PROJECTS

Exceptional Coaching for Early Language and Literacy- enhanced (ExCELL-e)

ExCELL-e is an online language and literacy Professional Development model designed for teachers in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade. The model includes training modules and individualized coaching. ExCELL-e was funded by an Investing in Innovations (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education and a group of generous foundations (the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation, Lockhart-Vaughan Foundation, the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund, and the Wright Family Foundation). ExCELL-e trains teachers in evidence-based strategies to foster children’s language and literacy abilities, with a specific focus on children who are dual language learners (DLL) learning English.

ExCELL-e includes:

  • Web-based training
  • Coaching
  • Theme related books for each grade level
  • Book reading guides
  • Vocabulary picture cards
  • Center time activities to extend vocabulary
  • Progress monitoring tool

Story Talk (ST)

Story Talk is an evidenced-based, book reading intervention designed for early childhood educators. Story Talk includes training, individualized coaching, books and materials to support implementation. This project is funded by an Institute of Education Sciences Development grant. Story Talk is designed to support vocabulary instruction through book reading and center activities in preschool classrooms. The goal is to deliver high-quality professional development, through structured lesson guides and a modest amount of coaching, to teachers, ultimately engendering growth in children’s English language vocabulary skills.

Story Talk includes:

  • Training
  • Coaching
  • Theme guides
  • Theme related books
  • Story Maps
  • Vocabulary picture cards w/definitions
  • Center time activities to extend vocabulary
  • Progress monitoring tool

Story Talk @ Home (ST@Home)

ST@Home is the family component to Story Talk. ST@Home is intended to guide families in supporting vocabulary learning at home. This project is supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This program aligns with the Story Talk classroom instruction and provides resources to families to support activities and conversations at home about the ST books and vocabulary. The goal is to increase children exposure to word through a home-school connection.

ST@Home includes:

  • Family friendly book sharing strategies
  • Weekly activities
  • Vocabulary picture cards
  • Book List

National Professional Development Project

The National Professional Development project focused on building on the ExCELL-e Professional Development model to include more explicit training and coaching for teachers who teach Dual Language Learners (DLLs). This project is funded by the U. S. Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA). Lead by Dr. Carol Hammer, who is the PI and a professor at Columbia University, and Dr. Barbara A. Wasik, who is Co-PI, the NPD project will be working with preschool teachers in New York City, a school district that recently implemented Universal Preschool. The goal of the project is to develop science-based training for teachers who are working with DLL students and incorporate that training into the ExCELL-e site in order have a comprehensive language and literacy training for preschool teachers.

National Professional Development Project includes:

  • Web-based training for preschool teachers and assistant teachers
  • Coaching
  • Theme related books
  • Reading guides
  • Vocabulary picture cards w/definitions
  • Center time activities to extend vocabulary
  • Progress monitoring tool
  • Family involvement resources
  • Administrative resources

PNC Lesson Center Project

The PNC Lesson Center Project is a website designed to provide free, science and art lessons for preschool teachers. Funded by the PNC Grow Up Great Foundation, the website is organized by themes and teachers can easily access lesson that they can implement in their classrooms. The lessons include detailed instructions about how to do the activities in classrooms as well as recommended books, assessment questions and extension activities. The website is:

https://www.pnc.com/en/about-pnc/corporate-responsibility/grow-up-great/lesson-center.html.

The website also includes a Teacher Tool Kit with video demonstrating Inquiry Learning in preschool classrooms, which is the basis for the science and art lessons.