iNTRODUCING bOSTON Pre-K Students to Math

“Early math is cognitively fundamental” said  Doug Clements, Ph.D, during PBS News Hour’s  feature on early math education in Boston Public Schools. The Building Blocks curriculum developed by Dr Clements and his Co-Researcher Julie Sarama, Ph.D, was heavily featured in the piece which showcased how critical math is to Pre-K students.

Through early introduction to math, Pre-K students using the Building Blocks Curriculum not only learn to count, and identify shapes, but also learn why we talk about shapes and numbers the way we do. They are taught to think critically about math as they move forward with their education.

“It is surprising how deep and broad children’s thinking can be about mathematics” said Douglas Clements, Ph.D, to a packed White House Press room this morning, April 21, 2016. Dr. Clements, who is a faculty member at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), the Kennedy Endowed chair in Early Childhood Learning, and the Co-Director of the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy alongside his Colleague Julie Sarama, Ph.D, is a nationally renowned expert in early childhood math education. He was invited to the White House to participate in the panel discussion “What does the research say about Early STEM” a part of the Early Learning STEM Symposium which was hosted by the White House, U.S. department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Invest in US.

The Early Learning STEM Symposium highlights the important role science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have in preparing our nation’s youngest children for the future. The Marsico and Kennedy Institutes at the Morgridge College of Education are making a significant impact in the field of early childhood math. “We know so much already about how children learn math. Our work on learning trajectories needs to continue and be more widely disseminated,” Dr. Clements told the crowded audience of early childhood STEM experts.

For the full video visit the White House Briefing Room.

Aesthetic learning and arts curricula are a key component in the development of young minds. The Morgridge College of Education (MCE) and its faculty, students, and alumni are making an impact across the nation in the world of arts education.

Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D

Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D

P. Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D and MCE faculty member, leads teachers in incorporating the arts in their daily lives and work. Dr. Uhrmacher is a proponent for aesthetic learning experiences and advocates that all educators can enhance their teaching by bringing creativity in to the classroom. Dr. Uhrmacher has been working with Think 360 Arts since 1993 to promote the creative arts in Colorado.

MCE and Think 360 Arts recently co-sponsored a training program where teachers engaged in art-making projects designed to teach them creative problem solving and inspire them to use similar practices in the classroom. In a Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting (RMPBS) feature documenting the event, Program Director Caitlin Lindquist states that the organization brings in “artists that are really adept at working with a wide variety of student populations and skilled in developing curriculum.” The artists inspire teachers to bring art to life in their teaching and classrooms.

MCE Alumni Make an Impact in Art Education

MCE alumni are also making an impact in education as they utilize skills learned at MCE to implement the arts and aesthetics in their own work.

Curriculum and Instruction (CI) alumna Michelle Mandico is a practicing artist who incorporates her love of art into her teaching. Her art includes influences from her work in early childhood education, higher education, and residential education.

David Kennedy is a CI alumnus who taught middle and high school prior to enrolling at MCE. He recently developed a series of videos as a student addressing the use of arts—in particular, music—as a way for minority students to engage with curricula

MCE Faculty, students, and alumni create and participate in projects that support creativity in effective learning. Our programs aim to empower graduates to make a lasting impact in their communities.

RMPBS Feature on Think 360 Art

CRISPA is a six-dimensional Perceptual Teaching and Learning model that provides approaches to enrich learning beyond outcome-based standards. P. Bruce Uhrmacher, PhD, faculty of the Research Methods and Statistics, Curriculum and Instruction, and Teacher Education Programs, was inspired to create CRISPA based on interactions between artists and educators as well as the views of philosopher John Dewey; in particular, his view that aesthetic experiences can exist outside of the arts.

The six dimensions – Connections, Risk-Taking, Imagination, Sensory experiences, Perceptivity, and Active engagement – support research-based strategies that serve as a common ground for educators, enable teachers to enrich lessons, and allow students to explore their creativity. CRISPA is growing in popularity and is used by many educators nationwide – including many of Dr. Uhrmacher’s former students – to create better experiences for students and teachers alike.

