DOCUMENTATION of STANDARDS/OBJECTIVES:
COLOR SPLASH app
In early grades when children are learning through play and hands-on activities, we need a method of displaying the learning that is taking place in regards to standards and objectives. Visually documenting children’s learning is a tool we use to analyze the intent of children’s work, reflect on the learning and progress to inform instruction and to engage students’ in conversations and self-reflection. If the hands-on work in which children engage becomes visible, it becomes a starting point for conversations with children, families, colleagues, and administrators.
One way to draw attention to the learning in which we want to reflect upon is through the use of The Color Splash app. This app allows the focus to be on what the child is learning and accomplishing by coloring the parts of the photo in which you want to focus. A caption can be added to include the words of the child as he/she discusses the process of what is being learned or explored.
This provides an insightful glance into the learning that is taking place during hands-on learning activities.
Pictures hung at the students’ eye-level spark conversations, reflections on their learning and encourage others to recreate and expand on the process.
Color Splash on Google Play
Color Splash for Apple
“Documentation is not pretty pictures of engaged children. Rather, it captures the thinking process: What motivated [students] to begin, continue, change direction? What were the breakthroughs, the pivotal remarks or actions? How did they solve the problem? The goal is to enable whoever reads a panel to understand what the child attempted and how they went about it, to see stimulus, process, and outcome.”
-A. Lewin-Benham (2006). Possible Schools: The Reggio Approach to Urban Education. New York: Teacher’s College Press.
While reflecting on this quote, think of your classroom walls:
- What is hanging on the walls?
- Is it a reflection of the children?
- Do the children look at, talk about, use the information that is hanging on the walls?
- Did the children have the opportunity to help create the pieces on the walls? As educators, we need to reflect on how we are showcasing the process of the learning of young children, how do we provide a visual to others of the children’s thinking.
I believe that if we had this goal in mind as we are hanging items on our walls and deciding how to document children’s learning- not just the end product but the process as well- it would serve as an incredible focal point for student conversations as well as provide an amazing visible display of what children are learning and thinking for parents, administrators and other stakeholders- what are your thoughts?