This is a way to focus your thinking. Finding titles for your ‘noticings’ may be part of your organisational strategy for formative assessment, an attempt to understand more about pedagogical documentation, or a chance to analyse everyday interactions in order to be better informed about the children in your care. This strategy ‘lifts the bar’ on traditional ‘observations’ and ‘anecdotal records’– both of which are expected early childhood professional practice.
So, what are we talking about? Let’s say you have been intrigued by the way a reticent child is beginning to hover around the edge of vivacious play events or a small group has begun to make signs to go with their block-built roadworks. In order to remember the incident in the middle of a busy morning, you’ve made some quick notes in a pocket notebook, on your phone’s note page, on the iPad that captured the event, or on a handy Post-It note. Considering your notes later, you might be inclined to take a curriculum perspective, ticking off the first encounter as an example of socio-emotional growth, and the second as functional mark-making/literacy development. Both steps might help build up a portfolio, or your ‘picture’ of a child or of several children.
Perhaps having seen a similar situation unfolding later in the week, you want to acknowledge the importance of what you’re seeing, to be able to discuss with the children, your colleagues, and the family. Putting a ‘handle’ on the noticings strengthens the content of what you are hoping to highlight. Finding what’s important can help you ‘title’ your notes. A two-part title can include something interesting/inviting (maybe something a child has said) and something more explanatory/informative. So, with these scenarios, you might start with ‘Watching closely: Learning how to join the play’ for the first example, and ‘Making road signs: Seeing purpose in print’ for the second.
Titles can be in any order and they can’t be wrong! They can just be more or less effective in capturing the essence. You can try a new title when you see the play evolving – perhaps ‘Can I play? Finding ways to join in!’. Share with a friend – see if it your idea makes sense to them. Give it a try!