Documenting children's learning activities: Advancing professional development in early childhood teacher education

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Computing &amp; Library Services, University of Huddersfield]On: 05 October 2014, At: 19:23Publisher: Taylor &amp; FrancisInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Journal of Early Childhood Teacher EducationPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ujec20</p><p>Documenting children's learning activities: Advancingprofessional development in early childhood teachereducationDiana Currah a &amp; Margaret H. Cooney ba Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education , University of Wyoming ,Laramie, Wyoming, USA E-mail:b Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education , University of Wyoming ,Laramie, Wyoming, USA E-mail:Published online: 25 Apr 2008.</p><p>To cite this article: Diana Currah &amp; Margaret H. Cooney (2002) Documenting children's learning activities: Advancingprofessional development in early childhood teacher education, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 23:3, 227-233,DOI: 10.1080/1090102020230306</p><p>To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1090102020230306</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) contained in thepublications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representationsor warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Anyopinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not theviews of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should beindependently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses,actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoevercaused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p><p>http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ujec20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/1090102020230306http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1090102020230306http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p></li><li><p>Pergamon</p><p>Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education 23 (2002) 227-233</p><p>Journal of J?arly</p><p>ChildhoodTeacher</p><p>Education</p><p>Documenting children's learning activities:Advancing professional development in early</p><p>childhood teacher education</p><p>Diana Currah*, Margaret H. CooneyDepartment of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA</p><p>Received 20 May 2002; accepted 1 June 2002</p><p>Abstract</p><p>This article describes how our early childhood education undergraduate certificate program incorporatesdocumentation into the course content. We explain our rationale for choosing documentation as an entry point tolearn about the Reggio Emilia approach and how documentation supports our program goals. Then we discussthe process we use to teach the documentation concept including the guidelines and rubrics we developed. Theconclusion section presents a set of provocations that have emerged as we reflect on documentation as a form ofprofessional development. 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.</p><p>1. Introduction</p><p>This article describes how our early childhoodeducation undergraduate certificate program incor-porates documentation into the course content. Weexplain our rationale for choosing documentationas an entry point to leam about the Reggio Emiliaapproach and how documentation supports our pro-gram goals. Then we discuss the process we useto teach the documentation concept including theguidelines and rubrics we developed. The conclu-sion section presents a set of provocations that haveemerged as we reflect on documentation as a formof professional development.</p><p>2. Value of documentation</p><p>Documentation was chosen as an entry point toteach our students about the Reggio Emilia approach</p><p>* Corresponding author.E-mail addresses: dcurrah@uwyo.edu (D. Currah),cooney@uwyo.edu (M.H. Cooney).</p><p>because of its fit with the field experience compo-nent of the course and because of its potential forsupporting efforts of reform. Earlier we tried teach-ing the project approach and found that the majorityof the field sites do not organize their curriculumactivities around projects and therefore the studentscould not practice their newly learned approach. Wefound, however, that the mentor teachers are opento students planning two learning activities over thesemester that are based on children's emergent in-terests and that can be documented. Furthermore,we learned that documentation promotes our earlychildhood unit philosophy of promoting a strong im-age of the child. Assignments in our courses allowstudents to learn to see the classroom and the curricu-lum activities from the child's perspective (Cooney,Williams, &amp; Nelson, 1998). This emphasis on thechild's learning experience seems to provide the nec-essary data and motivation for preservice students torethink best practice (Katz &amp; Chard, 1996).