I thoroughly enjoyed the NAEYC conference in Washington, DC this past November. I heard so many great ideas and took many notes. I went through my notes when I got home and highlighted my favorites, underscoring the ones that I wanted to try in my own classroom. Bev Bos and Michael Leeman had a workshop entitled "The Pleasure of Discovery: Science in the Early childhood Classroom." Who knew that a science workshop would yield a sweet little nugget for helping to teach children respect for one another?
Bev Bos said she was not a big fan of all the photographing we do of children these days, noting that she feared we were turning children into performers. She suggested that photos were a wonderful thing however when we photographed behaviors we want to see repeated; i.e., those so-called "good" behaviors. Well, what do I want to see replicated? I want to see children:
- using their words rather than their fists and their teeth when they are upset with a classmate;
- helping one another;
- using the large blocks and other toys safely;
- comforting one another; and
- engaged in imaginative, creative play.
Bev Bos noted that photographs - used appropriately - speak more clearly and concisely than our own voices. She suggested putting large photos of our favorite behaviors around the room at children's eye level. This, I realized, would be a creative, fun idea to implement in my classroom!
I spent a couple of hours last week reviewing the photos I'd accumulated so far this year, using this new lens - is the photo showing a behavior I'd like to see repeated?
Would this be successful? I mean, would I actually find photos of children involved in loving actions? Or, just a bunch of photos of performers?
What an exciting and productive review this turned out to be. I found more than a dozen photos that merited being blown up and reproduced for classroom display. The photographs have been up for a week. Children have been very curious about them, bringing each other over to see them. I've noticed an extension of their play with several of the photographs - getting the same creative toys out and repeating the fun.
I'm keeping my eyes open for more photos to use in my classroom.