Category

Documentation

Category

Interviews provide some of the best data we can gather about learners and learning, but planning and executing a high quality interview is often challenging. Whether interviews happen during writing conferences, at the end of unit of mathematics study, or on the heels of a lab experience, I find it important to consider four different elements: Structure, purpose, those questions that elicit helpful responses, and those questions that can deepen the respondent’s thinking. I recently shared…

Pedagogical documentation enables us to capture learning made visible and assess our students’ strengths and needs without disrupting the learning process. One potential anecdote to the testing mess, documentation inspires us to create rich narratives that deepen our understanding of learners and their experiences. This is a beautiful thing. Experience is teaching me that pedagogical documentation is also incredibly complex work that is not without its challenges. For instance, helping teachers and students choose the…

The Backstory: I’ve spent the last week helping Heather Bitka and Rachel O’Sheehan launch a brand new makerspace in Roy B. Kelley School in Lockport. This project began with solid visioning work that challenged all of us to think about and then rethink about what would happen in that space, how, and most importantly: why. This week has been an incredible learning experience for me, as I’ve tested new professional learning approaches and protocols while…

As I’ve begun supporting teachers’ first efforts to document for learning, this question continues winding its way through nearly every conversation: How do we distinguish learning from its products? This seems like a simple distinction, but experience is demonstrating otherwise. As it turns out, making learning visible rather its products is no easy task. It’s also no surprise when our initial efforts to document learning fall short of our expectations. Here’s what I’ve been talking about with western New York…

Teachers analyze different kinds of evidence in order to construct hunches that help them serve learners well. Clear answers are rare, but if we pay attention, we know when we’re getting closer to understanding the challenges learners face and better at designing solutions. The questions we ask often make all of the difference. Traditional research processes often begin with the identification of driving questions. Intended to focus our work, driving questions can help us define powerful pathways through the research…

I’ve learned a great deal about visible learning and documentation beside the teachers I’ve supported this year. Rather than lifting and dropping a handful of previously conceived best practices into their instruction, many have begun moving through action research cycles that look much like grounded theory. This has empowered them with new insight and instructional approaches that are tightly rooted in the learning and the work that their students are doing. It’s producing powerful results…

This week, I had the good fortune to meet with a small group of teachers, administrators, curriculum directors, and professional learning facilitators at Erie 2 BOCES. We spent the day discussing grounded theory, how to make learning visible, and how to use the evidence captured from documentation to formulate hunches and theories that serve learners well. This is exciting work that enriches my own practice substantially, and I appreciated meeting others who were interested in…

Over the last few years, some of the teachers that I support have begun assessing learning without interrupting it in order to test kids. Their commitment to documentation is leading to the development of far better interventions. That’s not why I’m blogging about it, though. It seems that steeping ourselves in this kind of learning isn’t merely increasing our expertise, it’s igniting our curiosities and re-energizing us. As we make our own learning transparent to students, our relationships…

I founded the WNY Young Writer’s Studio with two great intentions: First, I longed to create a lasting community where children could choose to write about the things that mattered to them in ways that were deeply rewarding. I envisioned a place where young writers would continue to learn from one another month after month and year after year, far beyond the confines of a workshop or institute. I wanted to created a place where…

1. Is your relationship with quantitative data exclusive? 2. Are you unwilling to recognize flaws in your quantitative data or in your relationship? 3. Do you dress your quantitative data up and show it off to impress others, even though you don’t know it very well? 4. Do you blame quantitative data or the assessments that produced them for your own shortcomings or failures? 5. Does your relationship strip you of your confidence or leave…