</p><p>The documentation component supports pre-service student and mentor teacher professionaldevelopment. Students practice performance-basedassessment when they document learning associated</p><p>1090-1027/02/$ - see front matter 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.PII:S1090-1027(02)00140-X</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Com</p><p>putin</p><p>g &amp;</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p> Ser</p><p>vice</p><p>s, U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> of </p><p>Hud</p><p>ders</p><p>fiel</p><p>d] a</p><p>t 19:</p><p>23 0</p><p>5 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>228 D. Currah, MM. Cooney/Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education 23 (2002) 227-233</p><p>with their activities. Mentor teachers exposed to thisapproach see another way to deal with the pressure ofthe standards movement. Mentor teachers frequentlyask the student to bring the documentation into theclassroom to share with children and parents. Docu-mentation allows students to demonstrate competencewith various kinds of technology as they engagein meaningful field site activities (Trepanier-Street,Hong, &amp; Bauer, 2001a). Finally, documentation issomething students can do and like to do that ben-efits the entire college class. Each student sharestwo documented learning activities, completed in anearly childhood field site. Since placements may bein classrooms for toddlers through third graders, stu-dents are exposed to a variety of ages and practices.</p><p>3. Process of documentation</p><p>The experience of facilitating and documentingtwo lessons is a formidable challenge for the collegestudents as many have not planned or implementeda lesson for a field site classroom. The constructivistframework challenges preservice teachers to designlearning activities in which small groups of childrenat the practicum site are encouraged to think andexplore. To plan otherwise would perpetuate theever-present behavioral approach to teaching andlearning (Brooks &amp; Brooks, 1999).</p><p>Throughout the semester, students are invited toconstruct understandings of how children think andlearn through play and how teachers incorporate play</p><p>EDEC 3220: School Programs for Young Children</p><p>Rubric for Curriculum Assignment-lesson plan guidelines</p><p>Name of Student:</p><p>Date:</p><p>Directions: Rate the activity from 1-3 using the Likert Scale for how well it meets eachcurriculum guideline.</p><p>1 = disagree2 = undecided3 = agreeGuidelines</p><p>1. The activity allows the child to experience the concepts and to constructunderstandings about the concepts in meaningful ways.</p><p>2. The activity allows for growth in more than one area of development:cognitive, language, social, emotional, physical.</p><p>3. The information presented is accurate and credible according to the recognizedstandards of the relevant discipline(s).</p><p>4.and effectively now.</p><p>The content is worth knowing and can be learned by these children efficiently</p><p>5.meaningful choices.</p><p>The activity encourages active learning and allows children to make</p><p>6. The activity provides opportunity for the children to feel successful,competent, and enjoyment of learning.</p><p>7. The assessment procedure is based on the concepts being introduced orreinforced in the activity.</p><p>8. The assessment procedure occurs as part of the ongoing life of the classroomrather than in an artificial, contrived context.</p><p>Fig. 1.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Com</p><p>putin</p><p>g &amp;</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p> Ser</p><p>vice</p><p>s, U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> of </p><p>Hud</p><p>ders</p><p>fiel</p><p>d] a</p><p>t 19:</p><p>23 0</p><p>5 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>D. Currah, M.H. Cooney/Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education 23 (2002) 227-233 229</p><p>into early childhood classroom activities. Studentsread and analyze The Girl with the Brown Crayon(Paley, 1998), and a selection of articles to identifyand implement developmentally appropriate curricu-lum practices. The readings are organized around acontent rich curriculum that affirms diversity and isplay oriented.</p><p>Readings provide a framework about play andcurriculum. In addition, students journal and writeanecdotal records that reflect on their practicumclassroom community and that provide an informalassessment. Journaling for 4 weeks and recordinganecdotal records for another 4 weeks allows studentsto consider the image of the child. These informal as-</p><p>sessments help students identify developmental levelsand interests of the child in order to plan a lesson.</p><p>As students become comfortable in their class-rooms, they plan their first lesson. The lesson planguidelines are shown in Fig. 1. As a scaffold forlesson planning, small groups of college studentsevaluate an exemplar lesson that follows guidelinesfor a developmentally appropriate curriculum activity(modified from Bredekamp &amp; Rosegrant, 1992). Ide-ally, lessons are designed for small groups or centerswithin the classroom. Negotiations with the classroomteacher and the college teacher begin a long draft les-son process that demands students practice their rolesof observer, researcher, planner, communicator, and</p><p>EDEC 3220: School Programs for Young Children</p><p>Rubric for Curriculum Assignment documentation</p><p>Name of Student:</p><p>Points:</p><p>1. Does it show the process from the beginning to the end, including thesource of the idea?