Let’s Make Learning Visible

I’m not going to lie. I’ve a bit obsessed with early childhood education that is inspired by Reggio Emilia, Italy. This obsession has gone on for about the last 10-12 years. I’ve read books, taken classes, discovered blogs, and even had the chance to teach an online course based on Reggio Inspired early childhood education. Well, one small piece of Reggio Inspired work is the documentation of learning. I’m currently taking an online course on educational photography and its role in documenting students’ learning. With Instagram at our fingertips, documenting our learning during this pandemic is a breeze.

Personally, I’ve been challenged to try new things during #pandemic2020. I’ve been playing guitar a little more, figuring out ukulele, reading and practicing oral storytelling through felt board stories, and (of course) I’ve been forced to learn how to be an online early childhood educator and learn all of the technology that goes along with that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’ve loved every minute of this new learning.

One thing that I’ve been learning has been exceptionally hard for me and that is watercolor painting. I started with Let’s Make Art in October of 2019, and I have painted every project they have sent me. I’ve even purchased a few extras to try out. I signed up for the subscription service. Every month they send you four projects to paint, along with supplies needed. The online tutorials come out every Wednesday on YouTube.

Now, I need to explain something to you. I’m NOT an artist. I don’t have an artistic bone in my body but I absolutely LOVE playing around with art supplies and teaching kids the process of art as a way to show your creativity. My classroom has just about every art/craft supply you can imagine and my kids are makers, creators, and artists. (Life in kindergarten, in my class, is a pretty happy and creative place. I’m missing school life a bit right now.) To prove to you how much artistic ability I lack, I’m going to show you a piece of “art” that went along with a model writing lesson.

This is the picture and writing I did to share some facts about my Sheepadoodle puppy. At least this guy actually looks sort of like a dog. Usually the older kids who visit our classroom ask, “Did one of the kindergartners draw that cow?” I have to respond and tell them that I actually drew it… and it’s a dog.

I shared my dog picture because I wanted you to see that art is hard for me, but I’m learning and getting better all the time. This brings me to my watercolor journey. I picked watercolor painting as something I wanted to learn because it’s pretty, I wanted to learn more about watercolor painting to teach to my students, and I wanted to support this small business. Some of my paintings are disasters, but many of them aren’t horrible! I was actually kind of surprised! Here are a few that I’ve done.

Some of those are better than others, but I wanted to share because sharing is hard when you are trying to learn something new. We all want to put “perfect” things on our social media, but as we are learning new things there is not much perfection. Sometimes, the paint on your sloth’s eyes starts to run together. You know what? That’s ok. I’m trying to be more Reggio Inspired in my teaching life, but I’d also like to be more Reggio Inspired in my adult-learning life. To do that, we need to make our own learning visible.

If you are interested in joining me, as we document learning on Instagram, I’ve started a hashtag. #makelearningvisible is the hashtag I use when I’m documenting new learning. I have used it when posting my paintings, sharing student learning, or even just sharing a display I’ve set up to encourage student exploration.

I’d love it if you’d join me! #makelearningvisible

Happy learning!

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