MCE alumna Kristina Mahoney works at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) where she used CRISPA to co-develop and implement a tour program for young children this past year. Mahoney worked with DAM while completing her dissertation regarding the role of CRISPA’s elements in art museum education and recognized how the model can be applied in practice. The tour program was created to help children make connections to artists by using their imaginations to relate to the artmaking process. The tour program launched in 2015, providing children with opportunities to have hands-on experiences as well as to engage with art and artmaking materials.

Bradley Conrad, a former student of Dr. Uhrmacher’s and current Assistant Professor of Education at Capital University in Columbus, OH, frequently uses CRISPA in his teaching and has written about and presented on the model. He conducted a one-day lesson planning workshop utilizing CRISPA in Denver with K-12 teachers as part of a study recently published on curriculum disruption. The teachers’ perceptions changed noticeably after the workshop – those who had not considered themselves to be creative realized that CRISPA gave them the tools to design creative lessons and provide meaningful experiences for their students. One participant said that it was “important for us to be creative as educators. We are teaching the future doctors, the future scientists, people who are going to create the world that we live in”.

Kaplan Early Learning Company and the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation for the Health and Well-being of Children announced the winners of the 2015 Innovator Award on Thursday evening at a special reception held during the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL.

The 2015 Innovator Award was presented to Dr. Douglas H. Clements and Dr. Julie Sarama. Most recently known for their contributions to Connect4Learning: The Pre-K Curriculum, these recipients were recognized by the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation for their innovative approach to teaching mathematics in early childhood education.

“It’s exciting to see the results from the years of piloting this curriculum in classrooms,” says Kyra Ostendorf, Vice President, Curriculum, Assessment, and Professional Development at Kaplan Early Learning Company. “Connect4Learning flips the curriculum, putting math and science at the forefront with literacy and social-emotional development woven throughout. Doug and Julie’s vision is that all children can excel. This curriculum supports that focus.”

In addition, the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation made a donation to the Fisher Early Learning Center at the University of Denver. The Fisher Early Learning Center was instrumental in the research of both awardees.

Doug Clements 150x150Douglas H. Clements, PhD – Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning; Co-Executive Director, Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy; and Professor, University of Denver.

Julie SaramaJulie Sarama, PhD – Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies; Co-Executive Director, Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy; and Professor, University of Denver

The Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation Innovator Award is given annually to a person, program, product or organization that positively impacts the health and well-being of children. Previous Innovator Award winners include the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (2012); Linda Smith, the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development for the Administration for Children and Families (2013); Dr. Thelma Harms, Dr. Debby Cryer and Dr. Richard M. Clifford, best known for their collective work on Environment Rating Scales (2014).

Established in honor of Kaplan Early Learning Company’s founders, Leon and Renee Kaplan, the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation focuses on finding and supporting individuals, businesses and organizations that support the health and well-being of young children. Since 1997, the foundation has gifted more than 2 million dollars in support of programs affecting children and families across the United States.

Kaplan Early Learning Company is based in Lewisville, North Carolina, and provides products and services that enhance children’s learning. Since 1968, the company has delivered innovative products and services that support educators and caregivers worldwide in the creation of quality learning environments.

For the original version of this story visit PRWeb.

LEWISVILLE, N.C. – Kaplan Early Learning Company announced today the launch of an innovative approach to early childhood education that puts math and science at the forefront of learning. Connect4Learning: The Pre-K Curriculum is a research-based, interdisciplinary approach to learning that was developed by nationally recognized experts in early childhood education and through funding from the National Science Foundation.

The Connect4Learning (C4L) curriculum, available January, is exclusively sold through Kaplan Early Learning Company. A preview of the curriculum and its components will be revealed at the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference on November 18. Curriculum principal investigators are Julie Sarama, PhD, University of Denver; Kimberly Brenneman, PhD, Heising-Simons Foundation; Douglas H. Clements, PhD, University of Denver; Nell K. Duke, EdD, University of Michigan; and Mary Louise Hemmeter, PhD, Vanderbilt University.

