Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Figures
 Literature review
 Research design
 Appendix: Permission forms
 Biographical sketch

Title: I document, therefore I am
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00100147/00001
 Material Information
Title: I document, therefore I am
Physical Description: Project in lieu of thesis
Language: English
Creator: Lovequist, Lindsay
Publisher: College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010
Copyright Date: 2010
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to discover how documentation within one Reggio Emilia and Montessori inspired kindergarten classroom might translate and inform the field of art education. The kindergarten class, made up of twenty-five students and two teachers, allowed me for one semester to observe, participate, provoke, and document, as they explored, discovered, and experienced daily happenings on their inventive voyages from continent to continent. Qualitative research methods were used to collect data throughout the semester to inform the development of possible strategies for art educator use. Specifically, data collection ranging from observational field notes, photographs, discussions, and current literature were collected and reflected upon throughout the field experience as documentation for multipurpose reflection. The study also inspired a classroom blog I developed to engage parents, administration, and most importantly, children in the use of documentation as part of teaching and learning methods, such as reflective learning. Strategies and dilemmas within the documentation process were identified, and results from the study are showcased through individual documentation of children‟s art and work for the teachers, parents, and children of the kindergarten classroom.
Acquisition: Art Education terminal project
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Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Table of Contents
        Page 4
    List of Figures
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Literature review
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Research design
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Appendix: Permission forms
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    Biographical sketch
        Page 46
Full Text









2010 Lindsay Lovequist


I would like to thank my parents, family, and supervisory committee for their

constant commitment and support through my educational journey. I also thank

Brentwood School for allowing me to participate not only as a volunteer and researcher,

but also as an educator. Special thanks go to the children and parents of the Brentwood

Kindergarten Class of 2010 for their generosity and acceptance.



ACKNOW LEDGMENTS.......... ..... ......................... ......... ..... ....... ... 3

LIST OF FIGURES .......................... ............................ 5

SUMMARY.......................................... ................ 6


1 IN T R O D U C T IO N .................................... .............. 7

2 LITE RA T U R E R EV IEW ............................ .. ........... .. ...... ... ... 9

3 RESEARCH DESIGN........................ ................. .... 21

4 PROVOCATIONS ............... .................. ....... 24

5 REFLECTIONS ............... ............................ .... ... .......... 28

APPENDIX ............ ........................ ........... 40

LIST OF REFERENCES.............. ..... ........... ...... ............................ 43

BIO G RA PH ICA L SKETC H ............................................. ................................. 46



Figure Page

3-1 Two Blogs Developed for Research............ ..... ................. ...............22

4-1 Change in Style of Blog. ............... ... ................ ..2......24

4-2 Photograph of Experiencing............................... ... ........... .........26

4-3 Sample of Observational Field Notes............ ............... ...........27

5-1 W leaving a W eb and Yarn as Provocation.........................................29

5-2 Ms. Davies Documenting our "Safari in Africa"............ ................ 31

5-3 Accordion Book: Maps of Kindergarten and Accompanying Box ...............38

5-4 Folio of Students Artwork: "Our Class Drawing"........... .... .............39

Summary of Project in Lieu of Thesis
Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Master of Arts



Lindsay Lovequist

May 2010

Chair: Michelle Tillander
Major: Art Education

The purpose of this research was to discover how documentation within one Reggio

Emilia and Montessori inspired kindergarten classroom might translate and inform the field

of art education. The kindergarten class, made up of twenty-five students and two teachers,

allowed me for one semester to observe, participate, provoke, and document, as they

explored, discovered, and experienced daily happenings on their inventive voyages from

continent to continent. Qualitative research methods were used to collect data throughout

the semester to inform the development of possible strategies for art educator use.

Specifically, data collection ranging from observational field notes, photographs,

discussions, and current literature were collected and reflected upon throughout the field

experience as documentation for multipurpose reflection. The study also inspired a

classroom blog I developed to engage parents, administration, and most importantly,

children in the use of documentation as part of teaching and learning methods, such as

reflective learning. Strategies and dilemmas within the documentation process were

identified, and results from the study are showcased through individual documentation of

children's art and work for the teachers, parents, and children of the kindergarten



After studying the early childhood education Reggio Emilia approach in previous

courses, I became captivated with documentation, a key element of the approach.

Struck by documentation's impressive nature and abilities as an informative and

reflective tool, questions began to overflow regarding the implementation of

documentation within the art education field, a field naturally favorable to documentation

by its very nature.

My mother has always said that as a child I constantly asked the question "why."

As I've gotten older, my questioning ways have not derailed and were further ignited by

my immediate passion for documentation. I began to wonder if documentation was

something American K-12 art educators currently practiced, and if it was in the same

way and with the same intentions that Reggio educators proposed. Through a previous

pilot study (Lovequist, 2009) asking this question to local art educators, results indicated

that art educators do document, but not in the same ways or for the same reasons. This

conclusion led me to my proposed research question, "What strategies can be

developed to implement informative and reflective documentation, like that of the

Reggio Emilia approach, into K-12 art classrooms?"

Throughout this research, the proposed question has provoked a number of

other questions to be answered. For example, what are the dilemmas with implementing

documentation in the classroom? How can one art teacher implement documentation on

a consistent basis where on an average day s/he might teach approximately six classes

of twenty-five students each?

To answer the proposed research question, I reviewed literature pertinent to

documentation in both Reggio Emilia and American education, and conducted research

to discover how documentation within one Reggio Emilia and Montessori inspired

kindergarten classroom might translate and inform the field of art education. The

kindergarten class, made up of twenty-five students and two teachers, allowed me for

one semester to observe, participate, provoke, and document, as they explored,

discovered, and experienced through their daily lives, on their inventive voyages from

continent to continent. Specifically, data collection ranging from observational field

notes, photographs, discussions, and current literature were collected and reflected

upon throughout the field experience as documentation for multipurpose reflection. Two

blogs were also developed as informative and reflective tools.

