Intentionally Designed Environments: Documentation

As we continue the discussion of intentionally designed environments and how we Reggio Waydisplay not just children’s work but also the process of their learning, there are some key ideas I found helpful to provide some insights from Working in the Reggio Way by  Julianne 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.

  • Documentation begins with observation.

A couple of fun, engaging ideas that I have observed in classrooms include…

* Documenting 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 – playing the slide show each morning on the Smart Board to remind students of the learning that took place the previous day.

* 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. The teacher would always be referring back to it with the children-  the documentation was useful and children were able to gain the skill of reflecting on their thinking.

* Students reflection of their own learning posted next to their work. 

* I saw a documentation board in one classroom that had pictures and one or two quotes from students for each month- although it wouldn’t capture the thinking through a whole project, it was a good way to demonstrate to students the passage of time. The students chose one to two pictures each week that demonstrated their learning. It was a great time to review the learning and also work on voting skills.



Author: DHonegger

Debra S. Honegger has worked in multiple areas of education- both general education and special education- as teacher, consultant, administrator and instructional coach- with ages from birth through adult. However, no matter where she is or what her title, she holds a firm belief in meeting the needs of each individual child while coming together as a community of learners.

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