After years of research and classroom testing, C4L’s principal investigators designed the curriculum to address growing concerns that the majority of Pre-K instructional time is not balanced among literacy, science, math, and social-emotional domains. One study found that a literacy-based curriculum teaches only 58 seconds of mathematics instruction in a 6-hour day.* Limited opportunities for early math and science learning are factors that can contribute to the United States falling behind other countries in math and science proficiency**.

The C4L prekindergarten curriculum includes 6 units that address 140 measurable learning objectives and support children’s development of 10 fundamental cognitive processes. The learning objectives are fully aligned with the new Head Start Outcomes Framework and state early learning standards. C4L seamlessly integrates child-centered activities with teacher-led instruction. With its project-based approach and rich vocabulary use, C4L aligns with recommended practices to support dual-language learners and children from under-resourced communities. Fundamental to the curriculum is the importance of play-based learning:

Research tells us that children naturally explore and engage with content areas such as mathematics during free play,” says Clements. “So we know that, when they are playing, they are acting out the foundations of their lessons from the classroom.”

Results from pilot programs report that children achieve their learning goals beyond expectations, and teachers and parents have been surprised at how effectively the curriculum improves the children’s performances across all domains.

The C4L curriculum also includes:

  • Pre-K Teacher’s Handbook
  • Director’s Handbook for Pre-K or Principal’s Handbook for Pre-K
  • Pre-K Kit
  • Classroom Book Set
  • Formative Assessments
  • Online Portal, including how-to videos, professional development offerings, classroom management tools, and math games

*Farran, Lipsey, Watson, & Hurley, 2007.

** Ginsburg, Cooke, Leinwand, Noell, & Pollock, 2005

 

About Kaplan Early Learning Company

Kaplan Early Learning Company is based in Lewisville, North Carolina, and provides products and services that enhance children’s learning. Since 1968, the company has delivered innovative products and services that support educators and caregivers worldwide in the creation of quality learning environments.

On September 25, 2015 Douglas H. Clements, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning, Executive Director for the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy, and Professor of Curriculum Studies and Teaching at the Morgridge College of Education, testified before members of Congress about early math education policy. Dr. Clements was invited by The Friends of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to present the research that he and Dr. Julie Sarama, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies and Professor of Curriculum Instruction at the Morgridge College of Education, have been compiling.

The briefing shed light on the role of IES and the important research it funds. The goal of the briefing was to inform policy makers on early math education so that they can make informed decisions when creating legislation related to early education and STEM learning. Topics included how young learners acquire mathematical knowledge, the impact of curricula and teaching approaches, and the effect of socio-economic background on math literacy. Other presenters included Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Ph.D from New York University, and Prentice Starkey, Ph.D from WestEd. The briefing’s principal Co-Sponsors included the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, the Society for Research in Child Development, and WestED.

Photo credit to National Science Foundation Education & Human Resources

Dr. Julie Sarama, the Morgridge College of Education’s Kennedy Endowed Chair and Curriculum and Instruction professor, will be joining the Design for Impact in Early Childhood Education Initiative, funded by New Profit and its Early Learning Fund. Led by Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, former director of the Office of Head Start, this project brings together a network of scholars, program and policy leaders, communities, and support organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate variants of a comprehensive design for an early education program for three to four year olds. The goal of this initiative is to develop and test effective, adaptable, and holistic support models for early education programs that are based on contemporary evidence. The pilot program is scheduled to launch in 2016.

Dr. Sarama is a leading curriculum designer for early childhood education, particularly for mathematics instruction. She is the co-creator of the pre-K math curriculum, Building Blocks, Building Blocks Learning Trajectories (BBLT)—a teaching tool for early math educators—and the forthcoming Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories (LT2), a web application that updates BBLT to reach an even wider audience.

Kitchen-150x150Dr. Richard Kitchen, Kennedy Endowed Chair and Professor in the Curriculum & Instruction program at Morgridge College of Education (MCE), aims to advance equity and diversity in education through Access in Mathematics for All (AMA), a project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. “The goal of the program,” says Dr. Kitchen, “is to recruit talented students of color and low-income students to come to DU to study mathematics, to encourage them to become mathematics teachers and return to their communities to serve as educators.”

