TExES Early Childhood PK-3 Ultimate Guide2021-02-02T21:57:55+00:00

TExES Early Childhood PK-3

Ultimate Guide and Practice Test

Preparing to take the TExES Early Childhood: PK-3 exam?

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Table of Contents

Quick Facts

Test Overview

TExES PK-3 (292) Quick Facts

Overview: 

The TExES Early Childhood: PK-3 exam is a new exam that will start in January 2021. It is for teacher candidates seeking certification in the area of prekindergarten through third grade. 

Format: 

This exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and one constructed-response question. You will have four hours and 45 minutes to complete the exam. While there are no subtests, the questions in the exam cover information from the six domains discussed in this study guide. 

Cost: 

$136

Scoring: 

Since this is a new exam, a passing score has not been established yet. Test takers will receive either a pass or fail status for an interim period while a passing score is determined. Most TExES exams, however, have a scaled score range of 100-300, with a passing score of 240. 

Pass rate: 

Because this is a new exam, the passing rate is unknown at this time.

Study time: 

Study time will vary for each individual test taker, but you should plan to start studying at least several weeks before your exam. You can start by taking our free diagnostic exam to give you an idea of how well you already know the material.  

Best practices for studying:

  • Identify your own areas of strength and weakness with our free diagnostic exam. This will help you determine the areas you need to spend the most time studying. 
  • Create a plan for when you will study each concept or each test domain. This will ensure that you have enough time to study all of the material before your exam date. 
  • Complete a timed practice exam before the real test to prepare yourself for the pace you will need to maintain. 

Information obtained from the TExES and NES website.

Test Overview

Child Development

Overview

The Child Development domain accounts for about 19% of the entire exam. This domain will test your knowledge of early childhood development and factors that influence development. 

There are three competencies within the Child Development domain:

  1. Foundations of Child Development
  2. The Early Learning Process
  3. Family Engagement

Let’s explore a few concepts that are highly likely to appear on the exam.

Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory

Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is a theory about the stages of intellectual development that humans go through from birth to adulthood. Piaget believed that children go through four stages of cognitive development, each described below. In Piaget’s theory, stages are not skipped, and each stage builds upon the previous ones. Let’s take a look at the four stages:

  • Sensorimotor stage (birth–2 years): At this stage, infants and children under two are thought to explore and understand the world through their senses and through movement. One of the most important skills developed during this stage is the concept of object permanence (understanding that objects still exist even if they cannot be seen).
  • Preoperational (2–7 years): During this stage, children begin to think symbolically and have increased language and imagination skills. Their thought processes at this stage tend to be egocentric and concrete (rather than abstract).
  • Concrete operational (first grade–adolescence): Children’s thought processes at this stage are more logical and organized, and they are better equipped to work out ideas systematically in their heads. Children at this stage become more aware of the world around them and are able to understand that others may view the world differently than they do.
  • Formal operational (12+ years): In the final stage, abstract reasoning skills begin to develop. Children are able to use reason, logic, and background knowledge to think about hypothetical questions. Children also develop the ability to think about moral and ethical issues during this stage. 

Piaget used the following terms and concepts in his theory to explain the cognitive development processes that occur at each stage:

  • Schema: Piaget referred to schemata as the building blocks of cognitive development. Schemata are a way of organizing our knowledge and can be used to interpret and respond to different situations. For example, as a toddler learns the meaning of the word car, he will begin to develop a schema for cars. Initially, he may see cars as anything with four wheels that is moving down the road. 
  • Assimilation: This occurs when a person applies an existing schema to a new situation or concept. Following the car example, assimilation would occur when the child sees a parked car and realizes that cars do not have to be moving. He assimilates this new knowledge to expand his schema of cars to include anything with four wheels that is either moving or not moving. 
  • Accommodation: This is the process that occurs in the brain when a new concept or experience doesn’t fit into an existing schema. When this happens, a person modifies their schemata to accommodate the new information. In our example, when the child sees an ambulance and learns that it is not a car, he will adjust his existing schema of a car. He will begin to understand that cars have specific shapes and styles, although he may also incorrectly assume that cars are any vehicle without a siren. 
  • Equilibration: This can be thought of as the balancing between assimilation and accommodation. Piaget believed that equilibration is the process that drives cognitive development and moves children from one cognitive stage to the next. In our example, after making accommodations to his existing schema of a car, the child will understand that all cars have four wheels and can move, but that not all moveable four-wheeled vehicles are cars. At this time, he will begin to recognize that there are several types of vehicles, and his schemata will adjust accordingly. 

