Learning Story Examples

Here are 8 Learning Stories for you to download, discuss, and offer to others in order to spread ever more widely the practice of pedagogical narration following Margaret Carr and Wendy Lee's exemplars of Learning Stories. This convention is one that I adopted to give a bit of structure to the final product; it was modified and made much clearer by Margie Carter and Deb Curtis.

If you want to see the source, I invite you to go to Kei Tua o te Pae at the Ministry of Education of New Zealand / Aotearoa. I recommend visiting Melanie Lynchuck's blog post, too, for enthusiastic guidance.

Josie Drips Down a Hill

I video recorded Josie as one of four children painting with tempera using the five color table painting setup I like so much. I was fascinated watching Josie on playback and decided to make a Learning Story. I exported the still frame images using MPEG Streamclip and cropped them to focus only on her. 

Priyankaa Draws a Smiley Face

Priyankaa Draws is an example of a story about a younger child photographed with a digital camera.


The Stuffed Animals and Fragile People Play

The Stuffed Animals and Fragile People Play is a group story that contains the full cycle of transformation: initiative, engagement, intentionality, representation, benefaction, and reflection in each passage. See The Learning Frame page indexed on the left.

Riley Visits Mateo

Riley Visits Mateo is a story told by a Mom, an early childhood educator, for a child who visits her son on a play-date. I included it to show other settings and give you a glimpse into my educational program for teachers called Connecting to Children an entirely constructivist, locally conducted, year-long investigation into how one behaves with children at the most fundamental level. To prove competence, each participant in the program creates a Performance of Understanding, one for each of the four modules. In the final module, D4, that performance is to create a Learning Story that begins with children's initiative and demonstrates the participant's attentiveness to either cooperation or perseverance.

Henry's Bus

Henry's Bus is a welcoming story created within the first two weeks of a child's entry into a program, center, home, or care.


Joy with the Marble Run (English and Spanish)

Joy with the Marble Run, in English, or Alegría con la ejecución de Mármol, in Español, highlights cooperative action, the kind of story when retold to the class helps develop a constructive, cooperative, democratic culture in the school.



Sascha and the Pattern Blocks

I offer this as an example of how a Learning Story is enriched, enlivened, and made meaningful toward the true goal of assessment, which is to attend to and document an event and turn it into a lasting addition to our culture. 

Jolene Brushes Paint


Here is a 1' 42" video of Jolene painting (below) which you can download from VIMEO, a 16 page PDF document (one picture per page without text) for workshop participants to try their hand at writing a Learning Story after watching the video, and the Learning Story below the video that Tom and Holly Koehler wrote and gave the child, with the same images. Our version isn't a "right" answer, since there is no correct way to write a Learning Story.  We are both educators who have spent over 20 years thinking about children's paintings. We all bring different perspectives to this work, which is precious.