- Development and Early Childhood Education Programs
- Notice every student every day to build a learning community
- Four ways to help English Language learners be successful
- What to ask when reading a STEM text
- Teaching ELLs: It's about helping all students
- Six Types of Family Involvement

Development and Early Childhood Education Programs

What does the research say about The Incredible Years? This early intervention program for students with special needs is the focus of the latest What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) research review, available now at

The Incredible Years is a program that focuses on building the social and emotional skills of children ages 0–12 who have exhibited difficult behavior. Lessons cover recognizing and understanding feelings, getting along with friends, anger management, problem solving, and behavior at school. Parents are given training on how to provide positive discipline, promote learning and development, and stay involved in their children’s life at school. The WWC identified 166 studies of The Incredible Years for preschool children with disabilities in early education settings that were published or released between 1989 and 2011. Three studies are within the scope of the WWC Early Childhood Education Interventions for Children with Disabilities review protocol but do not meet WWC evidence standards. Seventy-two studies are out of the scope of the protocol due to ineligible study design. Ninety-one studies are out of the scope of the protocol for reasons other than study design. The lack of studies meeting WWC evidence standards means that the WWC is unable to draw any conclusions based on research about the effectiveness of The Incredible Years on preschool children with disabilities. Read the full report.

Two new WWC quick reviews are also available this week. See how the WWC rated the following studies:

- Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings After the Second Year of Implementation —This study examined whether a professional development program for seventh-grade mathematics teachers improved the teachers’ knowledge of rational number topics and the performance of their students on a rational number test. The study analyzed data on 89 teachers and about 2,100 students from 39 schools in six largely urban school districts. The study found no statistically significant difference in teacher knowledge of rational numbers or student achievement between treatment and control schools. The research described in this report is a well-executed randomized controlled trial with low attrition and meets WWC evidence standards. Read the entire quick review.

- School-Based Early Childhood Education and Age-28 Well-Being: Effects by Timing, Dosage, and Subgroups —This study examined the effect of an early childhood education program on educational attainment by age 28, including on-time high school graduation, high school completion, and college attendance and graduation. Researchers analyzed data from 900 individuals who completed the Child-Parent Center Education Program for preschool and kindergarten and 486 individuals from similar backgrounds who completed alternative kindergarten programs through the Chicago Effective Schools Project. The study found positive, statistically significant differences on four outcomes related to educational attainment. Intervention group members completed 0.27 years more schooling, on average, than comparison group members. In addition, intervention group members were more likely to complete high school (82% versus 75%), graduate on time from high school (44% versus 37%), and attend a four-year college than comparison group members (15% versus 11%). The study did not find statistically significant differences on ever attending college or receipt of a postsecondary degree. The research described in this report meets WWC evidence standards with reservations. Individuals who attended the Child-Parent Center Education Program may have differed from individuals in the comparison group in ways not controlled for in the analysis. Read the entire quick review.

Quick reviews assess whether a study’s design meets WWC evidence standards. The WWC does not vouch for study findings or confirm their correctness.

To see other WWC reports, go to today and browse our topics. As the WWC continues its work to connect educators with the tools needed to make informed decisions, visit our website often and check your inbox for updates and new releases throughout the year.

Notice every student every day to build a learning community

When students know you see them as individuals, they feel more connected to their school. This helps build a learning community in your classroom. Noticing every student every day can have a big payoff. Sometimes, the students who need positive attention most are also the students who are the toughest to deal with. Often, these may be kids who are unwilling or unable to participate in a dialogue with a teacher.

So the key is to find a neutral way to connect with every child. You need to find a way to indicate, "I know you're here. But you don't necessarily have to respond to me."

Here are some examples of simple ways to notice your students in a low-key but supportive way:
• "You got new glasses--I like them."
• "It seems like you really enjoy reading the Wimpy Kid books."
• "Did you see the game yesterday?"
• "Did you see this cute picture of baby lions? It was on the Internet."
• "Did you like the storyteller who came to school yesterday?"
• "I saw your brother the other day."

What matters isn't what you notice about the child. What matters is that you notice the child. This kind of daily connection tells students they don't have to act out to get noticed!

Reprinted with permission from the March 2012 issue of Better Teaching® (Elementary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2012 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: C. Opitz, "Can You See Me? Can You Hear Me?"

Four ways to help English Language learners be successful

Students who are learning to speak English come to your classroom from a variety of backgrounds and native languages. So it's difficult to generalize about how you can meet their needs.

