What’s new this year in my class?
This is my baby step of taking action of my own learning. Making IT happen! What is IT?
When many people are busy talking about giving students more space and opportunity to do independent inquiry by organizing makerspace, genius hours, iTime…I was still stuck and think. I was still afraid of ‘what if‘ feeling.
However, at the beginning of the academic year, I decided to put it in the timetable. Yup! I want to make IT happen. I have been inspired by lots of educators. I also joined the summer maker PD which was host by Mark Schreiber. I have read, listened to and seen how makerspace/genius hour/iTime /etc is organized in different settings. So, I thought if I put it since the beginning, I won’t make any excuses for not doing it.
Back in April 2017, I attended the Learning2 conference at the American School of Warsaw, Poland. I was fortunate to get the chance to see and experience to explore and play at the space which they set in the library. Simple things which can make you feel excited, eager to explore and want to know what happens if I do this or that. All the things which get you to be more curious and creative.
Hey, if I can be so engaged and have so much fun, what about the kids?
There are so many resources, posts, websites, etc. about makerspace. Now the questions would be:
- How do I start?
- What’s the idea behind this?
- How much space/time would I use?
- What do I want the students to be able to show?
I looked through all the resources I have and I am making this happen in my class. The idea of makerspace is to provide students with space and opportunity for them to explore. Is that it? Explore? No goal? Well, I would like them to be able to think, design and create. But that would be the next step after they know how to explore, get them excited and eventually, they should be able to think of what they would like to do.
Basically, let them play. Sonya Terborg’s post about play reminds me of the TED talk video which was shared in the summer maker PD.
The world no longer cares whether or not you are smarter than a fifth grader or how well you do to triple your pursuit. What the world cares about is not what you know but what you can do with what you know. – Tony Wagner
So, how can I encourage the students to use their knowledge and skills to do something? How can their curiosity and creativity be grown? Don’t kids learn best when they play..when they don’t actually notice that they are learning..when they talk to others…when they do hands-on activities…when they are given the freedom to explore?
During the information evening, the parents also asked me about iTime which I put in the timetable.
”What is it?”
”It’s the time where your child can explore and inquire what they would like to do. Of course, I will guide them and eventually your child should be able to do independent inquiry. They will be provided with some resources which allow them to investigate, play, create, design, etc. It’s called iTime because I would like them to feel that this is the time when they can decide on what they would like to do.”
So, I just did my first session last week. As I mentioned, I would set my version of makerspace/iTime. Referring to some resources I got from the Summer Maker PD, I started collecting the available resources (books, wooden blocks, paper/coloured paper, illustrator box, etc.) and set some stations. I plan to add more resources to give them more options to explore every week.
So, how did it go? I will share more next time. All I can say that they have fun…and so do I ! We ‘play’ together.
- Makerspace for education
- Ready, Set, Design
- Makerspace sharing resources
- Under $500 Makerspace – Year in the Making
- Genius Hours in elementary school