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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Introduction The What and the Why DESCRIBING PEDAGOGICAL DOCUMENTATION When we notice and value children’s ideas, thinking, questions, and theories about the world and then collect traces of their work (drawings, photographs of the chil- dren in action, and transcripts of their words) to share with a wider community, then we are documenting. However, several levels of documentation exist. The process of documentation becomes pedagogical—a study of the learning taking place—when we try to understand the underlying meaning of the children’s actions and words, describing events in a way that makes our documentation a tool for collaboration, further learning, teacher research, and curriculum development. Carol Anne Wien provides insight into pedagogical documentation, stating that conceptualizing pedagogical documentation as teacher research calls upon the teacher not to know with certainty but instead to wonder, to inquire with grace into some temporary state of mind and feeling in children. (Wien, Guyevskey, and Berdoussis 2011, 2) The process of documentation is indeed just that: a process, rather than simply a display. We watch and listen carefully, paying attention not only to children’s play but also to their interactions with each other and with adults and to how they are using materials and their physical environment. In other words, we notice the ways in which the children relate with their world and what they think about that world. They may demonstrate their thinking through words, physical action, art, music, drama, and all the other ways in which children communicate their ideas—their “hundred languages” (Malaguzzi 1993). Therefore, we must be careful observers. We must also be discreet, so we do not interfere with their interactions. If we have been taking notes and photographs, then we have information on which we can reflect. In a busy classroom, it may be tempting to omit the step of reflection. When we skip this step, it becomes “the missing middle” (Stacey 2009, 66), that is, the all-important pause to reflect that informs our practice. It is difficult 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL