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Meaning Making

What is Meaning Making? Simply Meaning Making is considering and discovering how your activities help foster deeper learning. How we do this is my analyzing, interpreting and asking questions about our observations. Asking what is happening, why it is important and what we can do to further develop skills. Meaning Making is also asking questions and wondering.

One way we can make meaning of our observations is by creating a learning story. A learning story is a chronicle of a specific activity or event and what we interpret it to mean. View the following example:

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Notice the elements of the Learning Story:

1) Images that tell a story

2) Action descriptions for the photos with direct quotes from participants

3) Curriculum Meaning Making that explains why this was an important event

4) Curriculum Connections that relates what dispositions or Holistic Goals are being observed

5) Curriculum Reflections that explores how one can further develop those Curriculum Connections

6) Curriculum Conversation that gives the observer a chance to speak directly about the impact this activity had on them and the children

Here is another example:

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A poster style learning story is great for digital forums like parent aps, social media and as well for printing and hanging on doors and bulletin boards. It condenses the reading and information into a bite sized piece that families can quickly take in. Try creating a quick, to the point poster learning story for the fun events you want to call attention to. Less analytical and more conversational focus.

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This learning story includes an important element - the element of wonder. What was the observer thinking and questioning as they watched the children play? What more information could they ask to better understand the play? What magical moments stood out that they wanted to record? Include a wonder statement in your learning story to make a richer, fuller learning story. 

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Meaning Making is about making your observations useful. However you choose to document your observation following up with an observation and analysis of the activity turns your effort from simply documentation and into pedagogy or curriculum development. 

Want to reference this article? Please use: 


Landals Hill, Robin. (2021, September 1). Meaning Making: Making Learning Stories. Retrieved from

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