Why Observe Children? • To provide quality early childhood programs. • To determine each child’s interests, skills, and needs. • To measure & learn about children’s growth, development, and behavior. • To make necessary changes to the classroom setting. • To identify a child’s special needs, such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc. • To make changes to the curriculum. • To determine how to handle problem situations.
Behavior of the observer • Do not talk to the person being observed. • Remain as quiet and unnoticeable as possible. • Sit down to observe whenever possible. • Do not interfere or get involved with the children’s activities. • Observe as an individual – groups, even as small as two people, draw attention and will distract the children. • If a child asks what you are doing, answer in a pleasant matter-of- fact way that you are doing schoolwork. Then look away. Do not engage the child in conversation.
Be professional • Observation information must be kept confidential. • Observations must not be left in public view. • Observations must not be shared with others. • Observations may only be shared during class discussions for purposes of study.
Recording your observations • Always record the date, time, and setting of the observation. • Record only what you see and hear – just the facts. • Record the facts in the order that they occur. • Observe objectively. Use words that describe the action, but do not judge. • Use 3rd person language. Refer to yourself as “the observer”, never as “I” or “me”. • Correct > “Johnny sat next to the observer.” • Incorrect > “Johnny sat next to me.” • Don’t worry about neatness during the actual observation—you will re-write the copy that you turn in for credit.
Observations have 2 main parts • Part 1: Anecdotal Record • Part 2: Conclusion
Part 1: Anecdotal record • AR for short. • Anecdotal Records are the documentation of observations. • An anecdote is a brief account of an event or a short story about an event. • An objective AR describes only what is observable. For example: Larry laid his head down on the big brown teddy bear. He shut his eyes tightly and lay very still. • A subjective AR example: Larry laid his head down on the big brown teddy bear. He pretended to sleep. • What a child is pretending in their mind is not observable.
An AR with just the facts of what was seen and heard: • Lindy walked to the dress-up area with Susie. Lindy chose the purple dress and blue shoes. After dressing herself, she stood in front of the mirror and smiled. She poked Susie lightly on the arm and said, “Look Susie! I am a princess!” • An AR that is subjective: • Lindy happily walked to the dress-up area with Susie. She was excited when she picked up the dress and put it on. She put shoes on, too. She liked what she saw in the mirror and said to Susie, “I am a princess”.
Be sure to write details into the AR: • who spoke to whom? • what tone of voice did they use? • what did they say? • what action word describes what the child was doing? • crawl, stretch, throw, cling, hop, poke, run, smile, sort, etc. • who was the child interacting with? • how long did the action take place? • what did the child do next? • what was the child’s reaction to someone?
conclusion • Gives meaning to the Anecdotal Record. • Allows us to interpret what we saw. • Always has these 3 parts: • Conclusive statement • Answers the question “What was I observing?” • Ex. Davy seems to be functioning on a 3-year old level. or Mom seemed happy while cooking.
Justification • What did you observe in the AR that shows what happened or proves the Conclusive Statement? • Ex. As shown by his actions, … • As shown by his behavior, … • As shown by his facial expressions, … • This is shown by…
Comment • Includes: • * your personal opinion about the situation. • * suggestions for what to do about the situation. • Begins with phrases such as: • “ It seems…” • “ It is felt that…” • “ It appears that…” • “ The observer feels that…”
Sample of AR and Conclusion • Wednesday, 2-6-13 6:45 P.M. Living room of Jones residence • AR: • Dad is sitting in his recliner chair with the newspaper and a cup of coffee. The cat, Mr. Fishypants, is sleeping on Dad’s lap. Dad sets the coffee cup on the end table and turns on the TV news channel. After 3 minutes, his eyes begin to close. He starts to snore. • Conclusion: • (Conclusive Statement) Dad seems tired. • (Justification) This is shown by his actions of snoring and eyes closing. • (Comment) The observer feels that Dad could benefit from more sleep on weekdays. It is suggested that Dad go to bed 30 minutes earlier each night.
To review: • Observe quietly. • AR: Write down only the facts of what you see and hear. This will be your rough draft. Always include the date, time, and setting of the observation. • Conclusion: • 1. Conclusive Statement (Short summary of what was observed.) • 2. Justification (This is shown by…) • 3. Comment (Your opinion andsuggestions.) • The AR and Conclusion must appear on the same document. They go together and lend meaning to each other. • Re-write the rough draft into a final copy for class credit.