                                     ...
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Hs elem classroom

  1. 1. High/Scope ElementaryHigh/Scope in the Elementary School Classroom by Sarah FewsonA s a High/Scope trainer and consultant, I knew as I ven- tured into elementary educa-tion that high-quality High/Scopeprograms existed in preschool class- ting has confirmed what early research has shown (see sidebar, p. 11) — that High/Scope makes a significant differ- ence in the learning and outcomes of school-aged children.rooms around the world. I wanted to The Learning Environmentestablish that same level of quality in The High/Scope elementary learning environment offers an abundance of meaningful materials for Some traditional classrooms containan elementary classroom environment children to explore. learning areas including, but not limitedbased on the same essential High/ to, children’s desks, a library area, andScope components: active participa- High/Scope, children learn by doing, a carpet area. High/Scope elementarytory learning; a challenging learning working with hands-on materials and classrooms also contain distinctly differ-environment; supportive and authentic initiating many projects of their own ent activity areas, but these differ in theadult-child relationships; a problem- choosing. The role of the teacher is to number of areas, as well as in theirsolving approach to conflict; and a use research-based best practices to function. In a High/Scope classroom,consistent daily routine, including the guide and promote children’s learning. these areas — rather than the teacher’splan-do-review sequence — unique to As I embarked on my career as an desk as in the traditional elementary set-High/Scope — in which children elementary education teacher, I chal- ting — are the focal point of the class-make choices about what they will do, lenged myself to see how I might extend room. The learning areas differ fromcarry out their ideas, and reflect on those core High/Scope principles to my grade to grade, according to the age oftheir activities with adults and peers. work in an elementary education class- the children in the class. A kindergarten The principles of the High/Scope room, moving away from traditional program, for example, would typicallyeducational model — with its emphasis teacher-directed instruction toward stu- have a house area, whereas in a grade-on children as active learners — differ dent-initiated learning. My experience two classroom, there might be a build-from those of the traditional K–8 teach- with High/Scope in the elementary set- ing area instead. Some other areas in aer-directed instructional approach. Withwww.highscope.org ReSource Fall/Winter 2008 10
  2. 2. High/Scope Elementary High/Scope’s Elementary Teaching Practices Daily schedule. Each day follows a consis- to use important concepts and skills during theschool-age setting might also include a tent schedule, which is carefully planned to in- child-initiated activities that occur during workmath area, science area, writing area, clude individual, small-group, and large-group time and other segments of the schedule.computer area, art area, bookmaking experiences and a balance of teacher-planned Teacher-child interaction. High/Scopearea, and quiet work area. Each area is and child-planned activity. Each day includes a teachers avoid the use of reward and punish-designed around a particular curriculum plan-do-review time, lasting one hour or more, ment to manage children’s behaviors and in-topic such as reading, science, math, in which children plan, carry out, and then re- stead focus on creating a positive social envi-computer, and art. These areas are flect upon an activity of their own choosing. ronment in which expectations and limits aresettings designated for child-initiated Small-group instructional workshops are clear. Adults help children learn to use a prob-learning activities. planned by teachers around specific content in lem-solving approach to resolve difficulties and the major subject areas. conflicts. Adults strive to focus on children’sMaterials The classroom. The room is divided into strengths rather than deficits and use teaching In a High/Scope classroom, children five or more distinct “interest” areas, such as strategies that build on children’s intrinsic moti-have access to an abundance of mean- reading and writing, math, science, art, and vation to learn.ingful materials throughout the school computers. In each area, a wide range of ap- Child assessment. High/Scope teachersday. This variety and availability allows pealing materials are stored in consistent, ac- document children’s progress by collecting briefchildren to direct their own discoveries, cessible locations so children can get out the anecdotal notes recording observations of chil-and it accommodates for a variety of materials they want and put them away inde- dren’s important behaviors and by compilinglearning abilities. pendently. Children are free to use any of the in- portfolios of student work samples and other While a High/Scope elementary terest areas during plan-do-review time, and kinds of documents that are