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Kindergarten Cognition


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Presentation includes historical trivia and information about presenter's role as Kindergarten teacher and information about 5 and 6 year olds' cognitive processing.

Published in: Education, Technology

Kindergarten Cognition

  1. 1. Kinder cognition<br />
  2. 2. Quick Survey<br />How many of you…<br />…have taught/are teaching?<br />…have talked to a 5 or 6 year old recently?<br />What comes to mind when you think “kindergarten”?<br />
  3. 3. Inspiration<br />A conversation with Dean Culp:<br />Kris: How do you like teaching Kindergarten?<br />Me: They’re like aliens!<br />They pee in their pants<br />They can’t tell the difference between a question and a statement<br />They can barely write their names<br />They don’t know what’s at the other end of the hall<br />
  4. 4. The Plan<br />Historical trivia<br />Teaching<br />Learning & Kindergarten Cognition<br />Conversation<br />
  5. 5. A little kindergarten trivia<br />Schools for very young children first appeared in Europe in the early 19th century, the most renowned of which was opened by this guy: <br /> Friedrich Fröbel<br />
  6. 6. Fröbel kindergarten in 1900s <br />
  7. 7. The Fröbel kindergarten<br />Fröbel’s kindergarten was founded on the idea that play is essential to learning academic and life skills<br />
  8. 8. Fröbel gifts<br />Part of the early kinder curriculum included these sets of blocks created by Fröbel<br />“He envisaged that the Gifts will teach the child to use his (or her) environment as an educational aid; secondly, that they will give the child an indication of the connection between human life and life in nature; and finally that they will create a bond between the adult and the child who play with them” A Child's Work: Freedom and Guidance in Froebel's Educational Theory and Practice<br />
  9. 9. Does this look familiar?<br />“That early kindergarten experience with the straight line; the flat plane; the square; the triangle; the circle!”<br />“The maple wood blocks . . . are in my fingers to this day.” –Frank Lloyd Wright<br />
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  11. 11. The importance of play<br />Out of a 19th century belief in the importance of play emerged one of the world’s most renowned architect<br />Let’s fast forward from Fröbel…<br />…to the founding of parish schools in American cities<br />…to the establishment of free public education<br />…to the segregation and desegregation of public schools<br />…to the first Head Start programs and pre-Kindergarten<br />…to the testing and standards movement<br />In terms of Kindergarten curriculum, where are we now?<br />
  12. 12. The importance of play<br />There is renewed interest in the value of play in developing multiple areas of learning and development (social, physical, intrapersonal)<br />
  13. 13. Stuart Brown from the National Institute for Play, 2008 (Ted Talks)<br />
  14. 14. The essentials of play: <br />Hands on<br />Free form, not guided<br />Element of risk<br />Curiosity, exploration<br />Full body rough and tumble, dive, jump, scream, be expressive<br />Social play and solo play<br />Imaginative<br />Safe<br />We learn what’s possible and what’s not<br />
  15. 15. Play + Standards = ?<br />I try to encourage the essentials of play in my classroom at all times, during lessons as well as free play time<br />But we also live in a world of standardized testing where specific learning standards must be met<br />Kindergarten used to be about socialization into school life, now pre-K programs do that so that kindergarten students can focus on…<br />
  16. 16.
  17. 17. Play + Standards = The New 1st Grade<br />All of my scholars (as we call them at my school) will leave kindergarten reading, writing, and understanding basic arithmetic concepts<br />
  18. 18. Teaching & Learning<br />
  19. 19. Teaching<br />A little bit about me<br />I graduated from the University of Chicago’s Urban Teacher Education Program in 2009<br />This is my 2nd year teaching Kindergarten<br />I work at Legacy Charter School in the West Lawndale community on the far west side of Chicago<br />
  20. 20. Teaching at Legacy<br />Dynamic and committed leadership: Lisa Kenner<br />Pre-K through 8th grade<br />Two classes per grade<br />26 scholars in each class<br />Two full-time instructors in each Kindergarten class<br />Majority of scholars are African American<br />Edubabble: 90-90-90 school<br />
  21. 21. Teaching Kindergarten at Legacy<br />8:30 – 3:30, full day<br />Content areas: reading, writing, word study, handwriting, math, social studies, science, music, art, P.E., computers<br />
  22. 22. Teaching: let’s (role) play<br />Frog and Toad “interactive read aloud”<br />As we read, observe what others do and imagine what it might be like to be teaching in this class.<br />
