I'll admit it--my blogging boundaries are confused. These photos should technically go on my Art Smart Parent blog because they were taken yesterday while I was doing "art smart parent" kinds of things all day. But, posting these photos on this "personal" blog is the perfect example of how documenting and reflecting upon the work of students spills over into other areas of my life.
In the last few months, I have discovered that I love photographing "education"-- especially good, exciting, innovative, and relevant education. With practice, I think I'm getting better at it, too. When I take photos, document, think about, and bear witness to what is good in education, it helps me hope for the future. It helps me see that change is happening every day-- even when it seems to move at a snail's pace and is surrounded by frustrating challenges. It helps me envision a day when the relentless, bubble tests of today will be replaced with creative assessments that take into account all kinds of learning, problem solving, and multiple intelligences. It helps share crucial stories-- through images and words-- about education with others.
Documentation is really just a fancy word for "recording a story." The story might be highly technical as in a computer manual or library catalog record. The story might be without words but rich with images as in a portfolio for an artist or a brochure for an exhibit. The story might be records for a state agency or it might be a wall of artwork and writing on display from a third grade class. The story might be a stunning picture book of poetry or an historical novel about slavery during the Revolutionary War. Whatever form it takes, documentation can be a tool for discovering our history, recording the present, and looking towards the future. At least, this is what it is for me, and it is integral to my joyful work as a parent, a teacher/learner, and a citizen who cares deeply about the education of all children.