Documenting Student Learning With Photography

I love using photography to document student learning.  During our tree unit, I’ve been snapping pictures every time I get the chance.  I’ve been taking pictures of the kids at work, observing, describing, and writing in their journals.  One of our parents made a tree for our bulletin board and I thought it would be a perfect place to share our kids’ learning.
When the activity for the day is finished, I try to have the pictures printed as quickly as possible.  Then, I ask students to tell me about the picture, describe what they see, and share any new learning.  This time for one on one conversation really helps me understand where they are in the learning process.  Some kids are full of scientific facts that they have learned, and can’t wait to share!  Other kids use more descriptive language that we have been trying to incorporate into our Observe and Describe time.  Some kids look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language.  (Please tell me that I’m not the only teacher out there who know what this look is!)
It’s been a great process for the kids, as well as for me.  I enjoy hearing what they have to say! Kids are so curious and this really helps me figure out which direction we want to take in our unit of study.
 I became interested in the documentation of student learning through my reading about Reggio Emilia.  Someday… someday, I will go there on a study tour and learn more about teaching through inquiry, documentation, the environment as the third teacher, and the hundred languages of the child. Sigh.  Someday.
For now, Amazon will be my friend.  Here are three books on my reading list. (Although my hubby just reminded me yesterday that, “Just because we have Amazon Prime, it doesn’t mean that your books are free.  We still DO have to pay for them.”)
Happy learning!

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