While some forms of documentation are currently being used in the field of art

education, for example portfolios, I question the intentions for which they are being

used. This research on documentation has contributed to wider debates about the value

of documentation by determining benefactors of documentation. With five approaches

determined, any number of art educators in the field have the potential to further their

professional development through the use of documentation as informing their teaching

practices, connecting to children's curiosities and ideas, and among many other things,

informing a broader audience of what is being learned through visible documentation.


The Reggio Emilia approach has been cited by Newsweek magazine as the best

approach in early childhood education, catapulting its popularity throughout the world

(Kantrowitz & Wingert, 1991). Throughout this research I reviewed countless books,

journal articles, and websites to discover that very little has been written about the key

element of documentation in an art education context. In this chapter, documentation

and its underpinnings in the Reggio Emilia approach are explored, as well as the

confusion and issues with its context in American education, words more frequently

used within American education that might appear to be related to documentation, their

similarities and differences within this context, and reasoning surrounding

documentation as an approach.

Underpinnings in Reggio Emilia

Carlina Rinaldi, the President of Reggio Children and Director of the Loris

Malaguzzi International Center in Reggio Emilia, Italy says, "Documentation is this

process, which is dialectic, based on affective bonds and also poetic; it not only

accompanies the knowledge-building process but in a certain sense impregnates it"

(Rinaldi, 1995, p. 70). This dialogue, Rinaldi refers to, comes from the documentation

that provokes reflection, learning, and self-assessment.

Nevertheless, documenting is more than merely explaining. Transcriptions of

children's remarks and discussions, photographs of their activity, and representations of

their thinking and learning using many media are carefully arranged by the atelierista,

along with the other teachers, to document the work and the process of learning. Katz

and Chard's article "Documentation: The Reggio Emilia Approach" (1997) elaborates on

the idea of documentation by listing six ways in which documentation of children's work

and ideas contributes to the quality of an early childhood program. The authors

encourage the use of documentation (through extensive record keeping and

observation of children) as a standard classroom practice. According to Katz and Chard,

the six ways in which documentation in Reggio Emilia schools contribute to the quality

of an early education program are: enhanced learning, taking children's ideas and work

seriously, continuous planning and evaluation, parent participation, teacher research

and awareness, and making learning visible (pp. 16-17). Effective documentation on

any educational level can produce any number of these benefits they have listed, not

only enhancing the quality of an early childhood education program, but potentially the

quality of any art education program.

In the Reggio Emilia approach, documentation of works in progress is made

visible on large panels throughout the classroom, keeping the memory of the work for

reflective practice, as well as acknowledging the children's voices as important. Panels

consist of collections of data, photographs, artifacts, written explanations, and so on,

thoughtfully organized to offer insights about the conceptual underpinnings of the

investigations and discovering what they signify. Broderick (2008) said, "Documentation

panels consider the ways that materials guide the thinking and learning of adults and

children and the ways conversations are shaped through the dynamics of inquiry" (T 2 &

3). Often, teachers and learners can collaborate in panel making. Documentation panels

have an interactive format and are often displayed in high-traffic areas; depending on

the intended audience, the height level of the panels is adjusted accordingly.

Issues Defining Documentation

There are sticky issues with defining the term documentation within an American

educational context. For example, defining the differences between documenting and

displaying can be confusing.

As previously mentioned, documentation panels are a major component within

Reggio Emilia documentation. However, how do we know the difference between

displaying on bulletin boards and documentation? The answer according to Brown-

DuPaul (2001) is that "documentation panels are educational and are not simply

attractive bulletin boards" (p. 211). Brown-DuPaul suggests that careful consideration

should be taken into account with balancing the message trying to be conveyed on the

panel: potential colors and materials, along with the photographs, children's dictation,

work samples, and observational notes that could potentially be used to create a

professional documentation panel. Carter and Curtis (1996) give further specific

recommendations for designing appropriate documentation panels.

A dissertation by Chang (1996) explains how documentation was conducted in a

classroom in the Vanderbilt Child Care Center, involving thirteen three- and four-year-

old children. Chang's extensive and prolonged participation, observation, detailed field

notes, audio recording and videotaping, collecting of children's artifacts, and countless

photographs were adopted as means of data collection. The data were primarily

collected from daily group sessions and used as documentation to analyze the

children's work. Their work was analyzed on a daily basis, as a means of devising the

appropriate plan fitting desires of children in exploring the next direction.

In my pilot study (Lovequist, 2009), eight local Gainesville art educators were

interviewed regarding their current documentation practices. Findings from interviews

indicated that art educators do currently use some forms of documentation within their

classrooms. These forms of documentation were identified as records for taking roll,

exhibiting artwork, and even photographing works for reflective practice. It is important

to note that these art educators were unfamiliar with the Reggio definition of the term

documentation and had their own ideas of what documentation meant and the purpose

it served. Purposes and benefactors of documentation were also determined. Four

benefactors were determined: the student, the parents, the teachers, and the

community, (all which Reggio identifies as protagonists). While a variety of answers

were given on the purposes of documenting in the classroom, most of the given

answers benefited the student. Two of the responses were beneficial to all stakeholders

identified, "evidence of growth, and making work visible to everybody" (p. 5).

Although there is no perfect translation of "documentation" within the terms of an

American educational context, Webster's Online Dictionary defines a document as

"something (as a photograph or a recording) that serves as evidence or proof,"

("document," n.d.). It defines documentation as "the act or an instance of furnishing or

authenticating with documents; documentary evidence," ("documentation," n.d.). The

terms "evidence" and "proof" beg the question, what are we trying to evidence? What

are we trying to prove, and to whom, and why? Though American documentation might

be evidencing learning, it is not specifically searching for an end result of what a child

has learned, but instead attempting to capture the processes through which children are

discovering and exploring. Documentation, visually and verbally, explains how children

get from point A to point B with every twist, turn, and loop in between.