The Role of Play

Play is a crucial component of elementary education. Play is important for brain development, social and emotional development, and imagination. It promotes creativity, problem-solving skills, and educational discovery. Play can be implemented in the classroom in many ways including learning centers, games, role play or student performances, or movement activities. 

The Montessori Method

The Montessori Method is a student-centered approach to learning that focuses on independence and self-motivation. One of the core beliefs of the Montessori Method is that children have a natural desire to learn and will initiate their own learning through their interests and experiences. Common components of a Montessori classroom include:

  • Multi-age classes: Montessori classrooms often have an age range of about three years. For example, a classroom may have children from ages 3 to 6 or 6 to 9. This allows students to learn from their peers and helps older students solidify their learning by teaching others. 
  • Learning through discovery: Students learn by making their own discoveries through specialized Montessori materials. Teachers act as a guide, rather than providing direct instruction. 
  • Uninterrupted work time: Most Montessori classrooms provide much lengthier work times than traditional classrooms. Students typically work uninterrupted for two to three hours at a time. The purpose of this is to allow students to focus on their work and reach a deeper level of understanding. 
  • Prepared environment: Montessori classrooms are carefully organized, with materials located in specific areas within student reach. Teachers observe the students’ interests and learning and place activities on the shelves that will meet the needs of each student. 
  • Freedom within limits: Students are able to choose what subject and activity they want to work on, as long as they are doing productive work. Teachers provide guidance and instruction on how to work with a certain material or activity, but the student may choose whether or not they complete that activity. 

Fostering Positive Family-Teacher Relationships

Family involvement and positive family-teacher relationships increase student achievement, allow parents to take an active role in their child’s education, and creates a sense of community in the school. Teachers and schools can encourage positive relationships with families by clearly communicating learning expectations, keeping families up-to-date on their child’s progress, implementing newsletters, utilizing classroom apps, hosting family engagement nights, and providing volunteer opportunities. All communication should be done in a variety of formats (email, phone calls, flyers, etc.) and should be presented in a language understood by the family. 

Characteristics of Good Strategies for ELLs

English language learners, or ELLs, benefit from specific instructional strategies. Let’s take a look at some of these:

  • Provide linguistic support: This can include word walls, labels for common objects, sentence stems, specific vocabulary instruction, and many other strategies. 
  • Use comprehensible content: This means that ELL students should be able to understand most of what you are saying. While they may not understand every word, they should be able to understand the core of the message. The steps taken to ensure content is comprehensible will vary based on what stage of language acquisition a child is in. 
  • Activate background knowledge: It is important to note that ELL students may have different background knowledge than their peers. Teachers should closely examine the content of their lessons and look for any areas where they might need to provide relevant background information for ELLs. Additionally, teachers can validate the background of ELL students by incorporating aspects of their culture into lessons and by encouraging ELL students to share their knowledge of specific topics with their peers. 
  • Engage ELL students in academic conversations: This provides ELL students with an opportunity to learn the specific vocabulary, skills, and norms that are involved in academic discussions. 
  • Allow meaning to be explored and negotiated: Negotiation of meaning is a process that occurs as children learn a second language. It involves the child making an attempt to clarify the meaning of a word or statement by asking for rephrasing, elaboration, clarification, or confirmation. 
  • Pair oral information with visual supports: This includes gestures, drawings, videos, examples, and anchor charts. 
  • Use cooperative learning groups: Having ELL students work in small groups with their peers gives them an authentic opportunity to practice their new language skills in a low-risk setting. 

And that’s just some very basic information about the Child Development domain.

The Instructional Setting

Overview

The Instructional Setting domain accounts for about 12% of the entire exam. This domain will test your knowledge of the best practices for creating a positive, student-centered classroom environment. 

