I believe that Constructionism brings new ideas to the table as a theory of education because I’ve witnessed it in action. I just finished my first year of teaching in a class of 26 kindergarteners and I observed my students learn through building and creating. I saw my students’ problem solve and work together to make amazing projects. One such project was paper sculptures for Veteran’s Day. They glued white stars and strips of red and white paper onto blue construction paper for their sculpture. I purposely did not give them much guidance or guidelines. I only told them that the strips could not be flat against the paper. I will admit that I was surprised at what they created and how they problem solved. They worked with each other and learned from one another. In turn, I learned from my students that I am the only one holding them back. I believe that they can build and discover great things if I do not stand in their way with rules and limitations on their ideas. I am a firm believer that “classroom projects that welcome various problem-solving strategies provide fertile ground for the expression of multiple intelligences” (Martinez & Stager, 2013).
There is a really good chance that I will be teaching my same students in first grade next year and I am already thinking forward to the things that I believe they can accomplish. Having the same students would give me a leg up for curriculum planning in the coming year because they know our classroom rules and expectations and I know my students personalities and interests. Additionally, important classroom foundations have been laid which allows me to focus on finding activities that promote a constructionist classroom. With that in mind, I found an article on the website that discusses how thinking skills and constructivism are linked to each other. The website is part of ASCD, which is a non profit organization that is focused on helping educators find new and modern ways to teach students. The article has easy problem solving strategies that I could scaffold and teach to my students (Richetti & Sheerin, 1999).
After scaffolding problem-solving strategies, I would like to introduce my students to the Chibitronics circuit stickers (Adafruit, 2015). My students love stickers and if we could make things glow and interact with each other using stickers, they would be very engaged and excited. I would like this to be a late fall project so we could focus on completing something a little bit more complex in the spring.
Adafruit. (2015, May 21). Chibitronics Starter Kit. Retrieved May 21, 2015, from Adafruit: http://www.adafruit.com/products/1972
Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.
Richetti, C., & Sheerin, J. (1999, November). Educational Leadership: Helping Students Ask the Right Questions. Retrieved May 20, 2015, from ASCD: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov99/vol57/num03/Helping-Students-Ask-the-Right-Questions.aspx