Terms such as assessment, evaluating, and evidencing were not initially

considered, however throughout this research these terms consistently appeared and

are addressed in this section. Where these terms fall in relation to documentation can

turn into a game of semantics. Other questions arise such as what is "evidence-based


An article by Cooney and Buchanan (2001) argue for the transformation of

documentation of personal notes, into documentation that was made visible to children,

parents, and other teachers. The authors use documentation in what they call "authentic

assessment," assessment that is made visible (p. 10). They describe the use of

documentation as a means for assessing and recording student progress toward

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals and they illustrate this process with examples.

Although it is not mentioned in the article, this method is commonly referred to as

evidence-based practice, and has numerous meanings depending on the stakeholder.

Its origins are largely found in medicinal practice, and have been transposed to

education; it is commonly used within the special education field and in recent years has

made its way into early childhood education (Pring & Thomas, 2004).

Through my research I have found that the term documentation serves a large

purpose in the field of special education (hence the term IEP). Every child has special

needs in one way or another, whether physically, mentally, or otherwise. No child learns

the exact same way, or at the exact same pace. Unfortunately, unless children have

severe learning, physical, or emotional disabilities, they are not treated as though they

deserve special attention or that they are worthy of differentiated instruction. The term

documentation frequently found in the field of special education serves the sole purpose

of assessment; it's used to move children along a linear path for achieving

predetermined goals.

On the contrary, documentation can be far more than "authentic assessment," as

stated by Cooney and Buchanan, in that it goes beyond mere assessment into

something more informative. Often assessment is used strictly for teachers, and

administration, and systematically sent home to the parent in the form of a report card. It

can also be said that assessment in American schools is typically seen as something

done to students, rather than for students. However documentation by Reggio terms

moves beyond assessment by assuming the role of numerous functions such as

reflective learning for children, engaging parents in conversation about what happens in

the classroom, and informing the public of children's explorations and discoveries, not

failures and achievements of predetermined goals set up by teachers and


An article by MacDonald (2007) explores the issue of assessment by introducing

pedagogical documentation in five kindergarten classrooms over a six-month period.

Their goal was to investigate the use of documentation as not only a means of formative

assessment, but to communicate learning to students' families through tape-recorded

interviews, video, wall hangings, and so on. Findings indicated that the parents

interviewed found this form of documentation useful in highlighting classroom

instruction. In particular, parents believed that the documentation assisted them in

achieving a better perception of the processes used in the classroom and also

promoted learning supportive strategies for their children.

Rinaldi (1995) states, progettazione is "a strategy, a daily practice of observation-

interpretation-documentation" (p. 206). Similarly, Moss (2005) discusses progettazione,

the concept and term formed by Reggio as meaning:

...a flexible approach in which initial hypotheses are made about classroom work

(as well as about staff development and relationships with parents), but are

subject to modifications and changes of direction as the actual 'project work'

progresses. There is no place here for predetermined outcomes and linear

progression, but an openness to the unexpected and new thought by children

and adults alike (p. 27).

Moss claims that the Reggio approach possesses its own assumptions on evaluation

and that rather than assessing children against predetermined criteria, they use

"evaluation as a participatory and interpretive exercise involving teachers, children,

parents and others in the community, and working with the powerful tool of pedagogical

documentation" (pp. 26-27). He argues for making pedagogical (or other) work visible

and subject to interpretation, dialogue, argument and understanding.

The term "documentation" fosters a variance of ideas and disagreements, and

does not claim to search for a consensus among any group of people. Pedagogical

documentation is a versatile instrument and method for evaluation, but it is also a way

for educators to make inquiries regarding children's learning processes; it facilitates a

connection between theory and practice on a daily basis; it provides professional

development; and it is democratic practice that creates for a transparent environment

(Moss, 2001).

Comparisons of American and Reggio Emilia Education

Many educational terms that have a relationship with the word documentation are

loosely defined and often have intertwined connections. This makes it harder to define

them within the cultural and educational context of American society.

In the next section, I attempt to compare and contrast the educational

pedagogies and theories of Reggio Emilia education and its juxtaposition within

American schools. While there are multiple similarities and differences among many of

the American educational pedagogies, it is too complex to attempt to analyze all of

them, or any number of them in this project. Instead, I will focus on general assumptions

about historical American education in comparison to the philosophy of Reggio Emilia.

As a starting point, we must recognize the differences between American

education and the Reggio Emilia approach in early childhood education. While I

understand there are four models in American education that stick out as having

similarities to Reggio Emilia education (such as: choice-based learning, project-based

learning, theme-based learning, and discovery learning), I also acknowledge the

historical qualities of American education.

While philosophies and theories in American education have multiple ebbs and

flows of trends and popularity, there has been a recent attempt to move toward a

centers approach beyond early childhood education. Nonetheless, traditional American

ideals are based on individualized learning. Instead of groups, desks are placed in

single rows all facing one direction. Each grade level is designed to prepare students for

the next grade level, and eventually to prepare them for political and economic

competitive participation in society. Textbooks are provided for each student and the

teachers set a subject-centered predetermined curriculum. This is much like the method

of learning where children are empty vessels or sponges, waiting to be filled or soak up

information from their "all-knowing" teachers. The environment is often an afterthought

and parents are typically involved only during "open house" and during parent-teacher

conferences. The community as active observers is non-existent. While these traditional

ideals may work for some, maybe even many, they are contrary to the ideals of the

Reggio Emilia approach.

As stated in The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach-

Advanced Reflections (1998), founder Loris Malaguzzi and the community of Reggio

Emilia came together to create an approach based on long-term projects through

student-directed curriculum. Children learn through experiences as opposed to

textbooks and become co-constructors of knowledge. Reggio believes that children

have numerous languages to communicate with, not just verbally, but with drawing,

music, painting, dancing, acting, etc. Much trust is placed within the children to know

what is interesting and important to investigate and experience, facilitate and provoke,

because of the view of the child. There is the intrinsic trust in the teachers to know how

and when to guide, a belief in value, and trust in parents to play an active and informed

role within the educational team. Most importantly, children are viewed with respect and

become producers of knowledge, or co-creators of knowledge with control over their

own learning, as opposed to consumers of knowledge. The environment serves as a

third teacher, (as there are two teachers in every Reggio classroom) granting those

involved a latitude of improvisation, chance, and free play due in the creative process.