There are two competencies within the Instructional Setting domain:

  1. Social Skills, Emotional Development, and Behavior Support
  2. The Instructional Setting

Let’s explore a few concepts that are highly likely to appear on the exam.

Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS)

Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support, or PBIS, is a proactive approach towards behavior management in schools. PBIS teaches positive behavior strategies and focuses on preventing unwanted behaviors rather than on punishment. 

There are four key elements that guide the implementation of PBIS: 

  1. Data: Schools and teachers should use data to guide and monitor any decisions that are made regarding behavior support. 
  2. Outcomes: The desired behavior outcomes from PBIS should be measured and reflected on by teachers, administrators, students, and families. 
  3. Implementing practices: The strategies put into place for each student should be research-based and designed to achieve desired outcomes.
  4. Systems: To successfully implement PBIS, schools must create systems that support the implementation of positive behavior practices. This includes the overall ways that a school operates. 

The PBIS model consists of three tiers, each with a different level of support. While the four key elements provide guidance on how to implement PBIS overall, the three tiers relate to how PBIS is used for each child. 

  • Tier 1 is primary prevention used for all students. The focus of tier 1 is to provide clear behavior expectations school-wide and acknowledge positive student behavior. Examples include a school-wide behavior reward system and behavior expectations taught across all grade levels (such as how to walk in the hallway or behave on the playground). 
  • Tier 2 is secondary prevention for students who need targeted behavior support in addition to tier 2. The focus in tier 2 is to provide support and prevention for students who are at risk of developing more severe behavioral problems. Examples include student behavior contracts and student mentoring. 
  • Tier 3 is tertiary prevention provided to students whose behaviors were unable to be addressed or prevented through tiers 1 and 2. Tier 3 provides intensive, individualized support. Examples include behavior intervention plans and structured time to resolve behavior issues. Many tier 2 and tier 3 interventions overlap and can be used at both tiers. 

Teaching Using Groups

Teaching in groups is a powerful instructional tool that provides benefits for both teachers and students. Working with groups allows the teacher to interact with each student more closely and provides a way for the teacher to deliver specific instruction based on student needs. For students, group activities are a way to learn important skills such as cooperation, responsibility, and communication. Keep in mind, though, that teacher guidance on group roles and responsibilities is critical in effective group work.

The way that students are grouped should be carefully planned and based on the goal of the lesson or activity. Let’s take a look at some of the different ways groups can be used in the classroom: 

  • Small groups (2-4 students) are an effective way to deliver targeted instruction in a specific area that a group of students is struggling with. Small-group time is often incorporated into the daily schedule. While teachers work with small groups, other students work on a variety of tasks or centers, such as independent work, technology activities, educational games, or reading.
  • Large groups (6-8 students) can be used to deliver regular instruction or for classroom activities or games. Teaching core concepts and skills in large groups can often be more effective than whole-class instruction because it allows the teacher to have more one-on-one time with students, helps students stay engaged in the lesson, and makes it easier for the teacher to identify and correct misunderstandings. 
  • Multi-age groups involve students at different grade levels. Groups of this nature need to be organized between grade-level teams or by campus administration. Multi-age groups can help bring a sense of community to a school, provide role models to younger students, and give older students a sense of leadership. 
  • Think-pair-share is a strategy that involves peer collaboration and individual thought processing. In this strategy, students are given a question or problem to think about or solve. The teacher provides students with time to reflect on the question individually, then students share their responses with a partner. This strategy is effective because it allows students time to process their own thoughts, with the additional benefit of explaining their answer to a peer. 

Grouping should always be flexible, meaning teachers should adjust group sizes and group members based on the needs of students and the goal of the lesson. Groups can be formed homogeneously, heterogeneously, or randomly. Each method of group formation provides different benefits:

  • Homogeneous grouping means students in a group are at a similar academic level or have similar needs. Homogeneous groups are great for small-group or large-group instruction, such as guided reading groups.
  • Heterogeneous grouping means students in each group are on different levels and have different strengths and weaknesses. Heterogeneous groups can be used for group projects, peer tutoring, or educational games. 
  • Random grouping means that groups are put together without considering students’ levels or abilities. Random groups can be useful for reviewing concepts that the majority of students have mastered, for quick group discussions, or for social activities. 

