How Can We Think about an Ontario Lens on Learning Stories?

The work of New Zealand educational thinker Margaret Carr has long inspired me. Her ideas on assessment as valuing have made an enduring impression on my thinking about what I do in my practice in regards to assessment.

As I have been reflecting on our new Ontario Kindergarten curriculum, I have been thinking about how it impacts my collection of assessment. How can I create a means of collecting assessment that honours the child, that values them?  How do I capture the full spectrum and richness of learning that occurs in so many instances throughout our days?

I am intrigued by learning stories, as discussed by Margaret Carr in her book  Learning Stories: Constructing Learner Identities in Early Education, as perhaps providing a holistic means of collecting this assessment within the scope of our new curriculum. As I studied the new document, the templates in the examples throughout Margaret Carr’s book came to mind. They allowed for a comprehensive and inclusive means of retelling an event of learning and provided, as well, a means of highlighting benchmarks or goals alongside it.

I wondered how such a format would look using the four frames of the new curriculum and created the template below. I have been using these stories to gather in-depth stories of learning that occur within my classroom. It is not for every instance. It does not happen every day. In many cases, I am making quick anecdotal notes instead and amassing untold quantities of photos. However, for those times that occur that are rich in learning and complexity and potential, and I want to capture that event in more detail, this format is proving effective.

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Written by Sandra Rosekat

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2 thoughts on “How Can We Think about an Ontario Lens on Learning Stories?

  1. Thanks, Sandra, for sharing your thinking and template with us. It really got me thinking! I played around with your original template a bit and created different options that first record the story, then my reflections including my theories about the learning happening as well as theories the children were exploring. Looking at the curriculum/4 Frames is last on my template. I did this because of past conversations with Reggio colleagues, and in particular something said about the expectations limiting our view if we look only through that lens. That really resonated with me and is something that I go back to again and again. Not that we don’t consider the curriculum, but perhaps that we don’t necessarily consider it first, but rather as we observe, document and reflect on learning, the curriculum is uncovered. I wonder if our approach is similar and the visuals we created just look different. Thanks for inspiring me today! 🙂
    Nancy

    1. Thank you for sharing your thinking on this Nancy. And I definitely agree with you about reflecting first on our own and the children’s learning and theories. I generally write this in the Learning Story section of my template. I like your idea of having this as a separate area. I think part of my aim with this template, was to create a clear means of collecting assessment that forms a link between documentation, as so many of us are trying to do in K, and report cards. Thanks again for your thoughts! Sandra

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