Dr. Kitchen and his fellow researchers—Dr. Nicole Joseph and Dr. Alvaro Arias, also from DU, and James Gray from the Community College of Aurora (CCA)—are developing an infrastructure that will provide academic and social support for future students in AMA. The team has built relationships with CCA and Aurora Public Schools to recruit potential students through a pilot tutoring program, host math talks focused on the importance of mathematics and mathematics education, and integrate existing services at DU to better serve future AMA students.

To augment the impact of AMA, Dr. Kitchen and his team have submitted a second proposal to the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program for $1.45 million to fully fund five students in MCE’s Teacher Education Program each year for five years.

AMA addresses a critical need for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers, as identified in the National Science Foundation Authorization Act and the America COMPETES Act. The program also supports the National Science Foundation goal to “Prepare and engage a diverse STEM workforce motivated to participate at the frontiers.”

It was recently announced that Teaching and Learning Sciences Clinical Professor Dr. Paul Michalec will be the recipient of the University of Denver’s (DU) 2015 Distinguished Teacher Award. This prestigious award is given to one exemplary faculty member a year and recognizes excellence in teaching. Nominations should emphasize the degree to which a nominee’s teaching has constructively influenced his/her students. The award will be presented to Dr. Michalec at DU’s Fall Convocation.

Dr. Michalec received his Ph.D. (Social, Multicultural, and Bilingual Foundations of Education) from the University of Colorado-Boulder. He is the former director of student teaching at Skidmore College and Director of Teacher Education at the Morgridge College of Education, serves on editorial boards for the newsletter EnCouragement and the journal Democracy and Education, leads professional development for religious communities, and is a founding member of Colorado Courage and Renewal. His research interests include teacher education, effective instruction in higher education, spiritual dimensions of teaching, and teacher renewal/formation.  Dr. Michalec enjoys biking, baking, drawing, nature study, and reading in the areas of theology, poetry, philosophy, identity, and educational-spiritual reform.

Dr. MichaleC’s Teaching Philosophy

I believe that the purpose of education is to transform the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual life of the learner.  I believe, consistent with the root meaning of education, that transformation is the process of drawing out the inner wisdom of the learner.  My responsibility as an educator is to create an engaged and rigorous learning environment where learners are invited into deep relationship with the content we are studying as well as each other as members of a classroom community. Academic success is premised more on change and transformation of the learner rather than the capacity to present back to me specific forms of information.”

MCE’s Drs. Doug Clements and Julie Sarama, have been awarded a $3.5 million grant to study learning trajectories in early childhood mathematics instruction. Drs. Clements and Sarama, both Kennedy Endowed Chairs at the Kennedy Institute for Educational Success, have been funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences for their research. The project, which evaluates the effect of learning trajectories used in early childhood mathematics instruction, looks specifically at whether learning trajectories are better than other approaches in the support of young children’s learning.

Drs. Sarama and Clements will be working with colleagues Art Baroody and David Purpura, conducting research out of the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy and the Kennedy Institute. By conducting eight experiments in local schools, they will investigate the efficacy of learning trajectories. Their results will impact the ways in which learning trajectories are used across a variety of subject fields, but the implications for mathematics is particularly important. Mathematics is a strong predictor of later school success in mathematics, but also for overall school achievement, graduation, and even college entry.

Doctors Julie Sarama and Doug Clements’ pre-K math curriculum, Building Blocks, is being implemented throughout New York City, following successful results seen in Boston, Buffalo, and Nashville. This roll out is part of the New York City Department of Education initiative, “NYC Pre-K Explore,” which also promotes improved literacy and science programs. Deputy Chancellor, Josh Wallack, expects the Building Blocks curriculum will be used by 13,500 children in 750 district and community-based classrooms by fall 2015, and by the vast majority of New York City children within the next three years.

Early math skills are seen as a strong predictor of success in school and later in life; however, preschools across the country tend to ignore anything beyond basic counting games. Dr. Clements says that many preschool teachers aren’t comfortable with numbers because they went through the U.S. education system, which “is just not very good about teaching math and making it fascinating.”