Daily Structure for Young Children

Schedules and routines have a strong positive impact on a child’s development. When daily activities are more predictable, students feel more prepared and can dedicate more of their mental energy towards learning. Additional benefits of daily structure and routines include:

  • a sense of control for children
  • less time spent in transitions
  • a feeling of safety and security
  • increased independence for students
  • the development of self-control and healthy habits
  • reduced stress for both students and teachers
  • reduced behavioral problems 

And that’s just some very basic information about the Instructional Setting domain.

Educating All Learners

Overview

The Educating All Learners domain accounts for about 12% of the entire exam. This domain will test your knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices for teaching young children, including differentiation strategies and culturally responsive teaching. 

There are two competencies within the Educating All Learners domain:

  1. Differentiation Strategies in Planning and Practice
  2. Culturally Responsive Practices

Let’s explore a few concepts that are highly likely to appear on the exam.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, is a framework for teaching and learning and is based on scientific research on how humans learn. UDL classrooms provide flexibility and choice in how students learn and demonstrate their knowledge, giving all students an opportunity to succeed. The UDL framework is centered around three guiding principles, each described below.

  1. Multiple means of engagement: Teachers should strive to engage and motivate students in multiple ways. This can be achieved through strategies such as project-based learning, student choice in activities, or group tasks. 
  2. Multiple means of representation: Information should be presented to students in a variety of different ways based on students’ learning styles. One student may gain a better understanding of adding two-digit numbers by listening to the teacher describe the step-by-step process, while another student may benefit more from using manipulatives.
  3. Multiple means of action and expressions: UDL classrooms provide students with choices on how to demonstrate their understanding of a concept. For example, a teacher can ask students to explain the water cycle through a diagram, a descriptive paragraph, or by using a computer to record their verbal description. 

In a UDL classroom, there is always a clear goal and flexible options. All students rarely do the same task in the same way at the same time.

IDEA

IDEA stands for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It is a federal law that ensures public schools are meeting the educational needs of students with disabilities. There are six main elements to IDEA, each described below. 

  • IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. All students who qualify for special education services through IDEA will have an IEP. The IEP outlines a child’s education goals, as well as the specific services and support provided by the school. IEPs are reviewed and adjusted annually (or more frequently if needed).
  • FAPE means that eligible children covered under IDEA have access to a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE). This includes all children with disabilities from ages 3 to 21. 
  • LRE stands for “least restrictive environment.” This means that students receiving services through IDEA should spend as much time as possible with their non-disabled peers, as appropriate. This will look different depending on the child, but in general, separate classes or schools should only be used when an appropriate education cannot be provided in the general education classroom, even with the use of supplemental aids and services. 
  • An appropriate evaluation is required before a student is able to receive services through IDEA. Evaluations must include a variety of assessment strategies that are free from bias or discrimination. Parental consent must be given before a school can conduct any evaluations for special education services. 
  • Parent and teacher participation is a key component of IDEA. A parent should be present at each IEP meeting or participate in the meeting via telephone. The student’s teacher must be present at each meeting, as well as other members of the IEP team. Parents and teachers should receive a copy of the student’s IEP and any other relevant information. 
  • Procedural safeguards are a set of policies put in place to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their families, while also providing avenues for schools and families to resolve disputes. Procedural safeguards include the right of parents to review their child’s educational records, participate in all IEP meetings, receive “prior written notice” regarding evaluations completed on their child, and disagree with decisions made by the school that relates to their child. 

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Culturally responsive teaching is an evidence-based teaching approach that focuses on acknowledging and valuing students’ cultures and experiences. This approach encourages students and teachers to connect academic content to their own unique backgrounds. Strategies that teachers can use to create more culturally responsive classrooms include:

  • Identifying student interests: This can be done through one-on-one conversations, surveys, interviews, and observations. Once you have identified students’ specific interests, you can work towards incorporating these interests into your lessons. 
  • Focusing on student strengths: All students possess unique strengths that can be highlighted in the classroom. Acknowledging these strengths can be achieved by giving students choices in how they will demonstrate their knowledge, by giving authentic and specific praise, and by allowing students the opportunity to use their strengths during lessons or group activities. 
  • Acknowledging and valuing different cultures: Teachers should strive to authentically include a variety of cultures into their classroom. This can be achieved through culturally diverse books, well-planned discussions, guest speakers, and many other methods. Care should be taken to ensure that all cultures are portrayed in a positive light. 
  • Involving families: Family involvement increases student achievement, fosters positive teacher-parent relationships, and creates a sense of community in the school. Teachers and schools should use a variety of methods to involve families, including phone calls, newsletters, classroom apps, family engagement nights, and volunteer opportunities. 

