Clayton Early Learning

Come and Play – Sesame Street Learning

Geri Mendoza

“Come and play. Everything's A-Ok……Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street…

Children using the SMARTBoard in DeShawn's classroom

When I was a kid, this tune signaled the start of a fun and silly experience for my siblings and me. It was amusing to watch Bert & Ernie, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and the other lovable cast of humans, monsters and puppets make learning fun. Well, have you seen the “Street” lately? Go online and check out the interactive website, a wealth of incredible resources for parents and educators. According to Sesame Workshop CEO, Gary E. Knell, “For over 40 years, Sesame Workshop has helped children reach their highest potential by creating media which have engaged and educated millions of children in America and around the world. Through careful research which guides our work, Sesame Workshop has been able to address critical needs using television, books and interactive media which appeal to our nation’s young children and their parents.” And let me tell you, there are exciting plans on the part of Sesame Workshop to develop content-rich segments that go deeper, and impact children’s learning beyond “B-b-b banana”, as Clayton Early Learning teacher DeShawn Burks discovered on a recent trip to Manhattan. His participation was round one of an intensive phase of research and development in which Sesame Street has engaged early learning professionals and other partner leaders to design, build, examine, and explore the Sesame Street Learning program.

Children using the SMARTTable in DeShawn's classroom

Following his trip, DeShawn came back to school and shared the Sesame Workshop information. He has big plans to develop innovative and engaging educational content using what he heard from the workshop. Taking advantage of digital media, Deshawn is on the same page or rather the same SMARTBoard page as Sesame Workshop.

DeShawn was chosen to attend the Sesame workshop based on his use of technology curriculum with preschool children. He is one of six Technology Fellows at Clayton Early Learning.   He started with a SMART Table in his classroom (see the pictures in this blog) and has graduated to the SMARTBoard, mounted on a wall in his classroom. Through inviting age-appropriate materials, young children in DeShawn’s classroom become active participants in solving problems using observation and investigation and are introduced to vocabulary and concepts that are the foundation for later school success. DeShawn has plans to incorporate a variety of developmentally appropriate learning activities for the current classroom study of fruit that will:

  • facilitate understanding of a concept- DeShawn uses "how" and "why" questions to talk with the children about where fruit comes from and they are able to "investigate" their hypothesis using the SMARTBoard.
  • encourage analysis and reasoning- DeShawn has created opportunities for children to create graphs to document the types of apples they have tasted and explored.
  • allow children to predict, experiment and think about their work-DeShawn is able to chart what the children want to learn about fruit using a web diagram, asking questions that focus the children on the topic (fruit), uncovering what they know about the topic and helping chart what they want to know.
  • apply concepts to the real world-DeShawn uses pictures of the children doing their work and pictures from recent field trips to anchor the children's understanding of their study of fruit.

Come and play because, everything is A-OK, DeShawn is giving children the power of learning at Clayton Early Learning.

Geri Mendoza

About Geri Mendoza

Geri Mendoza has 30 years of experience in the field of early childhood education and programming for children birth through five. She has been a preschool teacher, education coordinator, and administrator in a variety of early education settings, including Head Start. In her current role, she provides day to day management of projects within the Clayton Early Learning professional development department. She has a special focus on quality improvement and evidence-based professional development. Geri has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development, Child Studies concentration from Colorado State University and a Masters Degree in Education with an emphasis on educational leadership from Regis University, School of Professional Studies.
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  1. How exciting to hear that a teacher is coming up to the 21st century with integrating technology into the classroom. With proper supervision and interactions, children can use technology for further developing their cognitive skills and become inspired in their deeper level thinking. I also think this is another way of reaching some of those multiple intelligences! How wonderful.

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