As has been previously established, documentation is another major component of the

Reggio approach, which allows teachers to become learners, as well as provocateurs. A

provocateur is "one who complicates the child's already complex thinking process,

expands the notion of operating within the child's zone of proximal development," (p.

273). Lastly, community support and parental involvement play a vital role in this

educational approach by broadening connections and the learning environment, which

is fostered mainly through documentation.

Rinaldi (1998) interviewed Lella Gandini on curriculum constructed by

documentation. Gandini, one of the world's leading experts on the Reggio Emilia

approach, said this about documentation:

Documentation... does not mean a final report, a collection of documents in a

portfolio that merely helps in terms of memory, evaluation, or creating an archive.

It is instead a procedure that is part of progettazione, and that sustains the

educational process (teaching) in the dialogue with the learning processes of the

children. Documentation is a point of strength that makes timely and visible the

interweaving of actions of the adults and of the children; it improves the quality of

communication and interaction. It is in fact a process of reciprocal learning.

Documentation makes it possible for teachers to sustain the children's learning

while they also learn (to teach) from the children's own learning (p. 116).

The term documentation has different meanings in different environments. The literature

reviewed has brought many reasons for documenting, and in the following section these

reasons are highlighted.

Reasons for Documenting

Documentation serves many functions but most of all it is used as a research tool

for studying children's knowledge processes. Documentation is about what children are

doing, learning and grasping, and the result of documentation is a reflection of

interactions among teachers and children, and between children. Hong (1998) claims

documentation provides a growing theory for daily practice. He also identifies other

reasons for documenting including, "facilitating continuity since new activities evolve

from earlier experiences, allows revisitation, making parents aware of children's

experiences and maintaining their involvement, promotes professional growth, creates

an archive that traces the history of the school and it offers a research orientation to

instruction," (p. 51). As Hong suggests, because documentation is done on a daily

basis, it serves as a medium through which teachers discuss curriculum, keep it fluid

and emergent, and develop a rationale for its course.

Documenting children's day-by-day experiences and continuing projects gives

importance and uniqueness to all the children do. It is through the documentation that

teachers are able to achieve insight into the thoughts of children, decide further

investigation for working on topics, produce a history of the effort and generate further


The literature review in this chapter provides detailed information regarding

documentation and its underpinnings within the Reggio Emilia approach, as well as the

confusion regarding its context in American education, terms frequently used in

American education that appear to be related to documentation, their similarities and

differences within this context, and reasoning surrounding documentation as an

approach. The literature reviewed in this chapter served as a guide for this project, and

for future explorations of documentation within art education.


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to analyze and evaluate the

application of the philosophical ideas of documentation advocated by the Reggio Emilia

approach in various ways. Research was conducted at a local private school in

Gainesville, Florida, in a mixed Reggio and Montessori-inspired kindergarten classroom,

with a lead and assistant teacher. During this process, a blog was created to document

experiences and activities of children's ideas and explorations. A second blog was

created as reflective practice, which was open only to committee members.

Kindergarten Classroom

Research was conducted over a three-month period from January to March 2010

where I observed and participated in a Reggio and Montessori-inspired kindergarten

class two to three days a week over the course of the spring semester. University of

Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval (Protocol # 2010-U-0026) was

obtained and letters and permission forms were sent home to each family (see

Appendix). There were multiple options for participation in the study including the blog,

Artsonia.com, and Voicethread.com. There were options for participation in all of them

with and without student's first names. An effort was made to not put any faces of the

children on the blog to protect the identity of all minors as required by the IRB.

Once forms were received, I examined the copious types of documentation used

(and those not used) in this learning environment in partnership with the teacher.

Additionally, I became a provocateur in the kindergarten class and kept a reflective

journal of my experiences. Interviewing children, making observational field notes, such

as detailed notes of conversations, taking pictures of activities and collecting images of

children's work/artifacts, and pictures of daily events, and were also a part of the role of

documentor and provocateur.

"Documenting a World of Experiences" and Reflections

During this process, two separate blogs were formed. One blog documented the

experiences of the Reggio-inspired classroom, and the other served as a place for

personal reflection of my experiences as the documentor. These blogs were developed

on Blogger.com and open only to particular audiences. The first blog mentioned was

open to committee members, teachers of kindergarten, school administration, and

parents of children in the participating class. However, restrictions were placed on the

blog allowing only the author to make postings. The second, a more personal blog was

open to committee members who were given site permissions and encouragement to

comment on postings/reflections (see Fig. 3-1).

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Figure 3-1. Two blogs developed for research.
Figure 3-1. Two blogs developed for research.

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Voicethread.com and Artsonia.com were also considered in conducting the initial

research. However, the blog was chosen as a tool to initiate conversation among

parents, teachers, and children through blurbs of children's conversations, photographs,

images of their artwork, and records of activities that children participated in over time.

The data collected from these observations, field notes, photographs, artifacts and

questionnaires, assisted in a better understanding of the needs and expectations of

documentation within the field of art education.


Letters were sent home to parents of Brentwood kindergarten children informing

them of the research permitted by Brentwood and the University of Florida, along with

parental consent forms. A deadline was given and unfortunately only a few of the forms

were returned. After extending the deadline and personally reaching out to parents,

twenty-two of twenty-five forms were returned.

Children without parental consent forms were excluded from any participation in

the study. Twenty of the twenty-two consent forms were signed to allow their child to

"participate" in the study. Eighteen of the twenty-two children could participate on

Voicethread.com. Fourteen of the twenty-two children could participate on

Artsonia.com; three children could participate only if it did not include their first name,

and five of the parents said no to any participation on Artsonia.com. Fourteen of twenty-

two children were able to participate on the blog; three of the twenty-two children could

participate with no first name mentioned, and five of the students with signed parental

consent forms could not participate on the blog. Participants/parents were restricted

from commenting on the blog site, because of administration policy.


