Sharing learning is one of the things I love about teaching. I just completed a project within my classroom and attended a conference with the purpose of sharing and learning for others. While at the Teacher Learning and Leadership Program Conference (#TLLP2016) in Ontario, Canada, I met with Fearghal Kelly and now I have this platform where I can share with like minded teachers across the ocean.
My project revolved around the idea of having an outdoor classroom and how we could document the student learning outdoors. We have 30 students in the class and we have them for the two years they spend in the Early Years. They can begin at age 3.8 and when they leave us they can be 6.6 years old. In the classroom, I have a partner who is a Registered Early Childhood Educator, the RECE and I plan and devise an environment that we hope will engage and provoke learning for our students. We also want to communicate that learning to the parents; because who does the documentation belong to? Who is it for? So we use Instagram and Twitter to share our learning with the parents and beyond the walls of our classroom.
Instagram offers us immediacy. Our parents know what the learning was before they even pick their child up at the end of the day. They initiate conversations, elicit vocabulary around the learning and often contribute and extend the learning in their home, ready to be shared the next day. It affords parents the chance to comment on the learning and offer support for the next steps in the child’s learning.
We also share those pictures/videos with the child in a quiet moment and document their own words about what they were thinking, what their plan for learning was and what their next step was. Sometimes several weeks pass before we look at the picture and this gives the child the chance to reflect back on the learning and discuss what if anything they did to extend that learning. We also share that learning/pictures with the rest of the class. This is twofold; we celebrate the learning but it also works to inspire and provoke other students in the class.
I hope that we can connect with other educators interested in documentation and outdoor learning.