o Make learning process visible
o Honoring children’s words through displays
o Examine how to use technology to help in this process
o Continue with authentic assessment- observing/assessing in their natural play environment
Goal: To modify our teaching practices to be more reflective of the values of stimulating and challenging children to construct meaning through exploration and discovery
Some key ideas included:
o Use of deeper level open-ended questions that help children evaluate, analyze, predict, classify, compare, problem solve and plan
o Observe students with intention/being in the moment and then plan next steps based on observation to challenge each child
o Engaging children in creative inquiry that results in an exciting, meaningful explansion of knowledge
Goal: to improve the environment of our classrooms
Some of the key ideas include:
o Examining the materials and the arrangement/storage of materials- does it encourage children to linger, ponder and explore
o Looking at the focal point in our rooms and making sure that it is inviting the children into the room with the value of exploration and discovery
o Observing carefully for which centers are being used often and which are ignored- then revamping the ignored centers to address the students’ interests
Looking at the wider view: From our journey- what are the benefits to our current and future students, our early childhood building teams, our early childhood district-wide team and/or are there any thoughts/ideas that
would benefit your entire school team:
What deepened sensitivities can be shared and how? What methods can be employed for the sharing of our growth and inspirations? How has our journey increased our collaboration with our peers?
Our reflections regarding our professional and personal growth from our journey: How were you personally challenged by our journey? How was your passion for learning affected? How have you grown as a person? How have your instructional strategies changed? Have you been able to bring more authentic experiences and work to the classroom?
One of my biggest thoughts was the amount of collaboration that took place- we simply cannot close our doors and do this work on our own...
Collaboration is critical- in order to reach our goal we must be willing
participants that take risks together.
As we think of our five sticks of gum- what are the top five aha's or inspirations you gathered in which you are going to start with for implementation or just shift in thinking that will stick with you:
What changes are you making based on our journey:
Pondering our goal of documentation prior to our journey:
I love some of the key ideas in Working in the Reggio Way by Wurm:
- Documentation is important for not only the children to see the process of their thinking and their work but also for the teachers to grow in their craft and understanding of children.
- "Documentation can serve to illuminate the thinking, a change in thinking that occurred, what was learned or not learned, the evolution of the behavior, questioning, maturity, responses, and opinions." (Wurm, 2005)
- Documentation begins with observation. (We have a good start here- since we are getting much more thoughtful and reflective in the way that we are truly watching students.)
- Interesting thoughts on how to get started:
* documentating student's thoughts during different times of the day and placing those by the posted visual schedule.
* Taking lots of pictures and showing them as a slide show (possibly have a slide show running each morning on the Smart Board?)
* another resource I read noted that keeping a web of student's thoughts and ideas as a project develops is a good way of displaying the process of the children's thinking. I liked this idea for we would always be referring back to it with the children- so that the documentation is useful and children are able to gain the skill of reflecting on their thinking.
* I saw a documentation board in one classroom that had a picture and one or two quotes from students for each month- although it wouldn't capture the thinking through a whole project, I thought it was a good way to demonstrate to students the passage of time.
Can't wait to hear about the types of documentation used at Journey School. What are your ponderings, questions, wonderings regarding the display of and use of documentation?
As I've been talking to other Pre-K teachers about environments, I"ve been
pondering of one of Kim's aha's from the Reggio book:
"Start change in your classroom with picking 5 things so that you are not overwhelmed with trying to change it all at once."
What are your thoughts about where to start?
A couple of thoughts that I had are areas that we have discussed:
1. The importance of building a community of learners- of creating the environment to assist with being a school family. A beginning would be to add pictures of each child's family and an identity panel, with photo on one side and self - potrait on the other side.
2. The mood of the classroom with some key aspects that were mentioned such as
flexibility within structure- allowing items to move from one center to another, developing transitions that allow for continuous engagement of students instead of some waiting on the carpet etc. for a long time for others, and as Elizabeth wrote earlier, "encouraging children to see themselves and their peers as competent and resourceful and to allow children use real tools, do meaningful work and task acceptable risks."
3. I also loved the article Consider the Walls (in the Journey binder). Patricia Tarr talks about how commerically made
posters etc. that we hang for educational purposes may actually be limiting children's sense of who they truly are and true capabilities and stifles their imagination and creativity. She states, "So too does the mass of commercial
stereotyped images silence the actual lived experiences of those individuals learning together. An overload of commercial materials leaves little room for work created by the children—another kind of silencing." She goes on to
discuss the importance of displaying not only the children's finished products but documentation of the process of learning as well. Some of our other resources have addressed this point as well- I am thinking of two easy ways to
start with this concept: 1.would be to think of what is being displayed and why and if it is important to your educational goals and objectives- how can it be created by the students (example: one Pre-K teacher felt it was important to
have the colors displayed on her walls- so her students created the color posters which was much more meaningful to them and since it was created by them, they tended to reference and look at the posters more often than they would have
if it was limited to a commerically made design. They were beautiful and much more aesthetically appealing.)
Here's the link to the article: http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200405/ConsidertheWalls.pdf
2. Give greater importance and honor to children's work by placing it in a frame or on a shelf- in a place of honor. This communicates to the child that what they have created is important, has meaning and is worthy of being looked at by others. Frames are expensive but I've even seen the lids to shoe boxes covered to "frame" student's work or poster board cut into shape of frame and they both were beautiful displays of children's work. I have also found some very inexpensive frames this summer at garage sales, flea markets and Goodwill stores.(picture is from Elizabeth's room)
What are your thoughts about where to begin?
Below are some pictures- many from your buildings respresenting these three thoughts-
What great thoughts-
question came up the other day related to the idea of related to the idea of building the group of kids as a school family and designing our environments to make them reflect that family
discussion was regarding adding more "home like" materials in centers especially the home living area: questions posed was :the kids tend to throw, not put away or destory the home living items- I don't want to spend additional money on items they will not take care of- how do I teach care of materials?
My question- let me know your thoughts- if we offer items that are more closely related to home and they already have been taught to be "careful of the dishes" etc., will this issue take care of itself? When we trust students to be respectful of beautiful items and model the use of and care of any new items- will students naturally become respectful with care of the environment? What are your thoughts?
Here's a spot for us to share with each other any thoughts, inspirations etc.
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