I see an opportunity. What do I create?

During our Ideation phase, I was paired with Christa and Kelly in order to generate ideas for their ELA conundrums as well. Christa wanted to know how she might use the Maker Movement to support her struggling readers. Kelly wished to know how she might garner student interest in the books of her library. These were both connected to my question of how might I use Maker Movement principles to support ELA CCSS based objectives.

First off- I noticed that my question was too broad. While this worked to my advantage in some ways (since I didn’t know how to narrow it down), it also made the field of possibilities too vast. Sitting down to brainstorm allowed me to see more possibilities and more angles than I expected. Curiously, I found more inspiration trying to help Kelly than I did myself. Hers was much more fun, though, since her goal rested on making books interesting- which I find easier to see. 

Once it came to my turn, I scrambled to write some of the ideas that we’d garnered for Kelly. Then I thought about the avenues of English that could possibly connect to Makering. Unfortunately, a lot of the ideas I- we- came up with involved all sorts of technology that was technically related to Making, but did not embody the “tinkering” that our assignment required. I thought about making modern renditions of Shakespeare, or perhaps creating Infographics for cross curricular reports, I thought about asking students to make a game that would embody the themes of a book we read, or maybe creating a digital story to map out creative writing projects. 

These were great, but not really makering. We shifted our focus back to the kits that we worked with. We thought about coding, about making a game that could embody a book. We thought about using 3D printing to make Shakespeare props. We thought about using 3D printing to make moving representations of cause & effect. We also thought about using squishy circuits, or little bits to understand sentence diagramming. 

I’m currently thinking about developing this idea. I don’t really teach sentence diagramming, but I do teach student about subjects and predicates, dependent and independent clauses, and verbals. It’s generally pretty dry stuff for my kids who are used to more faster paced, self generated lessons. To jazz it up I use apps like prezi to show connections between materials, but that’s just a presentation app. It doesn’t do anything but make it prettier- and MIGHT make the bridge for a particularly stubborn visual brain. 

I need to know about little bits. I liked how easy it was to make connections, to make it work. Making something light up was inevitable with the positive and negative sides of the magnets. I’m planning on pursuing this to find out if I can use the “bits” to represent parts of a sentence, or maybe clauses. I wonder what constraints I’ll run into? 

Sentence clauses aren’t polarized like magnets; in fact, dependent clauses can be inserted just about anywhere in an independent clause. Sentences are really limited in number of parts, where as little bits are fairly finite. I’m worried that they might be over simplified. However, if it works, it will be an extremely engaging grammar lesson, and goodness knows, it needs it. 

Check out our brainstorming below.

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