With the implementation of the Building Blocks curriculum, preschool teachers will have the opportunity to use puzzles, games, art projects, and songs to help children learn more about numbers, shapes, and patterns. Those who volunteer to adopt Building Blocks will receive the books, related games, seven days of training, and coaching for one year to help facilitate successful outcomes.

If you have a Wall Street Journal account, you can read more about the New York City Building Blocks implementation here.

 

Morgridge Curriculum and Instruction professors and Kennedy Institute staff, Dr. Julie Sarama and Dr. Doug Clements, are a part of a team working to advance math and science skills in early childhood learning. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. Sarama and Dr. Clements have developed the Connect4Learning (C4L) curriculum. Through C4L, preschool students are getting the opportunity to spend more time engaging in fun activities that promote science and math. C4L aims to educate pre-K students with a holistic approach that integrates academics, social and emotional development, and play in the classroom.  A key element to their research is video analysis of the program in action; this allows for program growth and provides ways to create better support for diverse student bodies.

Dr. Sarama and Dr. Clement’s work on C4L has been showcased in a new Science Nation video created by NSF. The video features their work at the All Souls School in Englewood, CO, which has adopted the C4L project. Through the use of sea creatures, pre-K students at All Souls School are learning their numbers and shapes. The highly engaging activities not only promote science and math-based learning, but are also fun for the students.

The C4L author team includes experts in all four domains. Nell K. Duke is a professor of literacy, language, and culture and a faculty affiliate in the combined program in education and psychology at the University of Michigan. She studies early literacy development, particularly among children living in poverty. Kimberly Brenneman is Program Officer for Education at the Heising-Simons Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kimberly was research faculty at Rutgers University’s National Institute for Early Education Research where she led projects focused on curricular and instructional practices to foster science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning for young children in school and home settings. Mary Louise Hemmeter is a professor in the Department of Special Education at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and is a co-faculty director of the Susan Gray School for Children. She studies professional development, strategies for preventing and addressing challenging behavior, and instructional approaches for young children with disabilities.

The University of Denver Morgridge College of Education was well represented at the 2015 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting. This year’s AERA meeting was held April 16-20, in Chicago, IL, with the theme: Toward Justice—Culture, Language, and Heritage in Education Research and Praxis.

With faculty from Child, Family, and School Psychology (CFSP), Higher Education (HED), and Curriculum Studies and Teaching (CST), as well as HED doctoral student Kristin Deal and Project Director at the Kennedy Institute for Educational Success, Doug Van Dine, at the conference, MCE made a great impression on Chicago.  Below is a list of the MCE faculty presentations:

HED Presentations:

  • Weaving Scholarship and Policy Making to Promote Inclusive Excellence in Traditionally White Higher Education Institutions Dr. Frank Tuitt, Kristin Deal, et al.

 CI Presentations:

  • Black Girls and School Discipline: The Complexities of Being Overrepresented and Understudied Nicole M. Joseph, et al.
  • Blacks’ Mathematics Education before Brown: An Examination of Mathematics Curriculum in Industrial Schools in the Segregated South, 1854 – 1954 — Nicole M. Joseph
  • Which kindergarten Common Core domains are most predictive of later mathematics achievement — Dr. Douglas H. Clements, Dr. Julie Sarama, et al.

CFSP Presentation:

  • Preschool Teachers’ Perceptions of Shared Book Reading Strategies that Promote Content Vocabulary Learning in DLL Children Sharolyn D. Pollard-Durodola, et al.

Morgridge’s Dr. Douglas H. Clements, Professor in Curriculum Studies and Teaching and Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning at the Kennedy Institute, co-authored the report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth to Age Eight: A Unifying Foundation. The report, released through The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and The National Research Council (NRC), explores the science of child development, focusing specifically on the implications for professionals that work with children birth through age eight. Dr. Clements and his colleagues offer recommendations with a goal of developing a workforce unified through the foundations of the science of child development and early learning. Their research and recommendations promote shared knowledge and skills that are needed to provide consistent, high-quality support for the development and early learning of children from birth through age eight.


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