Wednesday, March 21, 2018

March 21: Making & Literacy



Today's March is for Making (30 posts in 30 days inspiring us to keep on making) brings you on a virtual visit to Colleen Grave's library which I got visit this week and watch a master practice her craft.  Some of you may know Colleen as an author,  others might know her as a librarian, and most of us know her as a maker educator.



Upon entering the library at CC Mason Elementary School, it was obvious this was an educator who is equally passionate about literacy and making.    Student maker projects lined the top of shelves filled with books.  Students were as comfortable finding and checking out books as they were talking about their maker projects. 

But the part that really convinced me that making and literacy can be successfully integrated was watching Colleen skillfully execute a 45 minute lesson where kindergarten students listened to her read aloud  Eric Carle's Mixed-Up Chameleon ,  then proceeded to conduct their own age appropriate research on habitats using Pebble Go,  and continue on to to invent their own mixed up animals and draw a possible habitat for their new creations.

I arrived just as the 3rd graders were finishing up their cardboard automata.    She quickly switched gears and started to prepare for the kindergarten class that would soon be arriving.  We helped her wash glue off library work tables and set up materials as we talked about the connection between literacy and making.


"Do you see a difference between integrating making into literacy and integrating literacy into making?"  I asked. 




The conversation weaved in and out on different ways to do both.  Before we knew it,  a group of young learners marched in and took a seat on the carpet.

 It was obvious that they knew the drill.  Throughout our visit,  Colleen shared many tips she had learned transitioning from working with high school students to younger learners.  Having made the same transition from high school to an elementary school myself,  I took note and picked up a few new tricks.






The lesson started with a read aloud and discussion of Eric Carle's book - The Mixed up Chameleon.

Engaged in today's read aloud

The lesson continued with a mix of research, making, and applying their research. 


Followed up  with very clear instructions about what would happen next! 

Students quickly grabbed an iPad to conduct their research about habitats  using Pebble Go.
















At the next station, students got to create  mixed animals using stamps that were created using shapes from Eric Carle's book!

I was not surprised to learn that Colleen had made these herself with wooden blocks, double sticky tape, and foam craft sheets.

That's what happens when you have a maker teacher like Ms. Graves!
She makes!  Her students  make!  And they all learn together!






Now it was time for the students to  apply their research by drawing a habitat that would allow their new creation to thrive.  The research now had personal relevance to them. 




Drawing habitats for our mixed animals! 



Applying our new learning in creative ways! 
And without missing a beat the class transitioned to using  a cleverly designed check out system


 and  these backpacks went home with 
some new books!

Before we knew it it was time for everyone to go home! 





It was amazing to watch Colleen integrate literacy and making with these young learners.   See it for yourself in this short movie that captured our brief visit.






And here's a slide show for those of you who would love a peek into Colleen Grave's library / makerspace.