evidence of chil-environment uses many of the same typically rotate through specific areas — such dren’s progress. These assessment methodsmaterials found in traditional class- as reading and writing, art, and computers — supplement traditional standardized achievementrooms, the use and function of these during teacher-planned workshop times. tests to provide a complete and balanced pic-materials differs; for example, paint in Subject areas. Teachers plan instructional ture of children’s progress.a traditional classroom may be brought activities around content in important curriculum The success of the High/Scope elementaryout at the teacher’s discretion only dur- areas as defined by state and local standards. approach has been well documented in a num-ing specific art classes, whereas in a They draw upon their knowledge of active learn- ber of studies. Program effectiveness was ini-High/Scope classroom paint is accessi- ing principles and their own observations of chil- tially validated in the 1980s by the U.S. Depart-ble to children on a daily basis to use in dren’s abilities and interests to plan small-group ment of Education/National Institute of Educa-self-directed ways during instructional workshops focusing on concepts and skills in tion Joint Dissemination and Review Panel. Theactivities. An elementary High/Scope each subject area. The emphasis throughout curriculum has since been revalidated by theenvironment also provides a variety of these activities is on hands-on projects in which U.S. Department of Education’s Program Effec-open-ended materials (i.e., materials children work with manipulative materials, apply tiveness Panel. Data gathered on the approachthat can be used in many different ways) skills to solve practical problems, and learn to include improvements in children’s achievementthat invite students to engage in personal, communicate the results of their efforts in a va- test scores and literacy skills and teacher re-meaningful, and educational experiences. riety of formats. Many experiences require co- ports of improvements in children’s abilities toThese materials are available to children operative work and the use of effective commu- solve problems, make decisions, and expressto work with throughout the day, as well nication skills. Teachers also encourage children themselves creatively.as during the plan-do-review sequence. High/Scope’s Services and Products for Elementary Educators Ready School Assessment (RSA). This tool and related training can help schools become more ready for children. Classroom practices. We provide customized training to help teachers improve classroom prac- tices in selected areas. (Note: High/Scope does not offer specific curricula for basic academic subjects such as reading, math, and science but instead focuses on how to teach using the existing curriculum.) Movement and music. High/Scope’s Education Through Movement teaching model is the basis for a range of training services and products.www.highscope.org ReSource Fall/Winter 2008 11
  3. 3. High/Scope Elementary rials labeled, the areas themselves are labeled with names. Stocking the areas with materials traditionally found in teachers’ closets and cupboards is a big change for teach- ers switching to a High/Scope approach. This change often requires teachers to let go of some personal control. As I have trained groups on how to set up their elementary learning environments according to High/Scope principles, teachers often worry they will run out of materials by the third month of school. This point is a valid one, as teachers do not receive large budgets to replenish their classroom supplies, and so I reas-In the High/Scope elementary classroom, children learn by doing — working with hands-on materials and sure teachers new to High/Scope thatinitiating many projects of their own choosing. they do not need to put all their materi- als out at the beginning of the year. ForFor example, if a teacher in a High/Scope Activity areas are stocked with example, they can add materials such asclassroom is teaching the concept of manipulatives related to curriculum paper, glue, and other art supplies thatpatterns in math, students would likely topics and children’s interests; these tend to diminish as the year progresses.be encouraged to select a handful of materials are well organized and stored Giving children access to materialsmaterials for making series and patterns in consistent locations. Shelves, contain- provides them with an opportunity to(e.g., coins, buttons, beads and string) ers, and baskets are clearly labeled and be responsible for their environmentfrom any area of the classroom. Children placed within children’s reach. The type and to make purposeful choices aboutmay then choose to select other materials of labels used in a classroom will vary materials they select to work with. This(e.g., thread spools, paint brushes, tape according to the developmental stage of supports their developing independencerolls) during science when they are the children. Kindergarten children are and sense of initiative.asked to compare objects in terms of often still picture-reading at this stagehow