Category

Documentation

Category

It was a rainy afternoon, long before anyone was really thinking about global pandemics and civil unrest. We were visiting my favorite art store, and I noticed this notebook on the clearance table. “That’s massive,” my husband John said. “What would you fill it with?” I didn’t know then. Now, I do. The first pages of this notebook document my work and what I learned from it during the last lesson studies I led in…

This year found me recommitting to the work of daily documentation as a writer, a writing teacher, and a professional learning facilitator. This was a challenging and even overwhelming endeavor at times, but so very much worth the effort that I made. In fact, this project was so rewarding that I’ve already created new intentions for my documentation practice in 2019. These were my greatest moments of professional learning, and I wonder: If you were…

October found me in classrooms in and around New York State, facilitating lesson studies for writing teachers at the elementary and middle levels. This is some of the most rewarding work that I do, because the learning that happens is the result of studying kids and teachers at work together. Everyone is a learner in the context of lesson study, and this makes a difference. Whenever I lead lesson studies, my intention is to design…

“I develop theories based on lived experiences, not existing theories.” Dr. Brene Brown Traditional researchers and documentarians deepen their learning by exploring the theories shared by the giants who came before them. They study professional literature, seeking best practices that they might test in order to meet their students’ needs. Then, they confirm or deny their viability. Often, the results are anything but unexpected. Grounded theory is different.  When teachers position themselves as grounded…

My interest in documentation began well over a decade ago, at the height of the standardized testing mess that so many teachers were talking about and in response to my own failures as a teacher of writing. At the time, numbers seemed to mean everything, and many of the people that I respected most in the field were suggesting that it didn’t have to be that way. I remember when Jenn first asked the question,…

I’d never heard of a coulee before I visited Monica Huebner’s classroom on my recent trip to Eric Harvie School in Calgary. “They’re a kind of land formation,” she told me, and I found myself struggling to process this. I’d just spent the better part of a week exploring Banff National Park, the Canadian Badlands, and the prairies in between with my husband, who joined me on this particular trip. Alberta’s quickly shifting landscapes–from snow-covered…

This is the third in a series of reflections made upon my return from a study tour of Reggio Emilia schools. You may find the other posts here, as I complete them. Print is one language, but there are so many others, and when we offer children the option to learn and communicate with them, the understandings and theories they share expand far beyond the boundaries that print creates. And it does. I can’t tell…

A few weeks ago, I was invited to join Lorella Lamonaca and her colleagues for a study tour of Reggio Emilia schools.  Planning this trip to Italy was a bit frenzied, as the invitation came on the heels of two quick professional learning sessions that I hosted for Heathcote Elementary School teachers in Scarsdale, New York. This event took place just weeks before their tour was scheduled, and I never imagined what would come out…

Two weeks ago, Laurie Schultz invited me to coach in her kindergarten writing workshop at John T. Waugh Elementary School in Lake Shore. I’m always grateful to work with Laurie. Her energy is incredible, and she sustains her compassion for even the most challenging kids in her care. She also maintains a high bar for her students, regardless of any label that’s been imposed on them. My Rationale:  When we met to discuss the mini-unit…

Last week, I had the great fortune to coach research and information writing in Melanie Jones’s kindergarten class at John T. Waugh Elementary School in Lake Shore, New York. We were most interested in taking the Next Generation English Language Arts Standards for a drive by diving into play-based learning and exploring the effect that it had on rigor. First things came first, though: we needed an audience for students’ work! Thanks to my vibrant…