The Learning Professor Blog

The Problem with Behavior Charts

By Dr. Jenni Jacobs | October 19, 2018

I recently taught a class in which we engaged in a discussion about the use of behavior charts in the classroom. These come in all different varieties….from forms sent home with parents to charts on the wall to flipping cards to those infamous stop light systems. Do these types of things really work? And are […]

Engaging Students in Physical Science

By Dr. Jenni Jacobs | October 8, 2018

Physical science is one of the three content items in science. (The other two are life science and earth & space science). Physical science deals with the properties of materials and objects. This includes things we can observe, such as height, weight, color, and transparency, but it also includes how objects respond in different situations. […]

Teaching to the Brain

By Dr. Jenni Jacobs | September 20, 2018

We’ve all heard of teaching to the test, and we all know that this strategy has no long-term success for children’s learning. Instead, I suggest “teaching to the brain”….using what we know about how the brain develops to influence what we do in our classrooms. During the first five years of life, the brain develops […]

preschooler completing a worksheet

The Problem with Worksheets

By Dr. Jenni Jacobs | September 3, 2018

You never want to get on a plane where the pilot learned to fly from worksheets. ~ Todd Whitaker I was teaching a class recently, and I noticed a common theme…as much as teachers have heard that worksheets are not appropriate they just seem to have a hard time letting go of them. I think […]

Turtles in the Pond

Math Made Fun

By Dr. Jenni Jacobs | August 15, 2018

Math is one of my favorite areas to plan for in the preschool classroom. Sometimes teachers get so focused on the counting sequence that they forget about the other types of math activities that are just as, or even more, important! Number sense is just one area of math development that should be an important […]

Building Relationships with Children Who Have Challenging Behaviors

By Dr. Jenni Jacobs | August 14, 2018

We always talk about how important it is to build relationships with children, but let’s be real. Some children are just really hard to build relationships with. I remember when I first went back to school to get my early childhood degree, one of my professors went around the room and asked why we went […]

Paper dolls holding hands

Building Positive Relationships

By Dr. Jenni Jacobs | August 13, 2018

Relationships are an essential component of an early childhood classroom. One of my favorite quotes is by Jack Shonkoff, editor of the book Neurons to Neighborhoods in which he says, “Without relationships, there is no development.” If you think back on your own experiences, I imagine that the times when you learned the most were […]


Welcoming Children with Respect

By Dr. Jenni Jacobs | August 10, 2018

Yesterday was one of those days where I just did not feel like being social. I was feeling a little stressed, and while I wasn’t in a bad mood or anything, I just didn’t want to socialize. This didn’t seem to sit well with some of the people I interact with on a daily basis. […]

Listening Center

Creating Meaningful Literacy Experiences for Preschoolers

By Dr. Jenni Jacobs | August 9, 2018

Creating literacy-rich environments is certainly a buzz-phrase in preschool classrooms. It seems that everyone is always looking for new ideas to make their classrooms literacy rich. What seems to be missing from a lot of these conversations is meaning. It’s not enough to just have a lot of print in your environment. Research has shown […]

To Teach a Second Language or Not?

By Dr. Jenni Jacobs | August 8, 2018

One of the questions I get asked alot by teachers is whether they should be teaching a second language in their classroom or not. There is so much pressure from parents and administrators that it becomes hard to know what to do. There is no doubt. Children who learn a second language before puberty have […]