Opportunities and Possibilities: Developing a responsive curriculum

This assignment is made up of two related parts:

Part 1: Write a Learning Story
Important: This assignment includes observation of child(ren). In order to observe a child you need to obtain a verbal consent from the child?s parents. If you intend to observe in a school context, you need to obtain the teacher?s and principal?s verbal consent as well. Please explain that the observation is done as a learning exercise for an early childhood course. If you are a practicing teacher, you can observe child(ren) in your own classroom.

Use pseudonyms for the child and the school/preschool or other setting where your observation took place anddo notpost images of the child that you observed in your assignment unless you have permission to do so.

Organize an observation of a young child or a small group of young children (infant ? age 9) for at least 30 minutes. Observe and listen carefully with a sense of wonderment and curiosity – be open to surprises and the ?unexpected.? Collect data from your observation, i.e., written notes of what you observe, transcripts of children?s conversations, images/photos of what the children were making/doing, artifacts of what the child(ren) made, etc.

Reflect on your data and then write a learning story about the child/ren?s experience. Note that you are asked togo beyond a description of what the child(ren) was/were doing to hypothesizing about what the child(ren) was/were learning/thinking/theorizing.Hence, your story will be your interpretationof the child(ren)?s experience.

Examples of a learning story can be found at https://ecrp.uiuc.edu/figures/v9n2-perry/phones.pdf, and https://web.archive.org/web/20081014015941/https://www.educate.ece.govt.nz/~/media/Educate/Files/Reference%20Downloads/ex/ECEBk15/ECEBk15P18to21TheThreeFriends.pdf.

These examples will help you understand what a learning story is but they do not represent the format of Learning Story that you are asked to follow for assignment #2. Detailed explanation of the format for your Learning Story follows below.

Include the following sections in your learning story:

An enticing title to ?pull? the reader?s attention and to highlight the focus of the story.
Introduction: Where did the observation take place? What was the context for learning? How did the environment impact the learning?
What happened: Describe the event. What was the child doing/saying? Who else was involved? What materials were used, if any?
Analysis: What was the ?moment? that you would like to tell about in your story and why is it important to tell about it? Did the child(ren) learn something completely new? Did the child(ren) develop a theory about how things function? Was the event an example of empathy or inquiry? Did you see children mentoring each other? How was/were the child(ren) making meaning of what was happening? (Did they talk about it, built something with blocks, asked a question, drew, wrote, painted, or?..)
Reflection: What did you learn about children?s learning and about yourself as an educator from this experience?
Part 2: Opportunities and Possibilities: Developing a responsive curriculum
In the second part of assignment #2 you will develop up to three learning experiences that will extend and build on the child(ren)?s learning that you observed and analyzed in your Learning Story. What opportunities and possibilities were opened for further learning and how will you respond to them as the educator? The learning experiences that you design may include (but are not limited to): experiments, use of materials for construction or representation of ideas, formulating questions to ask the child/ren in a conversation, reading a book/story, acting out scenarios, field trips, etc. Think carefully how the activities that you design are RESPONSIVE to the particular events and child(ren) that you observed. For example, if you noticed that children who were building with blocks experimented with the concept of symmetry, what opportunities can you create for them to build on their understanding of symmetry, its use in architecture, art, science, etc.

Since this assignment may include images and artifacts it is difficult to put a limit on the number of pages for this assignment. However, keep in mind that the purpose of a Learning Story is to show a snapshot of children?s learning or to ?make learning visible? (sometimes Learning Stories are displayed in the classroom in the form of posters), keeping this idea in mind, plan for a concise and focused Learning story (the written sections for both parts of assignment #2 should be within the limits of 5-7 pages).