fast they roll down a ramp. Again and require labels that incorporate pic-during art, when the students are asked tures. As children’s decoding abilities Activity areas areto use flashlights to capture shadows, develop, tracing labels (which show the stocked with manipu-children may select materials from the outline of an object) and labels with latives related toenvironment to incorporate as part of words are often sufficient. Once the curriculum topics andtheir learning. areas have been established, and mate- children’s interests; these materials are well organized and stored in consistent High/Scope is for locations. Elementary-Age Seating Students Too! In a traditional classroom, the teach- er’s desk is typically the focal point of In this new workshop, you’ll discover what plan-do-review looks like in the classroom, and children sit in neatlya K–3 classroom, learn how to plan meaningful content workshops, as well as arranged rows of desks (with the mostgain practical ideas to set up a learning environment that meets local, state, “difficult” students strategically seatedand regional guidelines and High/Scope principles. near the teacher). High/Scope class- FW-IN521 $675/participantwww.highscope.org ReSource Fall/Winter 2008 12
  4. 4. High/Scope Elementaryrooms, with an emphasis on cooperative writing samples, and schedules, because Content Workshops andlearning, feature group seating at tables students learn to read by trying to make Curriculumin the various interest areas. Individual sense of print they encounter in their Setting up the classroom accordingwork areas are also available for quiet, everyday activities. In addition to fea- to High/Scope principles better enablesindependent work. These individual turing lots of print, the walls become teachers to meet the curriculum require-areas may include a space in the reading covered with children’s creations — art- ments of their state or province using aarea or at the teacher’s desk, or students model called “content workshops.” Thesesimply may be encouraged to take clip- are small-group instructional workshopsboards to quiet areas. Children’s work High/Scope class- planned by teachers around specificplaces in each of the learning areas rooms emphasize content in the major subject areas of theserve a dual function as a place where cooperative learn- curriculum. Teachers introduce contentstudents can accomplish their work and workshops by giving a brief lesson on aas a space where the materials in that ing by featuring particular topic or subject; then childrenparticular area can be explored by all group seating at move to table groups or other suitablechildren during plan-do-review. tables in the various places in the classroom, such as the read-Wall Displays interest areas. ing area or carpet area, and begin to im- plement what they’ve learned by using The walls of traditional classrooms and manipulating related materials.typically feature commercially-made work, science, and math projects, for What does a content workshop lookposters, precut designs, and other ready- example — and photographs of the like? Three or four small groups ofmade displays purchased by teachers children at work time with written de- children (assuming a classroom sizefor their instructional and decorative scriptions of their activities below. The of approximately 20 students with onevalue. In a High/Scope setting, teacher- students themselves select the pieces of teacher) work at separate stations and areprepared bulletin boards are limited to their work they would like to display engaged simultaneously in curriculum-messages for children, information for rather than the teacher choosing the related activities using various materials.parents, and weekly schedules. The class- “best” or “neatest.” Allowing children The children then rotate among the tablesroom becomes instead a representation the opportunity to display work that in order to experience all activities. Theof children’s learning and discoveries. is meaningful to them leads to their in- teacher’s role during a content workshopTeachers create a print-rich environ- creased self-esteem and sense of belong- is similar to a teacher’s role in a pre-Kment, displaying student writing as well ing in the classroom. small-group time. Specifically, the teach-as labels, important messages, group er focuses on the children, assesses skill and knowledge, challenges, extends, andIn a High/Scope elementary classroom, shelves, containers, and baskets are clearly labeled and placed encourages learning through open-endedwithin children’s reach. questions and authentic conversation, sharing control with students. A math content workshop, for exam- ple, might include estimation of length as the curriculum focus. Following a brief discussion with the whole group about the concept, the teacher would then have prepared activities at separate table groups. Instructions for these activities would be given verbally, as well as visually or in written form, according to the developmental level of the students. Table group “A” may have a variety of standard measuring tools, including yardsticks, rulers, and measuring tapes for students to explore the classroom environment. The focus for this groupwww.highscope.org ReSource Fall/Winter 2008 13
