But the journey of maker into language arts isn’t just a matter of finding time in the day. It makes sense because of narrative. So much of the creative is about coming up with a narrative for what you’re doing. Whether that’s just the name of the thing that has evolved out of your creative process or a whole story about it. The communication. The writing. The collaboration. The reflection. These are key skills that are needed for citizenship. Team that up with some coding and some maker skills and you’ve got a killer combination (Pedagogy, Not Outcomes – How to Do Maker Models for Language Arts).
Students use existing classroom literature – stories, novels, and expository texts – as the basis for engineering design challenges that help them identify problems, design realistic solutions, and engage in the Engineering Design Process while reinforcing their literacy skills (https://www.novelengineering.org/).
Novel Engineering projects are designed around books that teachers choose, generally trade books with interesting plots, rich characters and detailed descriptions of the setting. As they read the text, students are prompted to identify problems faced by characters in the text and whether these problems are ones that might be addressed with a product or process that the students could design in the classroom. Below are examples of books that some Novel Engineering classrooms have used. Click on the image to be taken to their website.
Maker-Enhanced Writing Workshop: Character Development
Learners engaged in a maker-enhanced writers' workshop. I like having my learners begin by developing their characters. They did so by:
- Describing their character.
- Drawing a picture of their characters.
- Creating a more artistic version of their character using additional art materials.
- Posting a description and image of their character onto Kidblog.
- Using Scratch and Makey Makey to describe the main characteristics of their characters.
- More about the Maker-Enhanced Writing Workshop: Character Development can be found at https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2019/02/17/maker-enhanced-writing-workshop-character-development/