Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Open House

The Burlington Early Childhood Center will be hosting an Open House on Friday, January 20, 2012 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Burlington High School - where the programs are located. This Open House provides families with an opportunity to view the programs, meet the teachers and pickup registration packets to enroll their children for next year. Students must be 3 years old by August 31, 2011. For more information call Sandy at 781-270-1808.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Break

The Burlington Early Childhood Center will be closed until Tuesday January 3, 2012. Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday break.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011



Dear Preschool Families,

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some changes that will be taking place at the Burlington Early Childhood Center in January of 2012. Dr. Cath Estep, Director of Pupil Services, will retire from the Burlington Public Schools in February of 2012. I have been asked to be the Interim Director of Special Education from January to June. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn some new skills, and gain a broader view of the district from pre-k to 22.

In my absence Deborah Clark, Speech-Language Pathologist at the Francis Wyman School, will take over as Interim Director of the Integrated Preschool. Ms. Clark is a well respected speech pathologist who has a strong working knowledge of language based disabilities as well as augmentative communication devices. During the summer time, Ms. Clark serves as one of the directors of the Burlington Public Schools Summer Elementary Literacy Program. In this role she oversees the daily operations of the program, supervises staff and coordinates curriculum. She does this flawlessly every summer.

The transition will take place over the month of January with the full transition in place by the end of the month. Please know that even though I will not be in the preschool on a daily basis, I will only be moving a couple of feet away to central office. If you need to get in touch with me for any reason please send me an email to d’ After January any questions about the daily operations of the program you can email Deborah at

Best wishes for a very happy and healthy holiday season.

Louise D’Amato
Director B.E.C.C

Monday, December 19, 2011

What Does the "Special" in Special Education Mean?

Next month the Burlington Early Childhood Center will hold an open house for families that are interested in attending for the 2012/2013 school year. One of the questions that is asked over and over again is how do you meet the needs of all students, and will my child be challenged? The following article does a nice job explaining what differentiated instruction is and how teachers are able to meet the needs of all learners.

Quiz of the Day: What does the "Special" in Special Education mean?

A. That every child learns in a special way?
B. That every teacher teaches in a special way?
C. That a teacher specializes in educating all kinds of learners?

Actually it's
D. All of the above

What kind of chef are you? How are you in the kitchen?

If I posed this question to all of my friends, I would receive a wide range of responses. Perhaps I would have one group of people who could barely follow the instructions to make a box of macaroni and cheese. Others could probably make eggs and spaghetti but that is the extent of their culinary expertise. Then I would have this top tier of friends who are so amazing in the kitchen that they make their own sauce from scratch! That's how I judge top notch: sauce from scratch.

What does this have to do with learning?

Well, I would never ask my "macaroni friends" to make their own sauce, nor would I toss a box of macaroni to my top tier friends, when I know they could be creating a divine meal from scratch! Let's apply this idea to the classroom.

Four Paths to Differentiation: Content, Delivery of Instruction, Resources, Product and Assessment

These four ideas are interconnected, but to truly understand how to differentiate instruction, it is more manageable to look at them separately.

1. Content: Content is what we teach. It is what we want students to learn, understand and be able to apply as a result of instruction.

2. Delivery of Instruction: Delivery of Instruction is the how of teaching. This can mean how activities are designed to help students make sense of content. Delivery of Instruction also includes the process of teaching and even integrating different co-teaching models if you have multiple adults in the classroom.

3. Resources and Materials: Resources act as the medium through which you teach students. Resources can include texts, supplies, videos, materials, field trips, etc.

4. Product/Assessment: A product is the evidence of learning. It is how the student demonstrates his or her understanding of an idea. A product is a method of assessment, and in a differentiated classroom there are multiple product/assessment styles offered to students.

One Lesson, Four Differentiations

Here's an example. Let's say that in a differentiated classroom, students are learning about communities.

1. Differentiated Content: Some students may be working on developing an understanding of the term "community" by exploring different books, photos and videos about communities. Others might be working on understanding the difference between rural, urban and suburban communities. Here, the content for each group of students is different.