  5. 5. High/Scope Elementary or principals) who impose their own solutions on children or even punish children for behavior that may have contributed to the conflict situation. Teachers in traditional classrooms often indirectly encourage conflict by reinforcing the importance of privilege, status, and ownership. When teachers point out that they “like the way ______ is sitting,” choose line leaders of the day, use a prize box or “bonus bucks” to re- ward particular achievements or behav- iors, they inadvertently create feelings of anxiety in children who may feel them-Children at Rose Avenue Public School in Toronto use materials to explore series and patterns — an activity selves to be second best. Some conflictrelated to the curriculum topic in math. can be beneficial in order for young children to learn to resolve it. However,may simply be to practice using these Conflict Resolution conflict can also distract children fromstandard measuring tools. Table group Every classroom, High/Scope or learning, decrease their self-esteem,“B” may be asked to select and measure otherwise, experiences various types make them feel lonely and distressed,various items in the classroom using of conflict between children. Children and — when conflict is prolonged andnonstandard measuring tools, such as in elementary school may experience consistent — may even cause childrenshoes, make-believe dollar bills, and conflict as they build a sense of self in to begin to dislike school.erasers. This group’s goal may be to be- relation to others and begin to see them- Teachers in a High/Scope elementarygin to explore the concept of an approxi- selves as independent from friends and setting learn to limit conflict in a numbermate measure. Table group “C” may be family; develop a sense of assertiveness of ways. Specifically, adults encourageasked to move into the carpet area and and self-confidence; experiment with empathy in school-aged children; provideselect objects in the classroom, display power and control in relation to others; a range of activities with open-ended ma-the items on the carpet from smallest to and form “preferences” in terms of who terials so that all students have the oppor-largest, and — as an extension — use they want to relate to and how they want tunity to feel successful in their actions;rulers to measure the length of each to relate to others. School-age conflict is offer opportunities for cooperative work;object in inches and then record that in- in fact developmentally appropriate, yet and build authentic relationships withformation. The focus of this group may children are often not called upon to be students. High/Scope teachers in a schoolbe to explore the concept of ordering involved in resolving conflicts. In tradi- setting learn to adapt the six steps toobjects according to their measurement tional elementary classrooms, conflict is conflict resolution (Evans, 2002) to con-and to practice recording information still often solved by adults (i.e., teachers flicts between school-aged children.related to measurements. In comparison to traditional teachingmethods, which involve an extendedperiod of teacher-directed, large-groupinstruction followed by individual prac-tice, content workshops are more effec- Please take a few moments to complete ourtive for a number of reasons: individual survey about this new electronic format forneeds are better met during small-group ReSource magazine. Whether you love it orinteractions, communication and learn- hate it, we want to hear from you. Your voiceing from peers is encouraged, and all will help decide the format of future issues!children have an opportunity to be en-gaged using active learning. Send us your feedback by clicking here.www.highscope.org ReSource Fall/Winter 2008 14
  6. 6. High/Scope Elementary When adopting the problem-solving teacher needing to define it for them. solvers; giving children opportunitiesapproach to conflict, teachers in an ele- School-aged children may have had to solve non-threatening problems andmentary program need to consider that years of experience in conflict and thus to solve problems as a group; acceptingschool-aged children can be physically may exhibit a greater sense of inflexi- children’s solutions; supporting childrenstrong and able to cause considerable bility to their solution; this may result in their efforts to come up with a solu- in a longer period of time in finding a tion; and being consistent in allowing mutually satisfying solution. children to solve problems. Teachers in traditional On the other hand, although school- Plan-Do-Review classrooms often aged children may have experience with High/Scope’s plan-do-review in the indirectly encourage conflict, they may be inexperienced in elementary classroom is based on the having a say in the resolution. School- conflict by reinforcing aged children seem to have an innate same principles as plan-do-review in the importance of sense of fairness and conception of a preschool setting: it involves active privilege, status, learning, is