It’s report card season in Ontario. It’s also Communication of Learning time. There’s a significant difference between the two, and it’s this very difference that makes me always call what I’m writing, Communications of Learning, even if these longer words don’t roll off the tongue as nicely as reports. While I’ve blogged about the differences between the two before, this post is about more than that.
Not that long ago, I had a wonderful conversation with some colleagues about Communications of Learning. These educators are not Kindergarten teachers, and they mentioned the concerns that I actually blogged about last year during my first Communication of Learning writing experience. While I was overwhelmed with the amount of time it took me to write them in February 2017, looking back now I will say that the extra time is worth it when what we’re writing ends up truly reflecting the child. Imagine if you could write a report card …
- that doesn’t include edujargon.
- that doesn’t make you question if you used the right qualifier, or even need a qualifier in the sentence.
- that actually makes you picture the child in your head as you read it.
- that isn’t about what the child can’t do, but celebrates what they can.
- that can include examples such as climbing trees, finding worms, playing in the mud, and problem solving how to catch a bumblebee.
Some kids found a bee in the forest today. Is it a bee or a wasp? Lots of theories shared. They first think that jt’s dead, as it’s not moving at all, but now it is a bit. They trapped it in the bug carrier to look more closely at it. They even gave it some flowers for pollen and air to breathe. Really looked closely at it to ensure they were safe and ensure it was safe. I wonder if their calmness calmed the bee. Can we co-regulate bees? Hmmm … SWIPE ⬅️ FOR MORE. #iteachk #teachersofinstagram #ctinquiry
More bee observations and discussions this morning. Students were surrounding @paulacrockett as they decided if it was a wasp or a bee and why. Tons of theories shared here. Our forest space definitely leads to this kind of thinking, questioning, and problem solving. ❤️ SWIPE ⬅️ FOR MORE. #iteachk #teachersofinstagram #ctinquiry
Outside today, @paulacrockett captured some discussion around the bumblebee. What did the students think it was? What theories do they have about bees? Filip even asked some questions of his own. Some children thought that it was a wasp versus a bee, so they did some research with @paulacrockett to find out. Then Mrs. Crockett asked why they weren’t afraid. Interesting to hear their thoughts. It was also interesting to note that with the kids and adults remaining calm, the bee did too. I wonder if bumblebees might also understand @self_reg. ❤️ SWIPE ⬅️ FOR MORE. #iteachk #teachersofinstagram #ctinquiry
I know that our Kindergarten Program Document with the use of the Four Frames, and a Communication of Learning that does not include marks, allows me to easily put the child at the centre of the learning. It makes reporting truly about each kid. But what if I ever did go back and teach another grade? Could I come to love the Grade 1-8 report card format as much as I love the Communication of Learning? Maybe I’d be lucky enough to have some updated curriculum documents at my disposal, and maybe even less of a focus on marks, but even if I didn’t, I think that I’d have to find a way to merge the two formats. Nothing prevents teachers from personalizing comments, from including specific examples, and from making the wording parent-friendly. In fact, all three of these things are often encouraged. I realize that with fewer lines, smaller boxes, and more expectations, this is a challenge. What is possible though? We can let the problems prevent us from trying, or we can find a way to work past these problems. I’d prefer to do the latter. What about you? Imagine if report card time could truly become enjoyable for all educators.