Before we called it makerspace, innovation, STEM or STEAM, we did it and called it “discovery/wonder” as students had fun exploring their world. That wonder would lead the learning. Students problem solved, wrote stories, read stories to family, teachers and friends and then went out to play, at school and at home. Now fast forward many, many years, various ideations and we see how this works today.
What joy it is to walk into a classroom where “wonder” is valued as part and parcel to learning; where questions stop the lesson and searching for the answer involves those who are challenged by the questions. We can call it differentiation, we can give it many names if we need to pigeon hole it in our minds or validate why we do, what we do. I’ve done that. I’ve justified digressing from the lesson and I was comfortable and confident when this occurred. I was lucky! I worked in a school that valued not only students’ spreading their wings, but also teachers. And I had a teaching partner who was supportive and caring. We talked, brainstormed and when that teachable, a-ha moment stopped us in our tracks, well, we went for it.
Makerspace, innovation, STEM and STEAM are now part of our lexicon, penciled into our class schedules and curriculum. They have empowered our students with voice, choice and agency in their learning. And that is incredibly rewarding.
I wrote this post after I read @gcouros post Small Change, Big Difference. And I thought of the impact this has on our students.
I share these picture of kids’ curiosity and wonder.
Visiting a “makerspace”.
The classroom as a “Makerspace.”
Innovation Bins: (Created by Rachel one of the kinder teachers at my school.)
However we see it or define the “wonder” in learning, when it happens we know it. Our job is to take those little steps to make it happen. We did it for years, let’s see where it continues to go. How do we make space/time for “innovation” in whatever way works for our students and us. Is this important and supported by your institution?