Participating in this practical field experience facilitated a better understanding of

how one classroom implements multiple types of documentation and for multiple

purposes in a way that everyone involved is informed. While the Reggio approach is

used in early childhood education, research and findings helped to determine how a

teacher who sees multiple classes a day in a K-12 environment might successfully

implement documentation.

Blog: "Documenting A World of Experiences"

As photographs were collected, the class blog was developed and an immediate

visual dialogue was created. Formatting on the blog was adjusted as familiarity

occurred. The first few entries were filled with text and information; supporting images

were placed in the right-hand margin. After exploring other blogs for formatting, the blog

format changed to mostly images with captions and sometimes children's dialogue to

tell the story, as opposed to paragraphs and paragraphs of words (see Figure 4-1).


Figure 4-1. Change in style of blog, February 10, 2010 and March 6, 2010.


docuinenting a world of
experiences: nis. davics'and
ills. Walker's 2o I o
kindergarten class

documciainga world of
experiences: ills. davics'and
ills. walker's 2oio
kiadergarteii class

Because of comment restrictions placed on the blog, the "co-inquiry" aspect of

the blog was hindered. However, conversation remained active, and countless times

parents commented about the blog when dropping off or bringing their child to school.

The permission forms sent out had numerous options allotted for parent signatures and

check marks, thus making the forms difficult to understand, which could have led

parents to not want their children to participate (see Appendix).

Photographing the Experiences

Digital photographs were consistently taken throughout the process. Over time, it

became clear what was important to document, and what could be left out of the story. It

also became clear that important choices were going to have to be made regarding

what was going to be documented and what was not. This is not to suggest that some

things that occur throughout the day do not matter, but findings suggest that some parts

must be left out, while still being able to visually communicate the whole story.

Reflections on photographs suggest that sometimes the most interesting things

happen without spoken language at all. Instead it is an exchange of looks or gestures.

These photographs often communicate more information than verbal or written

language could. For example, when Ms. Davies gave each student wire to bend while

she read a book about an African boy who made galimotos, photographs were taken to

capture their little hands bending and twisting the wire (see Figure 4-2).

Figure 4-2. Photograph of Experiencing: Twisting wire to create a galimoto.

Observational Field Notes

As more interesting conversations flourished, it became essential to have paper, pencil,

and a clipboard handy at all times when capturing important ideas, revelations, and

conversations. Since children's ideas and thoughts shoot from one branch to the next,

being prepared in this regard was most beneficial when trying to capture this

communication process. Details were important, so to try and leave these conversations

to memory was to every stakeholder's disadvantage. In Figure 4-3, observational field

notes were taken of conversation and events that occurred while sorting caps collected

from the previous month. From these notes, interesting ideas emerged as more and

more groups' conversations were recorded. While different groups each offered

numerous ways to sort the caps, most groups ended up sorting them in the same way:

by color. Other problems and solutions were recorded as well. For example, when a

bottle cap had multiple colors or when they could potentially fit into two of the colors,

and not just one, children were forced to make choices, choices that would potentially

inform the next provocation.


Figure 4-3. Sample of Observational field notes from sorting bottle caps.

Artwork and Artifacts

Keeping track of children's artwork and artifacts was another interesting feat.

More often than not, educators are not able to keep students' original artworks, making

it crucial to rely on a good copier and scanner. It was also important to establish a place

for these objects when they are not being used for documenting purposes. Once that

home was established, these artifacts and artworks were often pulled out and revisited.

Through this experience at Brentwood, it was also interesting to find the number of like

artifacts that had been collected over the months from different children. This

observation sparked new interest and provocations with the children. For example,

numerous books and fans were made by different children and then given as gifts.

Unique maps of where to find imaginary friends and treasure were also largely popular

among the girls. These like artifacts might also have gone unnoticed if they weren't

properly kept track of and stored for easy access.


Before and after each blog entry, time was spent reflecting on that day's events,

and also on what I had learned from the perspective of an art educator. Through my

reflections, I established approaches and identified dilemmas with implementing

documentation into art education by identifying what to document, how to document and

tools for documenting, when and where documentation should occur, and whom we

should be documenting for.

Approach 1: Documenting Everything = Documenting Nothing

When considering what to document, one can easily become overwhelmed by

thoughts of all the potential moments that can be documented in one school day. It is

enough to make any future documentor hesitant. No educator wants to miss capturing

the right moments, but this does not mean educators should try to document everything

either. Essentially, documenting everything is documenting nothing because if

everything is documented, then nothing is important. In the same sense, what we

choose not to document becomes just as important as what we choose to document.

Confusing perhaps, but the strategy is to be prepared for actions, moments, or events

that are out of the ordinary routine (unless you want to document what occurs on a

regular basis). Be ready with essential documentor tools, even if it is just a piece of

paper and pencil. It is also wise to document anything you choose to provoke the

children with, to see where it leads. For example, when teaching the strategy "Weaving

a Web of Understanding," it became clear that children were fascinated with the yarn

beyond "weaving the web." Once we were done with the activity, the yarn was left on

the rug to provoke further interest with this material. It became important to document

not only when we were "weaving the web," but documenting how they interacted with

the yarn afterwards when they were placing bugs on the yarn, or carefully tiptoeing over

the yarn, and even picking it up and wrapping themselves in the yarn (see Figure 5-1).

Sometimes it is successful and sometimes it is a bust, but either outcome provides

information about what is being paid attention, and what is not interesting to the


Figure 5-1. Weaving a Web and Yarn as Provocation.

It was also important to make a habit of collecting artwork to make good quality

photocopies. Whether you have the time and funds to collect everyone's artworks, or

just a few for representation is up to the educator and the outlying circumstances.