And that’s just some very basic information about the Educating All Learners domain.

Data-Driven Practice and Formal/Informal Assessment

Overview

The Data-Driven Practice and Formal/Informal Assessment domain accounts for about 12% of the entire exam. This domain will test your knowledge of the different types of assessments used in early childhood education, as well as the purpose of these assessments. 

There are two competencies within the Data-Driven Practice and Formal/Informal Assessment domain:

  1. Developmentally Appropriate Assessment and Practice
  2. Progress Monitoring and Data-Driven Instructional Practice

Let’s explore a few concepts that are highly likely to appear on the exam.

Formative vs. Summative Assessments

The main differences between formative and summative assessments lie in when assessments are done and how assessments are used. 

Formative assessments are done throughout the learning process. This might be throughout a unit, a grading period, a semester, or even a school year. The goals of formative assessments are to monitor student progress, provide feedback, and adjust instruction. Examples of formative assessments include exit tickets, low-stakes quizzes, journal entries, daily assignments, and anecdotal notes. 

Summative assessments are given at the end of a unit, grading period, semester, or year. They are typically more formal and higher-stakes than formative assessments. The purpose of summative assessments is to evaluate student mastery of a specific learning goal after all of the relevant content has been taught. Examples of summative assessments include end-of-unit tests, final projects, final papers, and standardized tests. 

Using Assessments to Adjust Instruction for Young Students

A common way to regularly assess children is through systematic observation and documentation. By doing this, teachers can notice patterns and assess how each student is developing. Some examples of observation methods include:

  • ongoing observations
  • systematic observations
  • anecdotal notes
  • checklists
  • rating scales
  • portfolios 

Response to Intervention (RtI)

Response to intervention, or RTI, is an approach used by educators to identify and support students with various academic or behavioral needs. The goal of RTI is to ensure the early identification of students who are struggling and to provide systematic, evidence-based instruction to all students. The foundational elements of RTI include:

  • Tiered instruction: RTI instruction is based on a three-tiered model, with Tier Three providing the most intensive support. The three RTI tiers are described in greater detail below. 
  • High-quality, research-based instruction: This is provided to all students, at all RTI tiers. Instruction may be provided to the whole class, to small groups, or to individual students, but should always reflect best teaching practices. 
  • Ongoing progress monitoring: All students should be monitored often and regularly through both formal and informal assessments. Teachers and other members of the RTI team use progress monitoring data to determine if a student needs to be moved to a different RTI tier. 
  • Frequent communication with parents: Parents should be regularly updated on their child’s progress, and should always be notified if a child’s RTI tier is adjusted. 

As mentioned earlier, RTI includes three tiers of instructional support. Let’s take a look at each of the tiers:

  • Tier 1 refers to all regular classroom instruction. All students receive tier one support. Tier one instruction can be done in the form of whole-class instruction or in small groups, but it should be provided for all students. An example of tier 1 instruction is a teacher using an evidence-based phonics curriculum for the whole class. 
  • Tier 2 intervention is provided to students who need additional support beyond the regular classroom instruction. Tier 2 intervention is provided in small groups and focuses on specific needs or skills. Students in tier 2 still receive regular classroom instruction (tier 1), but also get additional instructional time with either their classroom teacher or a campus interventionist. For example, a student who consistently struggles with an understanding of base-ten concepts would likely receive tier two RTI support through the form of small group time with a math interventionist, along with other students who have a similar academic need. 
  • Tier 3 intervention is provided when students are not making the necessary progress in tier 2. Tier 3 provides individual, customized support for the student’s specific needs. For example, a tier 2 student who has not made adequate progress in decoding words would likely begin to receive tier 3 support multiple times a week where an interventionist focuses on the specific phonics skills that the student is lacking. 

