One of the things I experienced documenting children’s learning in the past was an overload of photos, notes, and observations. While they all speak to the unique learning of each child, I was always left with too many photographs and notes. After much reflection, I decided to simplify our process and use the Learning Stories […]
Pedagogical Documentation: An Introduction to Te Whāriki’s Learning Stories
Happy August! Wow! I can’t believe summer is halfway done, and if you are anything like me, you are probably starting to think a little bit about classroom ideas and maybe even how you might refine your teaching practice just a little bit more. This coming school year is extra special for me as I […]
What makes Te Whāriki So Special?
I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for over a year now, and each time, I put it on the back burner and somehow make the decision to write about something a little more ‘relevant’ to everyday teaching. As I sat down to finally hit ‘publish’ on this blog post, it occurred to me that […]
Play Based Learning – What’s the big deal?
Last week I had a really interesting discussion with two teacher friends about ‘play’, and in specific, the different kinds of play found at any given time in a kindergarten classroom. While at first glance, all play may look or sound the same (children engaged in meaningful and authentic activities, laughter, smiles, shared dialogue between […]
Three Ways to Create Meaningful Documentation
With fall transitioning into winter, and colder weather arriving in a few short weeks, we decided to create a documentation panel to frame our autumn inquiry. Naturally, we began the process by collecting evidence of student learning such as photographs, artwork, observational drawings, records of conversations and anecdotal notes to help us communicate student learning […]
Funds of Knowledge – Connecting Culture with Play
“Wait, no, we don’t throw rice over our heads!” I explained to K.S. a (JK) student playing at the sensory bin. Our sensory bin is currently filled with rice and alphabet letters for students to discover, and in theory, students would quietly engage in exploration and find the hidden letters, and perhaps even identify them […]
Expectations vs. Goals – Is it just a question of semantics?
As I continue to write my dissertation, I find myself increasingly interested in words, and in particular, their meanings, definitions, and the possible underlying messages they may or may not imply. Last week, as I explored assessment in the Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten curriculum document and Te Whariki, New Zealand’s Early Childhood Education curriculum, I […]
Can a curriculum be neutral?
Year after year as a kindergarten teacher, my curriculum document was (and to some extent, still is) the foundation of my teaching practice. I would use it to think about what I needed to teach students, how I was going to teach (grouping specific expectations together), when I was going to teach a given subject area. Grundy (1994) […]