Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Documentation Boards

Do you document?

I had an amazing Reggio Emilia inspired undergraduate experience, and was consistently taught about the importance of documentation.  Honestly, this has been something that has been put on the back burner thanks to  mandated curriculum, assessments, progress reports and all that jazz.  In the last month or so I have been making an effort to document more often.  I have noticed that my students are SO engaged when reflecting on their own learning!  It may not be the cutest or fanciest bulletin board around, but I am so proud that my students created it to reflect what they are really learning each day.

This documentation panel is titled "How to Learn about Colors."

Documentation is the process of gathering evidence and artifacts of what happens in the classroom. Documentation is not only the process of gathering evidence and artifacts, but also a physical collection of evidence and artifacts, the reflection of that collection, or part of it, in a way that makes children’s learning visible to the children, to the teachers, to the other adults including families and visitors. --Carlina Rinaldi (1994) 

 
Do a science experiment
Here is a close up of what this can look like.  Here I have an artifact from a color mixing experiment we did {see here}, a student drawing of the experiment, and a photo of two children participating in the experiment.

Make colored play dough
Here is another student drawing, a photograph of a student mixing colors into white play dough {see here} and a photo of two children using the play dough after they colored it.

Straw paint to mix colors
Here is a straw painting that a child did, and his drawing of the straw painting process {see here}.

Mix colors in the water table
A student drawing and a photograph of the color mixing activity {see here}.

Read and write about color
A student drawing (the book the person is holding says "the colors"... cute!) and the world's most precious photograph of students reading color books with their arms around one another.


The process of creating this board was not hard!  I collected artifacts (photographs and student work) while we learned about colors.  I chose five students to work in a group with me to create the documentation panel.  We had a discussion about all of the different color activities we did.  Each child chose one activity to write about and illustrate.  This was an amazing way to integrate writing.  I have never seen this particular group of kids SO engaged in writing!  They loved looking at what one another was doing, then sharing their work with the class.  It is now hanging front and center, and my little ones couldn't be prouder.  It doesn't hurt that it also shows the parents and administrators all of the different ways we are learning, too!

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