a child-initiated time of the reason; therefore, their solutions are day, and uses the same adult-support and ownership. more likely to be logical than solutions strategies. In the plan-do-review process, proposed by preschool children. Lastly, children learn to take initiative, solve school-aged children are more likely to problems independently, work withharm to others, unlike pre-K children remember previous conflicts and prior others, and build knowledge and skillswho are still relatively small. Moreover, ways of solving problems. Teachers in (Epstein, 2007).unlike many children in a pre-K pro- an elementary program can facilitate the When elementary teachers first heargram, school-aged children may be able problem-solving process by empowering of plan-do-review, they worry that itto identify the problem without the students to believe they are problem- takes time away from the curriculum.Children at the Rose School use words andpictures to detail their plans for work timeand then reflect on what they’ve done.www.highscope.org ReSource Fall/Winter 2008 15
  7. 7. High/Scope Elementary she said she explained to the adult that she preferred cooperative activities. After the first year of my adapting the High/Scope approach to teaching and learning, I attended the usual end- of-year meeting during which teachers determine where each student will be placed the following school year. I felt confident advocating on behalf of stu-Each day in the High/Scope elementary setting follows a carefully planned and consistent schedule. dents who had once been considered “challenging” but who had learned in my High/Scope classroom how to betterIt is only when they come to learn more way during plan-do-review every day. regulate their emotions and to resolveabout the process that teachers under- Their previous classroom experience difficulties and conflicts through problem-stand that plan-do-review helps to meet with manipulatives gave them greater solving. These students were no longercurriculum expectations. For example, confidence at testing time in demonstrat- considered “difficult.”children explore materials that are cur- ing their understanding of math concepts Making a difference in the classroomriculum-related. Moreover, the teacher through concrete objects. sometimes requires that teachers makelearns how to use plan-do-review to changes in their classroom practices. Myscaffold children’s learning and to use own journey in extending High/Scopechildren’s experiences to support the The method that into elementary settings has been over-curriculum at other times of the day. teachers adopt for whelmingly rewarding, and I’ll continueFurthermore, the method that teachers plan-do-review is to use this active learning approach inadopt for planning and reviewing is my classroom. I am convinced it is the connected to specific way to make a positive and lasting dif-connected to specific curriculum expec-tations and children’s developmental curriculum expecta- ference in my students’ lives.levels. Plan-do-review is conducted in tions and children’s Referencesdifferent ways according to the age of developmental levels. Epstein, A. S. (2007). Essentials of ac-the children in the classroom. Kinder- tive learning in preschool: Gettinggarten students may plan and recall to know the High/Scope curriculum.orally and with props, whereas students Students also became more indepen- Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.in grade two and grade three may use dent and self-motivated learners as a Evans, B. (2002). You can’t come to myjournals to independently record their result of teaching practices that allowed birthday party! Conflict resolutionplans and reflect on their work-time children to engage in active, hands-on with young children. Ypsilanti, MI:experiences. learning and projects of their own High/Scope Press. choosing. For example, some studentsMaking a Difference saw themselves as “scientists” when they Extending High/Scope practices into Sarah Fewson is a High/Scope con- formed a science “club.” Others (somethe elementary classroom leads to both sultant and trainer and elementary of whom were typically very active)improved teacher effectiveness as well school teacher in Toronto, Ontario, began to consider themselves as artists,as positive student outcomes. Using the Canada. working in a focused way on paintingsHigh/Scope approach in my third-grade of nature for forty-five minutes duringclasses supported my students’ perfor- plan-do-review.mance on standardized tests, for exam- My students were also able to inter-ple. When asked to use manipulatives nalize the value of cooperation versesand include pictorial explanations for competition and communicate this im-their answers to the math sections of portant difference to others. One child,the test, my students were able to draw For more information on who attended a birthday party outsideon their familiarity with using math- High/Scope’s elementary of school, returned to tell me that the hostrelated manipulatives in a meaningful approach, see our Web site. parent had organized competitive games;www.highscope.org ReSource Fall/Winter 2008 16