Essential Question 1: Constructionism

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.

References

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

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5 thoughts on “Essential Question 1: Constructionism

  1. I like the way you personalized the information that you read in your research. I already did the reading, so I didn’t need any of the information repeated. I’t was refreshing to see another teacher’s application of what they learned/experienced as the pondered the assigned reading.

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    • I appreciate your comment very much. As I was writing my blog, I was wondering if I should personalize it so much or if I should make it more general. I decided on personalizing it because that is the easiest way for me to understand ideas and concepts and almost everything about this class is brand new to me. I love technology, but I don’t necessarily believe that I am technically savvy. I have to think about how I can and will use the information I read in my classes and why it is important to them. Thank you so much!

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  2. That would be wonderful if you got to teach the same students next year! What a wonderful project that sounds like. I know when I was young I loved stickers and collected them. I even still have some in a album from when I was young. Lol! I am sure they are going to be excited about this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That ability to recognize when to step aside and let students’ creativity, ingenuity, and imaginations take over, is a great quality to have a as a teacher. It’s not easy and incredibly humbling when students “take off” with an idea that in my “brilliant” over-planning, I totally didn’t see! But every time that happens, it teaches me something not only about my own professional practice, but about that particular group of students. The Chibitronics kit looks so fun and I’m sure your students are going to be so excited to discover new ways to use it in your class! The constructionism model tells us that your students will create an authentic product with a public audience that will benefit from their work; I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t wait to see what my students come up with the Chibitronics kit! I am sure it will be spectacular. I’ve been super busy this past week wrapping up classes with my students and packing up my room, but in the back of my mind, I’ve been thinking about the struggle I am sure to have once I start building things in this class. I’ve thought a lot about getting frustrated and having to overcome those frustrations. That was also a thought about why I want to have my students build things. I want to them learn how to handle their frustrations and setbacks. They need to learn to persevere while supporting and encouraging each other. I considered not taking this class because my lack of knowledge is scary to me, but when you told me that you were going to be in this class, it helped me more than you know. I loved having you in our classroom research course last semester.

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