Approach 2: Consider "How" and with "What" Tools

How documentation occurs depends on a number of variables; for example, the

age of the children, the grade level, and the needs of the children. Teaching children the

importance of how and why to document can alleviate some of the stress of one teacher

doing it all.

Traditionally, portfolios have been used as the art educator's source of

"documentation" of learning, but unless it is displayed online in a public domain who is

privileged to see them or benefit from knowing about their artwork? More often than not,

portfolios serve as a place to keep your students' best artwork. What about all the "in

between" of how each student reached those ideas and concepts? While art teachers

become familiar with what children are producing, they often can make visual and

verbal connections to progress attained (or not attained) by students. Why can't art

educators free that knowledge from the portfolio to Reggio-inspired documentation that

allows school administration, parents, other teachers around the school, and the

community as a whole to let them in on the learning that is taking place?

One might also argue that art educators and students already put their students'

artwork on display in art shows or in a gallery for parents and the community to see. I

reemphasize that documentation is about capturing the process and how students move

from one idea to the next. What conversations were they having with their neighbor

when they were creating these artworks? How many pieces did they create before they

reached the final piece? How did the ideas for the artwork evolve? Capturing these

processes of the "in between" is where the true story exists.

How we should document depends largely on the tools we choose to use. There

are a few essential tools that are a must for documenting. First is a pen and paper. Pen

and paper are used to jot down ideas that are brought up in conversation by any of the

stakeholders. They can be used to record important conversations that children have

with each other and yourself. For example, when we took a class "safari in Africa," Ms.

Davies and I had pencil and paper ready at a moment's notice to record conversations

among the students (see Figure 5-2). Pen and paper can also be used to sketch

different happenings and interactions between children.

Figure 5-2. Ms. Davies Documenting our "Safari in Africa."

Another key tool is a digital camera and its respective battery charger. A camera

is essential in making the documentation more than just words. The infamous quote, A

picture is worth a thousand words," is completely applicable to these situations. This

imagery captures what cannot be completely described with text.

Two devices that are useful, but not completely necessary, are a video camera,

(such as a flip video) and a tape recorder. A streaming video can capture happenings

as they occur in conversation versus a series of photographs and text to describe the

images. The tape recorder is also useful when conversations arise that might be hard to

write down quickly on paper. For example, on our imaginary safari through Africa, Ms.

Davies and I attempted to write down everything that was said on the trip around the

playground, which served as our jungle. It might have been more useful for one of us to

record the conversation with the tape recorder and the other to write down what was

said and happening and then compare and contrast afterward. A limitation of the use of

tape recorders is that the recorded conversation would later need to be transcribed to

be of any particular use with regards to documenting.

A free online blog site such as Blogger.com can also be an extremely useful tool

in presenting documentation to the public. A blog allows a consistent stream of

information and documentation while still remaining focused on the stakeholders. Using

a blog also frees up wall space for other in-class documentation. It also provides a

visual record of documents and events all in one easy-to-access place.

Two other websites initially considered for documenting student's artwork were

Voicethread.com and Artsonia.com. These online resources serve as containers for

information, such as documentation. With Voicethread, for example, imagery can be

loaded onto the site and voices can be recorded over the images as they progress.

Artsonia is the world's largest online web gallery of student artwork and can also be

viewed by stakeholders. However, Artsonia only allows the end product of the artwork to

be shown; whereas with Voicethread, any number of images can be used to create a

story. The ways which an educator could document are limitless; however, the

categories of analog and digital containers emerge throughout this discussion, and

whether one serves a better purpose or is more efficient depends on what is being

documented. Certain situations call for certain types of documentation.

Approach 3: Document When the Time Is Right

When to document is an important choice only you can make. However, you

should be prepared for documenting situations that you know will have sparked interest

and conversation. For example, would it be more interesting to document what the

children are conversing about when they are making artwork, or would it be more

interesting to ask individual children to write down what and why they are making

whatever it is they are working on? These are decisions that must be made on a case-

by-case basis. One important piece of information when it comes to making these

choices is to be happy with the choice you made, no matter what that choice was. At

any point we can look back and say, "I wish I did this or that," but trust that you made

the best decision at the time for documenting what was crucial at that point in time.

Deciding when you have spent enough time documenting is another precarious

question. It has been determined that one hour per day, five hours per week is a

sufficient amount for collecting and reflecting on data (through the creation of

documentation panels, bulletin boards, blogs, etc.). It could be done during planning

periods, during lunch, and even when students are diligently working on their art.

Approach 4: Consider Where Documentation Might Reside

Placement of public documentation should also be taken into account. You must

ask yourself: will it be at the child's eye level or the parent's eye level? Will it be placed

inside the classroom, outside or down the halls, or even near the front office? Is it made

public through the use of the Internet or available only to certain stakeholders? These

questions should be given consideration when attempting to implement documentation

in your classroom environment. Should every wall be covered with documentation?

Probably not: each panel or documentation should have its own designated area, with

room to breath. The goal is to highlight key findings, not overwhelm everyone with

information overload.

Techniques mentioned thus far are only a few of the possible techniques used

with research and documenting. Each type of documentation serves a purpose with

different provocations and functions, so the happenings taking place determine the type

of documentation you would want to use.

Approach 5: Document for Stakeholders

As previously mentioned in the literature review, stakeholders were divided into

four categories: teacher, child, parent, and community.


While the teacher is also the documentor, it is also the teacher who benefits

tremendously from this documentation. As an educator, consider that documentation

informs where to guide students next on their explorations. Knowledge of when to

provoke a conversation, and when to lead and when to follow lives in the documentation

collected. However, it must first be analyzed and reflected upon by the educator before

further provocation and meaning can be constructed. Documenting for the teacher also

serves as professional development and forces self-reflection on teaching strategies

and philosophies. Thus, if you don't document for anyone else, document for yourself.

