Using The Environment As A Teaching Tool

Children bring their environment and personal experiences into the classroom every day. Experiences such as shopping at a grocery store, waiting for a VIA bus, or walking down the street  may seem to be a simple task. Nevertheless,  these experiences  help build upon prior knowledge, schema, language, and vocabulary development.


Here are four ways to use the environment as a teaching tool for children:


1. Take a walk around the neighborhood- Traffic signs are only one of many things that can be used to teach children about print, signs, and symbols in their environment. Take a walk around your neighborhood: What signs, symbols, letters can you find? These opportunities are a great way to provide meaningful learning opportunities for children. 


2.  Take a trip to you local grocery/department store- Who would have thought a teachable moment could happen while picking up items from the grocery list? Coupons, ads, and food labels are a few of many fun finds to explore . Engaging children in these activities will further develop language and create other teachable moments  for children.


3. Make a stop at a restaurant or food chain-  Celebrations, convenience, or hunger  are a few commonalities we share with food. Did you know that restaurant signs and menus are another opportunity to teach children about print?


4. I Spy-  Here's a simple tip. On your next visit to a school, home, movie theater, park, or other environment engage with children to see what letters can be found? Can you find a letter in your name? You may be surprised by the quantity and various types of print. that can be found. 




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Training Spotlight

1st-3rd grade educators worked together to learn engaging ways to develop number sense. Students will develop fact fluency while playing games that use their number sense strategies. By learning their facts in this way, students are not merely memorizing, but rather learning to work with numbers flexibly.  “Low achievers are often low achievers not because they know less but because they don’t use numbers flexibly – they have been set on the wrong path, often from an early age, of trying to memorize methods instead of interacting with numbers flexibly.” Jo Boaler,  Stanford University, 2009


April 8, 2019

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