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Visible Learners: Promoting Reggio-Inspired Approaches in All Schools

ISBN: 978-1-118-34569-6
208 pages
May 2013, Jossey-Bass
Visible Learners: Promoting Reggio-Inspired Approaches in All Schools (111834569X) cover image

Description

A progressive, research-based approach for making learning visible

Based on the Reggio Emilia approach to learning, Visible Learners highlights learning through interpreting objects and artifacts, group learning, and documentation to make students' learning evident to teachers. Visible classrooms are committed to five key principles: that learning is purposeful, social, emotional, empowering, and representational. The book includes visual essays, key practices, classroom and examples.

  • Show how to make learning happen in relation to others, spark emotional connections, give students power over their learning, and express ideas in multiple ways
  • Illustrate Reggio-inspired principles and approaches via quotes, photos, student and teacher reflections, and examples of student work
  • Offer a new way to enhance learning using progressive, research-based practices for increasing collaboration and critical thinking in and outside the classroom

Visible Learners asks that teachers look beyond surface-level to understand who students are, what they come to know, and how they come to know it.

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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  vii

FOREWORD x
By Deborah Meier

INTRODUCTION xiii

PART I: SIX LEARNING PORTRAITS 1

CHAPTER 1: THE YELLOW DOOR: TURNING PROBLEMS INTO PROJECTS IN KINDERGARTEN 3

CHAPTER 2: THE VERNAL POOL: SEVENTH-GRADERS INVESTIGATE AND PROTECT A LOCAL HABITAT 13

CHAPTER 3: GRAPPLING WITH GREATNESS: NEGOTIATING DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW IN AP LITERATURE 20

CHAPTER 4: THE AMAZING CIRCUS ACT: MAKING VISIBILITY PART OF THE EQUATION IN HIGH SCHOOL MATHEMATICS 26

CHAPTER 5: MEET THE DIRECTORS: KINDERGARTNERS STUDY THE BOSTON MARATHON 33

CHAPTER 6: EYES ON ENGAGEMENT: SUPPORTING STUDENT INQUIRY IN A FOURTH GRADE CLASSROOM 39

PART II: PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES 49

CHAPTER 7: MAKING LEARNING AND LEARNERS VISIBLE 51

CHAPTER 8: UNPACKING THE PRACTICE OF GROUP LEARNING 61

CHAPTER 9: UNPACKING THE PRACTICE OF DOCUMENTATION 74

CHAPTER 10: MAKING LEARNING VISIBLE IN AN AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY 95

PART III: TOOLS FOR MAKING LEARNING AND LEARNERS VISIBLE 107

CHAPTER 11: SUPPORTING LEARNING IN GROUPS IN THE CLASSROOM 109

1 Getting Started with Making Learning Visible 110

2 Looking at Learning in Groups: Classroom Discussion Guidelines 112

3 Considerations for Forming Small Groups 115

4 Entry-Point Charts: Engaging All Members of the Group 117

5 Structures for Giving and Receiving Feedback 120

CHAPTER 12: SUPPORTING LEARNING IN GROUPS IN THE STAFFROOM 124

6 “Throwing Your Money Away”: Exploring Group Learning and Documentation 125

7 Designing and Facilitating Adult Study Groups 127

8 Looking at Documentation: The Collaborative Assessment Conference 130

9 Creating Documentation for Public Viewing: Protocol 1 132

10 Creating Documentation for Public Viewing: Protocol 2 134

CHAPTER 13: DOCUMENTING INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP LEARNING 136

11 Documentation: When Does It Make Learning Visible? 137

12 Beginning to Document through Intentional Inquiry 139

13 Beginning to Document by Stepping Back 140

14 Considerations for Selecting a Documentation Tool 143

15 Guidelines for Shooting Video and Photographs 146

16 Making Learners’ Words Visible: Speech Bubbles 149

CHAPTER 14: ENGAGING FAMILIES IN SUPPORTING STUDENT LEARNING 151

17 Introducing Families to Making Learning Visible 152

18 Refrigerator Reminder: Five Ways to Make Learning Visible at Home 154

19 Making Learning Visible Family Survey 156

20 Involving Families in the Learning Process 158

21 Documenting Learning at Home 161

CHAPTER 15: MAKING LEARNING VISIBLE BEYOND THE CLASSROOM 162

22 Bulletin Boards That Make Learning and Learners Visible 163

23 Creating Exhibitions of Teaching and Learning 165

24 Anatomy of an Exhibit Panel 167

25 Zoom Guidelines and Template 169

ABOUT THE AUTHORS 172

NOTES 174

INDEX 179

PHOTO CREDITS 185

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Author Information

Mara Krechevsky is a senior researcher at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Ben Mardell, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Lesley University and a former researcher at Project Zero.

Melissa Rivard is a senior researcher and visual media specialist at Project Zero.

Daniel Wilson, Ed.D., is a principal investigator and lecturer at Project Zero.

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Press Release

June 13, 2013
Visible Learners: Promoting Reggio-Inspired Approaches in All Schools

Visible Learners: Promoting Reggio-Inspired Approaches in All Schools

By Ben Mardell, Mara Krechevsky, Melissa Rivard, Daniel Wilson

San Francisco, CA -  Inspired by the innovative educational philosophy that originated in Reggio Emilia, VISIBLE LEARNERS: PROMOTING REGGIO-INSPIRED APPROACHES IN ALL SCHOOLS (June 2013, Jossey-Bass, also available in ebook format), offers research-based practices for fostering learning in groups through documentation.  This approach was first developed during a long-term collaboration between researchers at Harvard's Project Zero and Reggio educators, and it asks teachers to look beyond the surface-level views of who students are, what they know and how they come to know it. 

When teachers implement this approach learning becomes a visible activity that develops students' intellectual capacities as well as their individual and group identities as learners.  Visible classrooms can be identified by five key principles—that learning is:

  • Purposeful
  • Social
  • Representational
  • Empowering
  • Emotional

Each principle uses illustrative learning portraits, quotes from students and teachers, pictures, reflections, and examples of student work.

“We are at a critical moment that cries out for 4 C's learning (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity). Visible Learning addresses this very challenge by offering rich examples and practical guidance for creating powerful learning experiences in our classrooms, schools, and communities." —Ken Kay, CEO of EdLeader21 and cofounder and president, Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Interwoven throughout the book are "visual essays," short narratives detailing classroom experiences that illustrate the principles and practices the authors propose via quotes, photos, student and teacher reflections, and examples of student work. These essays offer real-life examples to help teachers bridge the ideas in the book into their unique classroom environments. 

Additionally, the book provides practical ways to enhance learning by increasing collaboration and critical thinking across grade levels and subject matter. Also included is a section containing dozens of tools for making learners and learning visible, incorporating guidelines for the classroom and the staffroom as well as ideas for engaging students' families.

VISIBLE LEARNERS shows how observing and documenting learning can change the nature of learning, and increases collaboration both inside and outside of the classroom.

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