30 Chapter 2
In one photo, the boy is holding two pairs of
scissors, one in each hand, with thumb and
fingers through the holes.
He is extending his hands and fingers while he
holds the scissors as if to open and close them.
He is interested in examining the scissors to
understand how they work.
He is looking closely at the two pairs of scissors
he is holding.
He is skillfully comparing the scissors to see
how they work together.
In the other photo, the boy has two pairs of
scissors; one pair is at rest on the table, and the
other pair he is pressing into his cheek. He is
smiling. He is enjoying himself and feeling pleased
with what he is doing.
On a new sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle and label the left
side Descriptions and the right side Interpretations. Then use the chart to sort
your observation notes from the photo observation activity. Which ones have
the details of what actually happened? Which ones have your interpretation
of what might have been going on? Don’t worry about keeping the sentences
together. You may find that the first half of a sentence was an observation and
the second half was a reflection. That’s okay.
Recognize the Components of Observation Skills
To discover the meaning of an observation, you need descriptive details to
support your interpretations. Detailed information helps you discover pos-
sible interpretations and misinterpretations from your own filters and biases.
The more details, information, and points of view that you uncover, the more
options you can generate for responding to the children.
You can learn to observe the details. You must notice when you are inter-
preting and look closely for the smaller parts that make up the whole. When
you find yourself interpreting, stop and ask, “What do I specifically see that
leads me to this interpretation?” For example, while observing the child with
scissors in the photos, your notes may say, “He is being naughty to get our
attention.” Or “I’m worried he might hurt himself.” What do you specifically
see that leads you to these interpretations of his motivations or skills? What
in his actions, facial expressions, body language, or tone of voice are you
interpreting as naughty or unsafe?