tinker with text
Literacy-Based Maker Education
In my teacher research, I’ve found numerous articles and blog posts which affirm, inform, and inspire me. They affirm that this idea of literacy-based makerspace is worth exploring and that I’m on the right path; inform me in makerspace and literacy teaching practices; and inspire me to carry on and learn more.
One article, “How to Help Kids Innovate from an Early Age,” told of a research project carried out in elementary schools in Ontario, Canada. Makerspaces were funded and created in the schools, and the students were encouraged to tinker, explore, and discover. The children made projects such as programmable toys and green screen videos. Several important findings were that children were more motivated and engaged in their learning, they became independent problem solvers, and they were more likely to persevere at a difficult task while involved in the makerspace. Schools also noticed that there was a reduction in discipline problems and an improvement in academic achievement, especially for students who struggle in a traditional classroom.
Another article worth noting is “A Literacy-Based Strategy to Help Teachers Integrate Science Skills.” It made the point that many teachers who gravitate towards teaching in an elementary school prefer teaching literacy over science and math. So, the researchers looked at the elements of story such as tension, conflict, and resolution, and realized that those elements were perfect springboards for learning about design and engineering. STEM is all about problems that need to be solved too.
The third online “find” was a file of lesson plans created by the University of Arkansas, entitled “Integrated STEM Ed: A Collection of Elementary STEM Design Challenges Based on Children’s Literature.” One example is a lesson plan for Grade Two students about helping Franklin find his way home. After reading a Franklin story, children are challenged to design a map. In the process, they learn about directions, coordinates, measurement, and scale.
Which blog posts or articles have you found that affirms, informs, and inspires you to learn more about tinkering with text? Let’s share our knowledge and make creative spaces for children where reading, writing, and making are integrated and authentic.
Vicki Den Ouden is an Elementary Reading Intervention Teacher from BC, Canada. She loves to dream, learn, teach, and create.