Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Slice of Life - Desire to Create and Learn

Slice of Life is sponsored on Tuesdays by Two Writing Teachers. For the month of March we are posting a slice each day on our blog. Join in!

When I was in school, I didn’t have a strong desire to learn. Maybe in lower elementary. But by the time I hit upper elementary/ junior high, I just wanted to get my work done. My teachers were terrific, I just had somehow learned along the way that I needed to memorize facts, do well on tests, get decent grades. I wasn’t really invested in my own education and, I can say for certain, I did not do my best. Thinking back on that, I often wonder why. What could have made me turn around and actually be curious? To want to learn for myself? I’m not sure.

Today I have a strong desire to learn. I feel like I’m on a constant treadmill, trying to stay caught up with an ever-growing stack of books, blogs, articles, and websites to learn from. I come across tweets and pause, wanting to know more. I know I will never be caught up, but enjoy the learning process.

Two topics are currently at the forefront of my mind – podcasts and makerspace. I’ve thought about podcasts for some time. I’d love my students to run one. To share book reviews and their learning. To make it their own. I’m just not sure how to begin.

As for makerspace, I just came across the term on Twitter the other night. Kristin Ziemke was talking about it and I immediately began looking into what it was. I’m not sure on an exact definition, but it seems like you are inviting students to create. In makerspace, like podcasting, the possibilities are endless.

Here’s why I am interested in these topics – they harness the creative powers of our students. Right now I have four boys running around outside of my home as I type. They have a stockpile of Nerf weaponry in the middle of our backyard. It is the “cornucopia” from Hunger Games. They just dove on the pile, grabbed what they could, and now are traipsing through the yards of our neighbors as they go to war. My oldest just came in and did his millionth plea of the day for a Go-Pro camera for his birthday so he could wear it on his head and videotape their action scenes. They have spent hours creating their world. When he does take a video of a “war” with our old camera, he spends even more time scripting it out, editing it on iMovie, and then creating a video to upload to his YouTube channel. He is eleven and has taught this all to himself.

I think our kids have this potential in them. We need the creators to keep that desire alive throughout their years at school. So I will continue to look into topics like podcasting and makerspace and see what I can learn and bring back to my classroom. And, if you have any advice, tips, or reading I should do, please include that below. Now, finally, I truly do love to learn.