  23. 23. Teaching <br />What did you notice?<br />What might be challenging?<br />
  24. 24. Learning<br />
  25. 25. Learning: what we know about kindergarteners<br />When they turn from 5 to 6 years, increasing their entire life span by 16%<br />Very interested in bodies because their physical coordination (both fine and gross motor) is increasing<br />Attention spans are increasing, most children can focus on one thing for 10-15 minutes throughout the kindergarten year<br />They want to be helpful and follow the rules; they seek approval and love from adults<br />Beginning to understand emotions and that others react to your choices (“When you said, ‘You stank,’ it hurt her feelings.”)<br />Lose teeth, need naps, poop and pee in their pants<br />
  26. 26. Learning: cognitive development<br />In children ages 4-6 the brain grows from 70-90% of its eventual adult weight<br />Significant development in the frontal lobes (executive functioning) of the brain; children begin to regulate emotions and behavior<br />Greater ability to problem solve, conceptualize categories, and manage simple representational abstractions<br />For example: “If you have two cookies and I give you three more, how many do you have altogether?” <br />The fingers represent the cookies, a child doesn’t actually have to hold two and then three cookies.<br />
  27. 27. Learning: like a sponge<br />Five and six year olds have almost twice as many neural connections in some areas of the brain as adults<br />Kindergarten brains have greater physiological “plasticity” and therefore a high capacity for new learning<br />Young children really do have minds that absorb things like a sponge<br />
  28. 28. Learning: planning and memory<br />The average adult can hold 5-7 things in her working memory<br />That’s why our phone numbers are 7 digits long plus an area code<br />Over the course of the Kindergarten year, most children grow to be able to retain 3 things in their working memory<br />
  29. 29. Learning<br />Three patterns that demonstrate an increasing ability to plan, recall, and abstract information during the course of the kindergarten year<br />
  30. 30. Teaching & Learning: the kindergarten caveat<br />Aside from the fact that all people learn in different ways at different times, consider that some children enter kindergarten having just turned 5, others will turn 6 within weeks of beginning their kinder year…<br />And consider what you now know about the massive changes that are occurring in kindergarteners’ minds and bodies…<br />Age + Time = an enormous range of cognitive, physical, emotional, social, behavioral states all interacting with each other<br />This developmental diversity makes teaching and learning in kindergarten unique among the grades, uniquely challenging<br />
  31. 31. Learning how to teach<br />I am still learning how to teach the way they learn<br />Is that normal or is that a sign of a developmental delay?<br />Am I lowering my expectations for children’s learning by incorrectly interpreting a developmental stage?<br />What’s the right way to teach this child?<br />
  32. 32. Writing: let me show you<br />Writing offers a unique window into the kindergarten mind<br />Demonstrates growth over time<br />Physical evidence of developmental stage<br />
  33. 33. Learning developmentally<br />Recall that children in kindergarten can retain about 3 things in their working memory. <br />Consider how challenging this makes the writing process<br />For example…<br />
  34. 34. Things you need to know to write the word “cat”<br />What is the first sound in that word?<br />What is the name of the letter makes that sound?<br />What does that letter look like?<br />How do I make that letter?<br />How do I hold my pencil?<br />Where do I write on the paper?<br />Do I write from right to left or the other way?<br />Oh no! My paper is sliding away from me…<br />What word am I writing again?<br />What sound comes next?<br />And we always ask our writers to draw what they are writing about:<br />What does a cat look like?<br />How do I draw a cat?<br />
  35. 35. Let’s play!<br />Let’s get in our play stance: I want you to take a risk exploring a child’s mind and abilities, remember this is a safe place, use your imagination!<br />I’m going to show you two images of kindergarten writing and help you interpret what you see<br />Then I’m going to show you a third example and ask you to interpret what you see<br />Think about what I’ve told you about kindergarten minds<br />
  36. 36. What do you see?How do you interpret it?<br />
  37. 37. What do you see?How do you interpret it?<br />
  38. 38. What do you see?How do you interpret it? (T-P-S)<br />
  39. 39. The End<br />“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”from Little Gidding by T. S. Eliot<br />