F Marisa Dahl: Invent to Learn -Part 2- Tinkering is much like Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Invent to Learn -Part 2- Tinkering is much like Writer's Workshop

This is Part 2 of my book review on Invent to Learn by Silvia Martinez. Here is  a link to Part 1 Link Here

Part 2:

"The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge. - Seymour Papert. Invent to Learn pg158.

Tinkering is much like how my teacher partner @JHoulahanP and I ran writer's workshop in our kindergarten class. The acronym, TMI, was explained in the book Invent to Learn, in Chapter 3.


T= Think
Students followed the structure of thinking about something you have done, want to do, or share, and write about it.

M= Make
Students then drew a picture and wrote about the picture. They "made" their story. With minimal teacher distractions, students were expected to get their idea on paper. They were asked to draw a picture, label it, and write words that told their story. They had to be able to share this with a peer, who would help them improve it.

Throughout the year the expectation was to improve their writing. They had to re-read to make sure they could read it themselves before they could share it with someone else. When they shared it with someone they were supposed to help them improve their drawing and writing to help the reader better understand their writing.

And another aspect that was much like our writer's workshop was that WE WERE NEVER DONE! Their writing was either in progress or ready to publish. When they were done with one piece of writing they could get another piece of paper and start another story. The expectation during writer's workshop was that students were either writing, drawing, editing, or sharing.

There was curriculum we covered throughout that process, but we never assigned grades, it was kindergarten so that isn't unusual, we rarely told them what to write about it, we did have "challenges" such as a "How To" unit and an "All About Unit," but there were little, if any guidelines.

In comparing these two ideas, Writer’s Workshop and a Makerspace, I was able to make connections to the importance of the learning environment. The environment the teacher thoughtfully and purposefully structures is essential to facilitate childrens’ learning. The students are responsible for their own learning, in the setting their teacher has created, with careful guidance and facilitation from their teacher.

After making this correlation, between the writer’s workshop structure I led my kindergarten students in, and the ideas of a Makerspace, I am able to  better understand how Makerspaces work, and how building a Makerspace on a stable foundation with purpose and learning in mind is essential for student learning and success.

Quotes worth tweeting:

"The deepest problem for us is not technology, nor teaching, nor school bureaucracies - it's the limits of our own thinking." Invent to Learn pg56.

"When the risk of making a mistake is costly, it makes sense to use the waterfall method. However, if the risks of making a mistake are not expensive or dangerous, then it makes sense to explore different design methodologies." Invent to Learn pg 47.

Further Reading:

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