2. Differentiated Delivery of Instruction: A teacher might teach a lesson about the different types of communities by watching a video and taking shared notes. He or she might then pull a group of students and do a read-aloud activity using a book with vivid photographs that show the different types of communities. Here, the students are learning the same content through different learning activities. The instruction is being delivered differently.

3. Differentiated Resources: A teacher might have three groups of students researching communities. One group might be using a series of easy readers and picture books to compile their information, while another group uses higher-level non-fiction text with chapters and features such as glossary and index. Perhaps there is a third group doing independent Internet research. In this case, three groups of students are using appropriate texts in the classroom.

4. Differentiated Products To assess learning, perhaps some students do an oral presentation of their findings, while others create a poster based on their research. Others design a test and answer key on the subject! In this case, student learning is beingdemonstrated in different ways.

The Takeaway

  1. In education, one size does not fit all.
  2. All students deserve and are entitled to appropriate instruction.
  3. We can accommodate in small, simple ways that will support growth in all of our students.
  4. If you have any tips for differentiation -- especially small, simple things we can do -- please share them!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences

There is no school on Friday December 9, 2011 for parent teacher conferences. If you have not scheduled and appointment for tomorrow please email your classroom teacher to set up an appointment.

Friendly Frogs, Andrea Hayes


Puppy Pals, Tiffany D'Abbracio

Lucky Ducks, Naomi Abelson ***

Busy Bees, Courtney Stratton

Barnyard Buddies, Shannon Conroy

Cub Cadets, Lisa Bottiglio

Spunky Monkeys, Amanda Nasta ******

The Lucky Ducks conferences will be held on Monday December 12, 2011

The Spunky Monkeys will not have conferences tomorrow. This classroom is new and just opened a few weeks ago. Students are still transitioning into the program and learning the routine. Amanda will hold conferences in late January early February. However, she is available at any time to discuss your child.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Learning Through Predictable Books

Learning Through Predictable Books

by Rynette R. Kjesbo, M.S., CCC-SLP

What Are Predictable Books?

Predictable books are books that are written in a way that makes it easy to guess what will happen on the next page. Many predictable books repeat words, phrases, or sentences throughout the text. For example, in the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., the question “What do you see?” and the answer “I see a ___ looking at me.” repeat throughout the entire story. Deborah Guarino’s book Is Your Mama a Llama? is another kind of predictable book that uses rhyme and rhythm to help children solve riddles about animal mothers. Other predictable books build on storylines or sequences that are familiar to children. For example, Cookie’s Week, a story by Cindy Ward, follows the misadventures of a cat through the familiar sequence of the days of the week.

Why Are Predictable Books Important?

There are many benefits that come from reading predictable books with your children. Here are just a few:

• Children learn pre-reading skills. As you begin to read books with your children, they learn pre-reading skills, such as reading from top to bottom, reading from left to right, and turning pages. They also learn that a story has a beginning, middle, and end.

• Children participate in reading. Predictable books are easy to understand and remember. Because of this, children become familiar with predictable books quickly, which allows them to fill in words and phrases when they read the books again.

• Children learn about rhyme and rhythm. Many predictable books use rhyme and rhythm to make them predictable. As a result, children learn these skills as they read and re-read predictable books.

• Children learn inflection in a natural way. We don’t usually speak in just one tone of voice. Inflection is the change between the high tones and low tones in our voices when we speak. Predictable books often have a rhythm that is read with a singsong inflection which is easier for children to imitate.

• Children get additional speech practice. Because words and phrases are repeated in many predictable books, finding a book that repeats your children’s targeted speech sounds can give them additional speech practice as they read.

• Children experience success with reading. Reading predictable books can make children feel successful with the skill of reading. Children who feel successful with reading will want to continue reading.

List of Predictable Books

There are many wonderful predictable books that you can read with your children. Here is just a small sample list. Your local library can assist you in finding more.

An Egg Is an Egg by Nicki Weiss Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Don’t Climb Out of the Window Tonight by Richard McGilvray

I Went Walking by Sue Williams

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw

My Very Own Octopus by Bernard Most

This Is The Bear by Sarah Hayes

Where Does the Brown Bear Go? by Nicki Weiss

Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen

Who Says That? by Arnold L. Shapiro