And that’s just some very basic information about the Data-Driven Practice and Formal/Informal Assessment domain.

Learning Across the Curriculum

Overview

The Learning Across the Curriculum domain accounts for about 25% of the entire exam. This domain will test your knowledge of concepts taught in a variety of subject areas, as well as your understanding of the most appropriate methods for teaching these concepts. 

There are four competencies within the Learning Across the Curriculum domain:

  1. English Language Arts and Social Studies
  2. Mathematics
  3. Science and Technology Applications
  4. Fine Arts, Physical Education, and Health

Let’s explore a few concepts that are highly likely to appear on the exam.

Process of Learning – Spelling

As children begin to recognize that print conveys meaning, they will begin the process of learning to spell. Children go through a predictable order of spelling development that includes the following five stages:

  1. Precommunicative spelling is the first stage of spelling development. Children in this stage use some or all letters of the alphabet, but lack an understanding of letter-sound correspondence. They will typically use random letters to represent words or phrases. A child in the precommunicative stage might write “b X m D A” to represent, “I am going to the park.”
  2. Semiphonetic spelling happens when a child begins to recognize that different letters make different sounds (letter-sound correspondence). Children at this stage will likely use one or two letters for each word, focusing on the most prominent sounds in the word. A child using semiphonetic spelling might write I am going to the park as “i M g t pR.”
  3. Phonetic spelling occurs when a child uses a letter or group of letters to represent each sound that they are able to hear in a word. While some correct spelling may occur, most of their writing has been done by “sounding out” a word phonetically. Children’s writing at this stage can usually be understood by their teacher or parent, or will make logical sense after the child reads their writing out loud. For example, I am going to the park might be written as, “I em goeg to te prc.”
  4. Transitional spelling happens as children begin to learn conventional spelling patterns and become more familiar with the structure of words. Children’s writing at this stage can usually be understood by most adults. A child at this spelling stage may write I am going to the park to watch birds as “I am going to the parc to woch berds.”
  5. Conventional spelling is the last stage of spelling development. At this stage, children use correct sound/spelling patterns, prefixes, and suffixes and spell irregular words correctly the majority of the time. Mistakes are typically reserved for infrequently used words that don’t follow conventional spelling rules. At this stage, a child may write, “I am going to the park in Hewston to watch birds.” Note that the only mistake is writing Houston as Hewston, a word that the child may not be familiar with.  

Teaching Social Studies to Young Children

Social studies in early elementary grades help students begin to develop an understanding of civic responsibilities, different cultures, basic economic principles, and the world around them.  Social studies activities should encourage active learning, inquiry, interaction, and collaboration with peers. Common social studies lesson plan elements for young children include:

  • Debates and discussions about relevant topics
  • Roleplay of specific character traits, events, or historical figures
  • Guest speakers from the community
  • Field trips to culturally or historically significant locations
  • Physical manipulatives, such as maps or interactive timelines
  • Simulations of current or past events

Pre-Number Concepts

Pre-number concepts are important early math skills that are usually taught in pre-K or kindergarten, although the skills continue to be used throughout later grades. Pre-number concepts provide a foundation for mathematical understanding in later grades. Let’s take a look at some of the common pre-number concepts. 

  • One-to-one correspondence means counting each item in a set once, usually by touching or pointing to the items, while saying each number once and in order. For example, a child is using one-to-one correspondence when he counts a set of seven pencils by pointing once to each pencil while saying, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.” 
  • Rote counting means counting numbers in order. This differs from one-to-one correspondence in that it only involves saying the numbers in order, not counting a set while doing so. A child who is saying, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5…” out loud is using rote counting. 
  • Conservation of numbers is the understanding that the number of objects in a set stays the same, even when the objects are rearranged. To evaluate a child’s understanding of conservation of numbers, a teacher might show a child five cubes arranged in a line, have the student count the five cubes, rearrange the cubes into a pentagon shape while the child watches, then ask the student how many cubes there are. A child who understands the conservation of numbers would be able to immediately recognize that there are still five cubes without having to recount them. 
  • Making sets based on given criteria means that students can differentiate and sort various items based on their qualities. For example, a teacher might show students the following items and ask them to put them into two groups: a pencil, frisbee, basketball, marker, pen, and a swing. Students who understand how to make sets should be able to group the pencil, pen, and marker together as “things you write with” and the other items as “things you play with.”
  • Seriation is the ability to arrange objects based on size. A teacher who asks a student to put a set of five blocks in order from largest to smallest would be assessing a student’s understanding of seriation. 
  • Subitizing is the ability to instantly recognize the number of items in a small set without having to count the items. An example of this is dice. Students with good subitizing skills will be able to roll a die and immediately know what number they rolled without having to count each dot on the die. 