Consider the blog developed for reflection on my experiences at Brentwood; the blog

and the creation of the accordion book both aided in the development of these

approaches brought about in this paper, and certainly they have both influenced the

direction of projects, and how I approach teaching and learning.


Most importantly educators document for the children. The approach of posting

documentation allows children to reflect on previous knowledge gained and to further

that knowledge by continuing to explore that subject; or to change their stance on

previous opinions based on newly constructed knowledge. Making children's work

publicly visible also validates that what they are contributing to the class is important.

Children know that their voices are heard and endorsed by their peers, teachers,

parents, and even the community.


The parent benefits from displayed documentation through documentation

panels, blogs, etc, by allowing active explorations not only with their child, but their

child's interactions and involvement within the class environment. This knowledge of

their child's explorations allows parents to continue provocation and exploration outside

the classroom. For example, as kindergarten uses their imagination to travel from

continent to continent, parents are able to see where they have been and what they

were doing through documentation on the bulletin boards and through the blog. Parents

were also asked to take travel journals for their child when they go on trips, to continue

the ideas and conversations. Parents are then once again identified as key stakeholders

in their child's education.


Not only do the children, parents, and teachers involved benefit from

documentation, but so does the community. When the community becomes aware of

what is taking place inside the classroom, they become invested stakeholders in the

children's education. Whether it is simply the school community, or the community at

large, these stakeholders begin to recognize that what children are exploring and

constructing as being significant and important.

Reoccurring Questions

These five approaches are useful in implementing documentation. However,

there are potential dilemmas with trying to put documentation into practice. For

example, anyone could easily be consumed with trying to document everything, when

we know that this really is not possible. Also knowing what is worth documenting for the

sake of further conversation and reflection can be a potential predicament. How do you

choose the work that will represent the ideas trying to be conveyed? What if it is the

same student's work every time? Other questions that might come up: Do I fill every

wall with documentation? How much is enough? When is it time to move on to the next

documentation panel? How much time should one spend being a documentor? All these

questions and more will arise at one point or another during your time spent

documenting, or reflecting on the documenting. While there are no set or predetermined

answers, using our intuition and our best judgment is often the best case for revealing

the answers.


Through this research a number of documents, artifacts, and artworks were

produced. This included an informative blog, a reflective journal/blog, folios with images

of children's artwork, and an accordion book that serves as a map of experiences

throughout my Brentwood research project, with five approaches determined as a result

of this research, all serving as documentation.

The blog "Documenting a World of Experiences" was extremely beneficial to me

as an educator. It opened the floodgates for communication between teachers, parents,

children, and the Brentwood community. It served its purpose of informing and

reflecting, and grew beyond that into something that further enhanced dialogue.

The blogs were extremely useful in reaching their intended audiences. While a

dialogue did continue with the reflective journal, the dialogue was frequently in person,

not in the course of comments on the blog itself. Since I had contact with committee

members on a daily basis, it was easier to have conversations with committee members

about my reflections than to wait for them to comment on the blog. However, this meant

that conversations in person would have to be maintained in my memory or written

down in note format. In some cases this would be a more natural form of

communication, but other times it seemed easier to get feedback on the blog,

From my experiences of serving as a documentor and provocateur at Brentwood,

these approaches and dilemmas were transformed into an accordion-style book that

serves as a map of my experiences from the beginning to the end of my journey. The

book relies on documentation as background imagery, while also informing the

audience of the previously identified approaches and culminating questions as its main

content. The imagery has continuity throughout, and details the class projects and their

influences on subsequent ideas and events that occurred. The dashed line is an

indication of the path less traveled as it is winding and twirling from the top of pages to

the bottom and back again. This is indicative of the paths kindergarten traveled, as it

was not always the fastest way, but the most informative and ever lasting. Time was

taken to travel from place to place, and many things were experienced that could have

been potentially overlooked due to time schedules and deadlines placed on projects

and schoolwork. These experiences enabled these strategies and questions to form.

This book is the visual pairing to the overwhelming time I spent at Brentwood as

documentor. At times it often seemed to be sensory overload, but in a way that wholly

engages the mind in learning. The book and its box serve as the eternal documentation

from my experience in kindergarten as a documentor and future art educator (see

Figure 5-3).

Figure 5-3. Accordion Book: Maps of Kindergarten and Accompanying Box.


For further practice in documentation, thirty folios filled with approximately twenty

postcard sized papers with the children's artwork on each card were given to each of

the students of the kindergarten classroom as part of engaging in reflection. It also

served to inform parents of our experience reading the book David's Drawing by

Cathryn Falwell. The folio contains information regarding the imagery and how this

imagery was formed. The front cover is a picture of "Our Class Drawing" where each

child drew pictures of what they remembered from the book generating collaboration.

These folios were handed out at the end of the year banquet which teachers, parents,

and children are invited to (see Figure 5-4).

Figure 5-4. Folio of Students' Artwork: "Our Class Drawing."

Questions for Further Study

Upon final reflections of this experience, further questions arose. For example,

how much did the parents actually benefit from documentation on the blog? Would the

results change if the blog were "co-inquiry"? Does analog or digital documentation affect

the outcome of the learning taking place? To begin answering these questions, a five-

question questionnaire for parents will be developed upon the completion of this

research, in hopes of discovering their take on documentation and if and how it played a

role in their children's education and reflection/learning process, as well as their

understandings of their children's environment.



January 26, 2010

Dear Parent/Guardian,

My name is Lindsay Lovequist and I am a current graduate student at the University of Florida. Since
the Fall semester I have been interning at Brentwood with your child's kindergarten class and it has been
an absolute pleasure! I am continually inspired by their thoughts, actions, and artwork. This Spring I am
continuing interning with Ms. Davies, Ms. Walker, and your child two times a week on Tuesdays and
Thursday. As you may know, Ms. Davies uses a mixture of Montessori techniques and the Reggio
Emilia approach. As part of my research on the Reggio Emilia approach to education, I have chosen to
research documentation as a resource for future art educators.

