Making Meaning

 Making Meaning

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In your role as coach and/or mentor you will likely need to help teachers understand how to make connects between the following three processes (a) making meaning of documentation evidence to (b) planning for goals and (c) learning experiences for children. After reading chapter six, and the scenario below, respond to the discussion prompt:

Imagine that you are a coach who is supporting a teacher who is observing her students during small group activity time. The teacher records a lot of dialogue (words and actions) of the children arguing about “the rules” for putting away materials. You ask the teacher to identify a question of interest for both her and the children based on what she learned from her documentation. The question is, “What are the rules (procedures) in our classroom?” As her mentor, you want to begin her inquiry with “backwards planning.” The formula you present to the teacher is as follows:

  1. a) The desired result for the children is to . . .
  2. b) The observational evidence of the children shows . . .
  3. c) Possible learning experiences could then be . . .

Together, you and the teacher decide to approach the inquiry the following way:

  1. a) The desired result for the children is to . . . learn classroom rules.
  2. b) The observational evidence of the children shows . . . confusion about routines and interest in figuring them out.
  3. c) Possible learning experiences could then be . . . engaging in experiences that allow the child many ways to hear stories and repeat, describe, and act out a sequence of daily events used in the classroom community, making signs that remind children of the rules, etc.

In your group response address the questions below. Groups are encouraged to share thoughts and options for answering the questions, and use the Chapter 6 Appendix A Form, to support your explanations. Each group member must provide potential answers to at least two of the questions and must contribute to deciding on the response for all five questions. As in the previous weeks, one group member should post the groups final responses and include the name of the contributing

  • How might you support this teacher in relating the goal to a professional value, standard, or competency?
  • What are some ways to support how the teacher might be more effective in this area?
  • How might you support this teacher from a strengths-based perspective?
  • How could the teacher gather evidence before and after implementation of the inquiry?


Supplemental Material

National Association for the Education of Young Children (2009). NAEYC standards for early childhood professional preparation programs (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from

  • This detailed position statement on early childhood professional standards is required for completion of your assignment this week.

Recommended Resources


Abramson, S. (2008). Co-Inquiry: Documentation, communication, action. (Links to an external site.) Retrieved from

  • This article clearly describes documenting a preschool inquiry and may help you in your discussion this week.

Servage, L. (2008). Critical and transformative practices in professional learning communities. Teacher Education Quarterly, 35(1), 63–77. Retrieved from

  • This article is available through the ERIC database in the Ashford University Library. This article provides information about enhancing the long-term effectiveness of a professional learning community by providing opportunities within its structure for teachers to hold open-ended conversations oriented to communicative learning. This article may assist you in your discussion this week.


Abramson, S., & Atwal, K. (2003). Teachers as co-inquirers. In Next steps in teaching the Reggio way, J. Hendrick (Ed.), pp. 86–95. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrill.

  • The chapter in this book provides information about how real teachers participate in inquiry in early childhood questions and may assist you in your discussion and assignment this week.

Buyssee V., & Wesley, P. (2005). Consultation in early childhood settings. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

  • This book provides information on the process for effective consult anting to educators and caregivers of children from birth through age 5 and may help you in your discussion this week.

Neumann, S. B. (2010). The research we have. In S. B. Neuman & M. L. Kamil, (Eds.), Preparing Teachers for the Early Childhood Classroom: Proven Models and Key Principles (pp. 221–236). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

  • This book provides information for creating customized professional development programs early childhood staff and may help you in your discussion this week.

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