We’ve been doing a lot of making in our classroom this past week and a half. Snowflakes, poinsettias, Hopscotch projects… It’s not that we don’t make at other times, but it seems that we have really gotten in the flow of making lately.
I love it when we can give ourselves and our students the time to plan, design, improve, and finalize a project. Our snowflakes were just such a project. Math and science, reading and writing, along with problem solving and some systems thinking all came together to create animal shaped snowflakes that will be accompanied by original snowflake poems later this week.
I wrote about the start of the project here and the value of tenacity and iteration for students. Our students had at least four opportunities to create their snowflake designs–with time to study their own and others’ attempts in between. And yesterday, all of our students successfully created an animal-shaped snowflake of their own design. (We did not provide templates, although we did help the few students who needed some additional scaffolding.)
Here are a few examples…and remember these students are 6, 7, and 8 years old!
If you look closely you will notice a moose, a giraffe, a squirrel, and a lizard in these four designs.
Students also created winter scenes using computer programming yesterday. You can read about it here. And then today, in addition to writing about snowflakes, we began assembling the poinsettias we are making from the paper we painted on Monday.
They still need their finishing touches…but already are beautiful! And students have learned a lot about poinsettias and a bit about their history. (The Ecke family, locals from our area, established themselves as primary producers of poinsettias around the world!)
But what I love best about this making is the productivity and collaboration from our students. They love making…and once they get past the fear of failure, are willing to take risks and try new ideas to improve their products. And we see evidence of students taking these ideas home and trying them out there.
One of our students came in this morning with a huge snowflake…a good three feet across…that she made at home. She had talked her mom into a trip to Michaels to get the big paper that she designed (a butterfly), cut and decorated…and then brought to school so we could see what she had done.
I know there are people who might call these activities “fluff” and complain that this isn’t real learning. For those people, I wish they could see the energy and enthusiasm, the collaboration and problem solving…and all the reading, writing, math, science and history that are learned in the process of the making.
Have you made time for making lately?