The Maker Movement is growing in popularity (see The Best Resources For Learning About The “Maker Movement” — Help Me Find More).
Teachers of English Language Learners have certainly incorporated “maker” strategies for years — for example, I have had students create simple musical instruments (see The Best Sites For Ideas On Making Simple Musical Instruments).
But a post about string telephones by Ana Maria Menezes (shared by Roseli Serra) got me wondering how other teachers of English Language Learners use “maker” strategies with their students.
In case you’re not familiar with The Maker Movement, and don’t feel like going to the previously mentioned “Best” list to learn about it, here’s a simple description form Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez from their book about it:
The best way to activate your classroom is for your students to make something. This might an amazing high-tech invention or it might take the form of costumes for a historical reenactment, homemade math manipulatives, a new curtain for the local auditorium, toys, a pet habitat, a messy science experiment, or a zillion other things. Best of all, you don’t need expensive hardware, or to start by mastering a programming language. You can begin with found materials: buttons, bottle caps, string, clay, construction paper, broken toys, popsicle sticks, or tape (hint: Google “tapigami” or “duck tape projects”).
What are you having your students “make” to help them learn English?
I’ll put all responses into a future post….
My students have ‘made’ a lot of things. We have made picture frames out of old CDs and clothespins for gifts for mom. We have ‘made’ snow by cutting up grocery store bags and also with the sodium polyacrylate in diapers…a world of discussion, comparing, contrasting, tactile sensations, recycling, science…Posters, manipulative,etc. Making helps the learning process.
I wonder if we could explore the idea of extending a reading lesson into a writing one using the concept of making something. For example, after reading ‘The Graffalo’, students will make a game (e.g., board game, card game, role playing game) getting that extends the characters in the book.
I’m looking at this more conceptually as a language teacher. Building physical objects would be appropriate sometimes, but I also need to give my students opportunities to be skilled writers and orators. What I’m taking from this is the idea of having a space where a goal is set, resources are provided and output is decided upon by the students and then let them go. For example, instead of having my students just write a persuasive essay on an assigned prompt, give them access to web content and tutorials that teach them how to be persuasive, provide print and digital mentors, white board space for hashing out ideas and the choice of what kind of publication they want to create using persuasive skills. I’m completely in the theory stage of this but I am excited to see where this leads my learning design.
I’d love to hear where it leads you….