Ms. Tijani is like an artist, using the world as a canvas to fulfill her passion to create. Her words are her paintbrush, which she used at Leap & Bound Academy to leave an impression on her students.
Ms. Tijani became a preschool teacher as part of her ongoing mission to empower children’s lives. She has been practicing early childhood education in some form since she was in the 10th grade herself. Throughout her career, she has developed many important teaching techniques that have helped her students learn how to learn.
In the interest of empowerment, Ms. Tijani focuses on building skills. One of her last lessons at Leap & Bound was Touch-Point Math.
The objective is for each child to hand-write the numbers 1-9 with the help of Touch Points. To begin the lesson, Ms. Tijani writes numbers 0-40 on the whiteboard and leads her students through listing each number out loud. Next, she challenges her class to start from 20 and work backwards to 0. By changing the order and upping the difficulty, Ms. Tijani gets around automatic responses. She challenges her students to use critical thinking skills instead of just memory.
After a refresher on what the numbers are, it’s time to introduce the Touch Points! Starting with the number 1, Ms. Tijani asks the class how many dots are needed to write the number. She demonstrates on the whiteboard that the numbers 1-5 have the same amount of dots that the number itself describes. Before drawing the picture, she asks every student to show the number of dots using their fingers. By checking in with signs and gestures, she makes sure everyone is listening and participating.
The numbers 6-9 are more challenging, since the number of dots is different from the number itself. So Ms. Tijani developed a new system to help the children put dots on them, called the “Cold Method”. She refers to each number as a snowman, and asks her students to place certain items on the snowman to keep it warm. The kids enjoy this method because they get to come up with silly items for their snowmen. Partnering certain numbers with items they thought of themselves makes it easier to remember them.
To conclude the lesson, Ms. Tijani claims that she cannot remember how to write any number! The children eagerly raise their hands to help her remember by writing the numbers and dots on the whiteboard. This student-led task encourages class participation, and acts as a test for Ms. Tijani to make sure everyone understood the lesson. It also allows her to spend more time on the numbers they struggle with.
After reviewing the material by drawing and dotting, the class celebrates! We have just learned an exciting lesson on numbers! The techniques Ms. Tijani used throughout the lesson included asking questions, encouraging creativity, and inviting the students to teach the teacher. This allowed the lesson to reach its full potential: A fun and effective way to teach three-year-old kids how to write numbers!
Lastly, we must say goodbye, not only to the lesson, but also to the teacher. This year, Ms. Tijani decided to move away from the world of education, to focus on practicing therapy. We are grateful that she decided to lend us her skills, and we rest easy knowing a generation of children are in capable hands.
Ms. Tijani is a board-certified therapist with a Master’s Degree in Marriage, Family and Child Therapy. Her areas of speciality are helping women and girls overcome toxic relationships and empowering children with mental disabilities.