tinker with text
Literacy-Based Maker Education
Today, I'd like to talk about models. No, not David Beckham for H & M. I'm talking about mental models ... visual frameworks. I love making and tinkering with models and charts! It's such a creative way to link ideas and create metaphors for your thinking. However, I don't believe models are static. We must make new iterations as our thinking and experience evolves and thus, the "turn on the catwalk."
As you may recall from my previous post, my initial model was of an intersection, where maker education was at the cross points of reading and writing.
But I moved away from this the more I thought about. Reading and writing are not on a linear continuum nor are they polar opposites. I see reading and writing represented by the infinity loop. These literary forms of communication are linked and recursive. We read what we or others have written, and all good writing is informed and improved by reading. Makerspace can then intersect this loop.
The model has evolved further. The more I think about it, all three elements - reading, writing, making - need to be woven together to created a cohesive program where all are equal players. Together, they create a new whole.
Then, Taoufik Nadji, an educator in my Twitter PLN, gave me one more thing to think about. He wrote that one of his Arabic language teachers "used the analysis of 1 verse (from a poem) & the making of a verse as the bridge between reading & writing. Hmmm ... a bridge! I like that picture too.
Which model or picture resonates most with you?
As a driver, you're very conscious of intersections. You pay attention, become aware. You yield or stop at these crossing points. In much the same way, I was paying attention to my own teaching and learning, and I was noticing that my students needed a more hands-on approach to reading and writing. (How often with the latest fidget spinner fad had I heard kids say that it helped them focus?)
With the evolution of makerspaces in elementary schools, I began to wonder how to intersect maker education with literacy instruction. I had been asking around my school if anyone wanted to collaborate in this inquiry project but there wasn't much interest initially. However, this spring, both the school librarian and the Learning Assistance Teacher (LAT) said that they wanted to come on board. We're all reading Make Writing by Angela Stockman (more about this in another post) over the summer and we plan to have a few planning meetings in August. I'm so excited!
As a reading intervention teacher, I want to integrate makerspace while teaching reading skills/strategies and acknowledging the reading-writing connection. I believe that each of these elements can be a springboard or catalyst for the next learning experience. The making, reading, and writing are all equal players. They are never meant to be the carrot or the stick; although, they could certainly be the hook to grab a student's attention and spur on new ideas.
My initial mental model looks something like this:
It's the intersection of these elements that has me on alert! I'll be watching and paying attention to how this new model for literacy instruction might change my teaching and improve student learning.