By Aleta May
During this week, I did explore how a maker space might look in my small classroom and how it might soon be connected to the library with a 3D Printer. I explored the idea of how students would make something to support a project or theme they are working on in their classroom. I found a very useful “Rubric for the 6 Facets of Understanding by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe Understanding by Design at: http://www.newtown.k12.ct.us/Portals/Newtown/District/docs/District%20PLC/6%20Facets%20of%20Understanding.pdf
This will be very a very helpful guideline for the evaluation piece of any project based theme or activity. It really helped me to focus on the overall structure for planning the rest of the project when I read Teresa’s blog post. She selected a theme and three standards for students to choose from. Then she used the guide from Martinez and Stager on pages 58-59 to answer eight questions regarding the structure and meaning of her project; from the purpose and relevance, to connecting students and sharing results.
Point number four on p. 58 state that “Children have a remarkable capacity for intensity that is rarely tapped by the sliced-and-diced curriculum” (Martinez & Stager, 2013). The way I have worded this many times to colleagues when I explain that I have trouble “sticking to the curriculum” is that in order to really reach students with what is in the text is to make those ideas come alive! This is one way I have realized that I am really more contructivist in my philosophy than I had previously realized. Many things have slowed this down to just pursuing very basic hands-on manipulative ways of helping students visualize math, or the elements of a story; and finding a way to get students to discuss a book together.
There is so much to learn by reading the blog posts of colleagues in this class!
Below are comments I made to colleagues in class this week:
Your opening statement rang true with me—“with a growth mindset and sense of adventure,” anything can happen. I’m in my home in Oregon for the summer and recognize the Legos comment as exactly true here—it starts out as a step-by-step kit, then it all goes into one big tub.
Wow, I really love the Lego math examples for building square numbers and relating fractions! How are the students guided to ask reflective questions in the contemplation stage?
Continuing new tasks that immediately builds on prior learning reminds me that we need to give students plenty of time to create and learn. One reason for this would be to solidify the original learning by using it again as a foundation to learn from.
I wonder if the Lego materials could add the arts ‘A’ to their repertory to make connections between Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM).
Check out this CircuitScribe YouTube link! I wonder how you could use this pen to draw out linear equations; such as for, designing a building in architecture. The CircuitScribe is a ball point pen that writes with conductive silver ink.
I think sufficient time is one of the most important elements of a good project. If a project is related to a class project, then sometimes finding a space to store the ongoing project can become another element – space. What about when students move in and out of a classroom—it is good to view other classes projects, but space can be an issue. Well—I found a design for floating shelves today at http://makezine.com/projects/floating-shelves/ Maybe this would be a solution.
Collaborating would help teachers see standards emerging in projects that the teacher closest to the project(s) might overlook. Emerging understanding is part of grasping that teachable moment. Maybe posting standards on the wall as a partial guideline for students to think about—going back to keeping students responsible for their own learning.
It really helped me to revisit the three types of projects for students. This helps me to answer questions about the teacher’s role as well. I am also a special education teacher. I think integrating making to improve-writing would work well. This could even be technical style write with bullets. Another way might be to express what they read by making a scene read about in the book, then dictating to an audience where a teacher or another student acts as a scribe for them (so they can rewrite this—seeing their own words appear on paper or as script to scenes they make). They could use the visual they made to help them know what to explain.
I notice that students really like to see their own stories hanging in the hallway. They seem to enjoy looking at other students’ writing as well. Laminating and binding them makes it into a real book. Your project gives me ideas, like using a prompt. I visualize your students taking pictures of what they make to add to their writings.
Such an awesome plan! Thank you for sharing.
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
I am so glad I read your post! It is organized so well. You pointed me in the direction of how using The Eight Elements of a Good Project from Martinez and Stager’s guide can be used in an actual project. Starting out with the standards for students to choose from was another great idea. I believe I will need to narrow my broad thinking now to one specific grade level (most likely for 9th grade students I will have that are on an individual education plan to help them create and write to a project in class with the curriculum they will be focused on; but allowing them time to work on this project way in advance of a classroom due date.
I visited the Makeymakey website you posted: http://makeymakey.com/gallery/
Wow, the project ideas are endless and very educational!
I found the Makey Shop. Here is a pdf file I found for making a game of operation that uses a combination of technology, like Scratch, foil, electrician’s and copper tape, chopsticks, and a cereal box. http://makeymakey.com/guides/pdfs/MaKeyMaKeyScratchOperationGame.pdf
Thanks for sharing your project and the site.