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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Implementing Curriculum through the Planning/Observation/Individualization Cycle play. They may ask a child if they can keep a drawing, writing sample, or creation as part of an assessment portfolio. Teachers observe the children individually and as a whole group. They pay attention when the noise level gets too loud in the block area or too quiet near the bathroom sink. They notice the areas of the classroom that are well used and those that are not. They watch to see the ways children use materials. These observations may require some immediate interven- tion but also provide information for future planning purposes. 17 Sue: “Observation includes so many things—individual, group, and the use of the environment that has been set up. It isn’t the time to reach conclusions, either. The curriculum circle has to go around a few times before that should happen.” Reflection Good teachers need quiet time to think carefully about what’s happening with each child. Time to reflect is a necessity. Replaying the day’s mental videotape, reviewing observation notes, reflecting on those exciting teach- able moments that worked as well as those activities that didn’t are essen- tial to providing quality early childhood education. Reflecting on what has been observed can help teachers achieve two things: 1. They can assess each child’s performance and individualize cur- ricular strategies to better meet the needs of each child. 2. They can consider what parts of their curriculum are working well for the whole group and what will need adjustment and change. Individualization, Adjustments, and Accommodations After reflection, teachers consider individual children’s needs and adjust lesson plans. They make accommodations too. They also evaluate the way they handled a difficult behavior and rethink classroom arrangement. Based on their reflections, teachers adjust activities and change play ex- periences to accommodate both the needs of individual children and the needs of the group. To help children be successful, teachers make changes both spontaneously and after thoughtful planning. Teachers make hundreds of accommodations spontaneously each day—they cut the story short because they see the group wiggling, or they decide to read another story because the children are so attentive. They pull out a set of materials or a piece of equipment on the spur of the mo- ment to accommodate a child’s deep interest or his need for physical mo- tion on a day too rainy to go outside. Here’s an example of a spontaneous accommodation for an individual child: COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Suzanne: “As always, time is the biggest challenge. Being able to thoroughly reflect on and discuss the observations we have taken through the week as well as apply those reflections in our plans for the following week can sometimes become tricky to find the time to do as a team.” Lauren: “One challenge that I remember being most difficult is the aspect of slowing down to really watch and listen to children and to reflect on your own practice. A day of teaching can be very hectic. However, I think that I would forget that slowing down and taking the time to reflect would eventually make the classroom less hectic, and I would be able to have more quality one-on-one and small-group interactions.”