</p><p>2. Does it reflect the children's thinking about the concepts related to the lesson,for example, it includes children's quotations from discussion, or children'sdrawing with their explanations, or children's expression of ideas during otherchild-centered activities.</p><p>3. Does it include a completed assessment procedure. (Curriculum assignmentevaluation formitems 2 &amp; 3 filled out by mentor teacher and all itemsevaluated by you.)</p><p>4. Is it neatly displayed?</p><p>5. Can children and parents follow it?</p><p>6. Does it contain a reflection on what was learned from and about the children?</p><p>7. Does it state grade level standards met through the activity?</p><p>Fig. 2.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Com</p><p>putin</p><p>g &amp;</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p> Ser</p><p>vice</p><p>s, U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> of </p><p>Hud</p><p>ders</p><p>fiel</p><p>d] a</p><p>t 19:</p><p>23 0</p><p>5 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>230 D. Currah, MM. Cooney / Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education 23 (2002) 227-233</p><p>collaborator (Trepanier-Street, Hong, &amp; Donegan,2001b).</p><p>College students select specific documentationand implementation strategies that meet the doc-umentation rubric criteria (see Fig. 2). The docu-mentation product is important because it allowsstudents to revisit their lesson in order to analyze itseffectiveness and to model reflective practice. In thiscourse, documentation takes many forms; panels andportfolio-style notebooks are most often used. Animportant component in learning about the conceptof documentation is a workshop in which formerstudents, jointly with the instructor, scaffold currentstudents. Students proudly share their products andexperiences of the previous semester. For example,Colleen shared her K/1 learning activity about thesense of touch. As the children explored each sen-sory object, she reported, "They called out words</p><p>to characterize how it felt, such as "softly, robrry,and skrachy." Colleen said she suggested they writethe word directly on a large piece of butcher paperand encouraged them to use invented spelling (seeFig. 3). Colleen talked about her successful strategyof getting the children to spell the words by sound-ing them out. She shared that her learning activityaddressed several literacy and science standards.</p><p>Shebree, another college student who shared herdocumentation from the previous semester, showedthe large "book" she made to document her lesson.Using children's literature as a starting point for herkindergarten activity, Shebree read Flying on Tues-days, and engaged the students in dialogue around an-imals that fly. She implemented a follow up drawingactivity. Shebree described how the children sharedthe documentation book with their parents until it wasworn thin. Current college students gain confidence</p><p>Fig. 3.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Com</p><p>putin</p><p>g &amp;</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p> Ser</p><p>vice</p><p>s, U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> of </p><p>Hud</p><p>ders</p><p>fiel</p><p>d] a</p><p>t 19:</p><p>23 0</p><p>5 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>D. Currah, M.H. Cooney /Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education 23 (2002) 227-233 231</p><p>from the workshop and use their newfound awarenessof documentation along with the rubric to plan theirfirst play-based activity.</p><p>We are fortunate to work with a pre-kindergartenteacher in a lab school who routinely documents herclassroom curriculum. The walls in the long hallwayoutside of Cleta Booth's classroom are filled withchildren's voices, representations, and images alongwith Cleta's explanatory notes. Students from our</p><p>early childhood course take a fieldtrip to understandthe "big picture" of documentation in a visit to thecampus pre-kindergarten classroom. See Fig. 4.</p><p>Through these modeling experiences, students be-gin to understand how to illustrate the learning pro-cess from beginning to end in a way that reflectsthe image of the child. Students must be preparedto record and photograph the lesson from the onset.They enlist the assistance of the practicum teacher</p><p>Fig. 4.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Com</p><p>putin</p><p>g &amp;</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p> Ser</p><p>vice</p><p>s, U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> of </p><p>Hud</p><p>ders</p><p>fiel</p><p>d] a</p><p>t 19:</p><p>23 0</p><p>5 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>232 D. Currah, M.H. Cooney /Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education 23 (2002) 227-233</p><p>or a friend in the classroom to record the lesson.Children's drawings, explanations and expressions ofideas are all valuable artifacts that can document theactivity.</p><p>One of the documentation rubric criteria requiresstudents to reflect on their lesson. In the followingquote, Holly reflects on her learning activity with tod-dlers (see Fig. 5) in which they drove vehicles throughpuddles of paint on a large piece of butcher papertaped to a table.</p><p>When working with 2-year-old, it is important tokeep in...</p></li></ul>

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