I've been thinking a lot lately about how to meaningfully incorporate making into the curriculum. I've also been thinking about how to document learning, not only for myself, but provide ways for our students to make the learning process visible to themselves.
I am writing all of this because I HAVE A PLAN (for our grade one students) ... and I don't know how and if it will work.
Let's begin with the expectations.
Our grade ones are currently studying the seasons in Science. The expectations state that students will:
How can we help facilitate opportunties for making across the curriculum?
I will readily admit I spent a lot of time on the internet looking for things my students can make on a budget. I found this post on wall art weaving and immediately wondered: how could we modify it? How could we use weaving as a provocation for writing across the curriculum? How could we use weaving as a provocation to get students tell a story of the seasons?
How could they weave their own story?
However, I still have questions. The video clip below highlights a teenage boy explaining why he likes weaving and what skills it helps instill. However, he makes a valid point that if a student is not interested in weaving - he/she won't enjoy the activity if he/she is forced to do it.
If I use this activity with the whole class, yes they are making, but are they making in the true sense of a makerspace? A place that encourages open-ended, hands-on exploration based on student interest and passions? Or at this early point in the year is it ok to introduce all students to an activity to help build capacity and skill sets so that there will come a point in time where we can say: "This is the problem/expectation? What tools will you use to show us what you know about the solution?"
Must there be a division between "making" across the curriculum and "makerpaces"? Ideally, I'd say there shouldn't be - but in the beginning of establishing a maker culture, I can't help but draw a chalk line because our students don't yet have the skill sets to know what they don't know. I certainly don't want to "force" our students to do anything they don't want to do - but it is an experience I want them all to try.
Am I wrong to want them to try weaving? :} I think in grade one, most would be open to this?
How do we shift the focus from the product of making to emphasize the learning during the process of making?
How do we make thinking and learning visible not only to us, as facilitators but to the students we teach?
I made a sample weaving project of my own to see if it was feasible; re-mixing and modifying some of the make writing and pedagogical documentation ideas presented by Ross, Laura and Angela.
Even though I did create a piece of work through weaving, I'd like to think that the woven structure is not the focus of my learning in the picture below. (Please also excuse the typo "of the trees" should read "OFF the trees")
Rather, the weaving serves as a provocation for my writing and my thought processes around my learning:
The reflection questions are not quite at the level of reflection as those posted by Laura and Ross, but they are a start - and something we can certainly build on as the year progresses.
(I think I would get the students to answer two of a series of prompts and build from there - eventually moving into multi-media texts)
I think this is a very important step to take in order to make learning visible in our classrooms. It is only when we make our students' learning visible that we can make informed choices of where we need to guide them next.