tinker with text
Literacy-Based Maker Education
Don’t we all get more than a little bit excited when the sign at Starbucks says that pumpkin spice lattes are back? That creamy, dreamy, spicy, sweet coffee is as much a sign of a new season as colourful leaves and a brisk wind. What makes it even more special and welcome is that it’s only available at certain times of the year.
Teaching practices are bit a like that too. I’ve been teaching long enough to know that many strategies last for a season. The “season” may be short-lived or long lasting. Sometimes schools or districts have bought an expensive program that we are strongly encouraged to use, or there have been extensive workshops offered to train teachers. There have been times when the fit was good for me and felt as welcome as pumpkin spice; other times, I’ve endured it like a mug of lukewarm milk … it’ll do, but it’s not what I’m after.
I’m kind of at this point in my journey with literacy-based makerspace right now. I know what I want, and I know what it should “taste” like. It’s humbling to admit that it’s not working out the way I had envisioned, but I also want to be truthful and vulnerable on my blog. It would be easy to post colourful photos and cute anecdotes, but it isn’t like that every day. It would also be easy to give up and go back to my tried-and-true teaching strategies, to write it off as a fad.
So many of my students also have ADD or written output issues and it takes them forever to get anything done. I swore that I wouldn’t use the making as a carrot or a stick, but it’s so tempting to have something to hold back so that they get the reading and writing done. Or once we get started on a makerspace project, that’s all they want to do. It also feels like I’m trying to do too much in the amount of time that the students are with me. Add to this that my computers are old and don’t work great, and I still don’t have a CEA. So, I’ve put the making on hold till I get through my term assessments and reports.
My learning has had its highs and lows this season. For now, I’ll sit back and savour what has been accomplished; then tweak the recipe some more. I’m not there yet, and that’s okay.
Vicki Den Ouden is an Elementary Reading Intervention Teacher from BC, Canada. She loves to dream, learn, teach, and create.