Stimulating Higher-Order Thinking

Higher-order thinking refers to skills that go beyond basic memorization and recall of facts. This includes thinking skills such as analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information. The development of higher-order thinking skills is important because it enables students to think more critically and use problem-solving strategies when faced with a new concept. Teachers can help students develop higher-order thinking skills by utilizing the following strategies:

  • Asking open-ended questions: Open-ended questions require more use of higher-level thinking skills than questions that ask students to select an answer or fill in a blank.
  • Scaffolding: This helps students build upon their current knowledge and make deeper connections. 
  • Providing wait time: Wait time allows students to process a question and synthesize an answer before being provided with a teacher explanation. 
  • Using think-pair-share: This strategy allows students to explain their thought process to a peer, which improves their metacognition skills and helps solidify their understanding of a concept. 
  • Using incorrect answers as a learning opportunity: Incorrect answers can be an excellent opportunity for learning, as teachers can ask students to explain their thought process, which helps identify the misconception. 
  • Establishing expectations for class discussions: Class discussions are a critical part of developing higher-order thinking, but expectations and procedures must be put in place in order for effective discussion to occur. 

Engaging Students – 5E

The 5E instructional model includes five stages that guide instruction. These stages are engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. Let’s take a closer look at what each of these means, and what the teacher and students might be doing during each phase:

Common Instructional Strategies for Music

Music is an important subject for children to learn and can improve students’ academic performance in other subject areas. Common instructional strategies for teaching music include:

    • Introducing students to many different types of songs: Different types of songs foster different skills. Some songs, such as “Patty Cake,” emphasize rhythm and motor skills, while others are easily paired with coordinated movements.
    • Providing opportunities for exploration: Children should be given ample opportunity to engage with various types of instruments and different styles of music. 
    • Encouraging free movement while listening to music: This helps students develop a sense of rhythm and expression. 
    • Exposing children to musical experiences through concerts: This provides students with an authentic musical experience. 
    • Asking students to listen to and replicate short musical selections with accurate pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and tempo.

Analysis and Response

Overview

The Analysis and Response domain contains one constructed-response question. 

For the constructed-response question, you will be presented with a brief case study of a fictional student. This case study will include a description of the lesson or skill being taught, followed by qualitative and quantitative data, such as student work exhibits and excerpts from a teacher-student conversation. In a 400-to-600 word response, you will need to do the following:

  • identify one area of academic need for the student
  • identify and describe an instructional strategy or intervention that could be used to address the academic need 
  • explain why your chosen instructional strategy would be effective 
  • describe an informal assessment to monitor the student’s progress
  • describe a cross-curricular activity that would support the identified academic need

Scoring

Scores will range from 1 to 4, with 4 representing a strong, well-informed response. Responses will be scored based on the following criteria:

  • Completion: How thoroughly you respond to each part of the prompt
  • Application of content: How well you apply accurate, up-to-date knowledge in your response
  • Support: How well you support your response with evidence, examples, and explanations

Tips

  • Look for patterns or trends within the data presented. These will help you identify the student’s strengths and needs. 
  • Identify and describe an academic strength of the student, not just an academic need. 
  • Focus on one academic need that is reflected across all of the data. 
  • Create an outline of your essay to ensure you cover all parts of the prompt.
  • Refer to specific questions or excerpts from the data when describing the student’s strengths and needs.
  • Describe your instructional strategy in detail, using pedagogical terminology and evidence-based practices. 

Want more information about the PK-3? Check out this video by Dr. Kristy Mulkey.

And that’s just some very basic information about the Analysis and Response domain.

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