Google+ bakers and astronauts: documentation and making it meaningful

10 May 2011

documentation and making it meaningful

This post at Beyond the classroom has me thinking today.  How do I document?  How do I respect not only the children's communication through words and visuals, but also through movement?  How can I make a continuing record to show what is valued by the children and the teachers in the environment?

For me, lately, it has been more than that, even.  How can I follow through with the children's interests?  How can I support them as they bring their explorations to the next level?  I begin the documentation, but then it falls short.

For example, weeks ago, I brought in a variety of things from m kitchen that may or may not grow.  Dried garbanzo beans, caraway seed, fennel, lentils, sesame seeds, and more.  I put them on a table with lots of containers and magnifying glasses.  I was there from time to time, talking to the children about sorting.  There were also small cards on the table and black pens, and I occasionally prompted the children to draw their predictions of what different seeds might look like when they grow.

Reflecting on the experience now, I do understand what I could have done differently.  This could have been separated over more days; it could have been in a format where it was facilitated by an adult with small groups of children - an atelier type setting, really.  I did not write down any words, and no one drew a picture.  After this day, the children helped to plant the seeds, but I did not have them follow up in any way besides the obvious watering and using the plants for observational drawings as they grow.

Every moment is not going to be recorded, and I see a beauty in that.  But I do see how I need to improve on my practice of documentation.
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