However, there are a number of steps that will help most English learners progress. Here are four ideas:

1. Revisit words students "know." English learners need many chances to see, hear and speak a new word before it is truly part of their vocabulary. If you are introducing new vocabulary, include several review words.

2. Use technology to build background. Many of your English learners may know very little about their new country. That makes it much harder to activate background knowledge in a class like social studies. Use videos and Internet sites to help students learn more history.

3. Label everything. Use sticky notes to label items in your classroom--computer, flag, desk, chair. Say them and point to the note so students link the object with how the word reads and sounds.

4. Let students do as much as they can. Assign regular classroom tasks, just as you do with other students. While they're putting the books back on the shelves, they can practice reading the book titles.

Reprinted with permission from the April 2012 issue of Better Teaching® (Elementary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2012 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: J. Cipriano, "32 Tips for ELLs," Scholastic Instructor, September 2011.

What to ask when reading a STEM text

Students can't read textbooks in the STEM areas the same way they read a novel or their history homework. To teach them how to get the most from their text, here are five questions they should ask before they begin:

1. Does the page include the title of this topic? If so, students should pause to think about what they already may have learned about this topic.

2. Are there principles or rules on the page? They will probably be set off in some way--look for colored backgrounds or boxes. These indicate that students should pay special attention.

3. Is there new vocabulary? Usually, these words will be introduced in bold-faced type. If there is a word they don't understand, they should check its meaning on an earlier page or by looking in the glossary.

4. Are there graphs or tables? In math and science texts, these are often as important as the words.

5. Is there a photograph? It's not there just to look nice. Often, photos show a real-world application of the content.

Reprinted with permission from the April 2012 issue of Better Teaching® (Secondary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2012 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: A. Benjamin, But I'm Not a Reading Teacher: Strategies for Literacy Instruction in the Content Areas, Eye on Education Publishers.

Teaching ELLs: It's about helping all students

Helping English language learners become successful in your classroom is not always an either/or proposition. Here are nine ways you can help all your students be more successful.

1. Speak clearly. If you haven't done so, make a video of yourself teaching. Are you easy to understand? Can all students hear you?

2. Explain idioms or colloquialisms. These expressions make language more vivid--but they can also leave some students confused.

3. Use demonstrations whenever possible. Bring in a scientific balance scale when you are showing students about equal values on both sides of the equals sign in algebra. Write model sentences showing parallel construction parallel to each other on the board.

4. Let students try it themselves. Hands-on learning cements understanding.

5. Teach academic language. Learning your discipline is like learning another language--give students the words they need.

6. Build background knowledge. Technology can be a great aid. They may not have seen the Great Wall in person, but they can on the screen.

7. Make all students leaders. Let students take some of the responsibilities for keeping your classroom running smoothly.

8. Give all students a chance to be successful. A think-pair-share strategy will allow more students to formulate their responses.

9. Focus on individuals, not labels. All students have strengths and weaknesses, whether they're labeled gifted or ELL.

Reprinted with permission from the April 2012 issue of Better Teaching® (Secondary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2012 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: R. Wormeli, "Movin' Up to the Middle," Educational Leadership,'-Up-to-the-Middle.aspx.

Six Types of Family Involvement

Joyce L. Epstein's Framework of Six Types of Family Involvement

TYPE 1--PARENTING: Assist families with parenting and child-rearing skills, understanding child and adolescent development, and setting home conditions that support children as students at each age and grade level. Assist schools in understanding families.

TYPE 2--COMMUNICATING: Communicate with families about school programs and student progress through effective school-to-home and home-to-school communications.

TYPE 3--VOLUNTEERING: Improve recruitment, training, work, and schedules to involve families as volunteers and audiences at the school or in other locations to support students and school programs.

TYPE 4--LEARNING AT HOME: Involve families with their children in learning activities at home, including homework and other curriculum-linked activities and decisions.

TYPE 5--DECISION MAKING: Include families as participants in school decisions, governance, and advocacy through PTA/PTO, school councils, committees, and other parent organizations.

TYPE 6--COLLABORATING WITH THE COMMUNITY: Coordinate resources and services for families, students, and the school with businesses, agencies, and other groups, and provide services to the community.

Resources: Epstein, J.L., Coates, L., Salinas, K.C., Sanders, M.G. & Simon, B. S. (1997) School, Family, and Community Partnerships: your Handbook for Action. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press

For further questions or information about Parent Involvement, please contact Dawn Smith at the DOE, (605) 773-2535 or email

Spring 2012