I would like to share a quote with you from a 1996 article titled "The Contribution of Documentation to
the Quality of Early Childhood Education," by Lilian Katz and Sylvia Chard, two American educators
using Reggio inspired techniques. They believe that documentation in Reggio terms comes, "in the
forms of observation of children and extensive record keeping, which has long been encouraged and
practiced in many early childhood programs. However, compared to these practices in other traditions,
documentation in Reggio Emilia focuses more intensively on children's experiences, memories,
thoughts, and ideas in the course of their work. Documentation practices in Reggio Emilia preprimary
schools provide inspiring examples of the importance of displaying children's work with great care and
attention to both the content and aesthetic aspects of the display." These two authors describe the
importance of documentation in every classroom. With your permission, I would like to capture your
child's experiences, memories, thoughts, ideas, and contributions, by documenting them through photos,
video, audio, and writing their own words and posting them on a class blog, as well as Artsonia.com,
Voicethread.com, and posting works on bulletin board.

Enclosed with this letter is a parental consent form that provides more information about each of these
websites and my thesis project. If you and your child wish to participate in my research, please read the
consent form fully and return it to the Front Office by Tuesday, February 9, 2010. If you have any
questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to contact me, Ms. Davies, or Jennifer Morton in the
Front Office at any time.

Most Sincerely,

Lindsay Lovequist
Candidate for MA in Art Education, University of Florida
Enclosure (1)

Approved by University of Florida Institutional Review Board 02 Protocol # 2010-U-0026
For Use Through 01-18-2011

Department of Art Education
PO Box 115801
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611

Parental Consent Form
Dear Parent/Guardian,

I am a graduate student in the Department of Art Education at the University of Florida, conducting research on
documentation strategies for future art educators under the supervision of Dr. Michelle Tillander. The purpose of this study is to
document the student's artwork, daily activities, questions and conversations to promote reflection of learning and encourage
curiosities about students' interests. The results of the study may help art educators better understand documentation as a resource
for further holistic learning and reflection practices. Holistic learning is a process of fully engaging all aspects of the learer-
mind, body and spirit. Reflection practices include analyzing or evaluating one or more personal experiences, and then attempting
to generalize from that thinking. These results may not directly help your child today, but may benefit future students. With your
permission, I would like to ask your child to volunteer for this research.
The participating children will conduct their daily activities during Ms. Davies and Ms. Walker's class. With your
permission, twice a week I will be documenting your child working and playing, as well as their completed work through
photography, video, and blogging, as well as using the classroom bulletin boards. A blog will be set up on www.blogger.com.
This blog will only be available to Brentwood administration, Ms. Davies, Ms. Walker, and any parents interested in participating
on the blog. If you are interested, you can add your email to the bottom of the form so I can add you on the blog. The blog will
remain private to parents, teachers, and administration of Brentwood, with the exception of my thesis supervisory committee.
Students' artwork will also be made available on Artsonia.com, a children's art museum, which is the largest student art
gallery on the web. Children's faces will not be photographed. Names will not be used on the blog or Artsonia unless permission
is provided. At any time you may access the blog and Artsonia to view weekly activity. You will also be able to view the bulletin
boards with your child's work displayed. Only video/audio recording and other materials will be gathered from participants who
have parental permission. Voicethread.com will also serve as a resource for my research. This website allows children's artwork
to be placed on the site while their voice is recorded over their picture to share the story. This research will take place beginning
the end of January through the beginning of April. Results from this study will only be reported in the form of group data,
children's names will not be used. Participation or non- participation in this study will not affect the children's grades or
placement in any programs.
You and your child have the right to withdraw consent for your child's participation at any time without consequence.
There are no known risks or immediate benefits to the participants. No compensation is offered for participation. Group results of
this study will be available in May upon request. If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me at 352-
895-5453 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. Tillander, at 352-392-9977. Questions or concerns about your child's rights as research
participant may be directed to the IRB02 office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611, (352) 392-0433.

Most Sincerely,

Lindsay Lovequist

I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily give my consent for my child, to participate
in Lindsay Lovequist's study of documentation strategies as a resource for future educators. I have received a copy of this
I voluntarily give my consent for my child's first name to be included in the blog. Email address
I voluntarily give my consent for my child's first name to be included on Artsonia.com and Voicethread.com.
I DO NOT give my consent for my child's name to be included on the blog or Artsonia.com.
I have read the procedure described above. I DO NOT give my consent for my child, to participate in
Lindsay Lovequist's study of documentation strategies as a resource for future educators. I have received a copy of this

Parent / Witness Date 2nd Parent / Guardian Date

Approved by University of Florida Institutional Review Board 02 Protocol # 2010-U-0026
For Use Through 01-18-2011

Script for Child Assent

Hi, my name is Lindsay, and I'm from the University. I'd like to document your
school work and art work by taking photos and video and then putting them on
a website for you and your mom to see. Ms. Davies and your mom said it was
OK. I will do this while you are doing your daily activities in Ms. Davies
classroom. Would this be OK with you?

Approved by University of Florida Institutional Review Board 02 Protocol # 2010-U-0026
For Use Through 01-18-2011


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Lindsay Lovequist is a graduate student at the University of Florida and has been

a Graduate Teaching Assistant since 2009, teaching the lab component of "Teaching

Art In Elementary School" to undergraduate education majors. She received a B.A.

degree in art history from the University of Central Florida. She has been active in

multiple organizations including the local National Art Education Association (NAEA)

serving as the Graduate Liaison and Early Childhood expert. She also served as Vice

President of the graduate student organization Art History, Art Education and Museum

Studies (AHEMS); and student representative for Graduate Assistants United (GAU)

and Graduate Student Council (GSC). Her experience includes internships at the

Orlando Museum of Art in the Curatorial Department and the Harn Museum of Art within

the Education Department, as well as local area schools in Gainesville, both public and

private. Her current research involves study of the Reggio Emilia approach to early

childhood education, specifically implementing the key component of documentation in

the field of art education.

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