There were a lot of things shared in this section that struck me or made me think of students I have taught. However, I felt the most compelling fact shared was the idea that "toddlers from middle and upper income families actually use more words in talking to their parents than low SES mothers use in talking to their own children". This is such an important piece to keep in mind when teaching students - especially kindergarten kids. Their background knowledge and experiences drive the foundation of their learning. When teaching from the perspective of scaffolding and building knowledge upon knowledge, you must understand what a child knows. If you don't know what a "foal" is, you can't stretch out the word to make sense of what it means and is (a recent example from a guided reading lesson for my low readers). In order to help students feel success, we must find that sweet spot of what they know and gently build from there, creating a atmosphere that builds confidence and excitement about learning.
Wendy, great example with "foal." I find myself needing to slow down more often and remember to assume I need to explain vocabulary. Previewing and scaffolding becomes so important to give all students an opportunity to learn.
I was reminded about how important Factor 4: Mind Set, is to learners. Engagement increases when our students have positive feelings about their ability to learn. When we encourage and celebrate their growth as learners it makes a difference. This can compensate for negativity that our students may be feeling. In my classroom, I make an effort to notice when students show progress. Celebrating growth in kindergarten can be comparing beginning writing samples to current ones. It's noticing how their stamina has improved as readers and writers. At the beginning of the year, graphing known sounds as they learn them is a concrete way to show students they are learning and they should be excited about their progress. Not only is it so essential and beneficial that our students view themselves as capable learners, this process becomes a rewarding and joyful part of teaching.
Working with so many kids that come from different backgrounds is fascinating and challenging. Many of my students lack engagement for a variety of reasons. Having the list of factors to keep in mind has been a great reminder of how I can best help my students succeed at Kruse.