Makerspace in 6th Grade English/Language Arts

Many people, when hearing of makerspaces, automatically assume technology and design are the classes in which it is implemented, perhaps science class. What would you say if I told you that I have a makerspace in my language arts classroom?

Perhaps you’d say that in no way can a makerspace connect to ELA standards. Perhaps you’d say that it’s a waste of time. Well, perhaps you’re wrong. : ) Having a makerspace in my classroom has really helped underscore my students’ application of literary terms AND helped them with the 4 C’s.

I have implemented a makerspace the past 3 weeks in my classroom with 6th graders. It has been an outstanding success. Not only are they loving it, (I have received emails from parents telling me how happy their kids are), but the kids are applying their language arts knowledge to their creations as well as using communication standards while in the makerspace!

Makings of the Makerspace

Students have a choice of 4 main options:

  • Cardboard badge (I have washi tape, patterned paper, and lots of drawing utensils)
  • Play-dough
  • Blackout poetry (done with old books and markers)
  • (I also have a 3d doodler that they can use)

How the Makerspace is Run

Each turn in the makerspace is directly connected to a language arts standard with which we are currently working.  First, they read their book. Then, they have watched a video and written about a literary term. Then, they write a journal entry about their book and that literary term. It is only after those three steps that they move into the makerspace.

While in the makerspace, they should make something which is connected to their book and the literary term that they are currently studying. It has worked really well so far since they have had so much buildup to the actual makerspace itself. The frontloading of the term and think time has really produced some great creations which reflect and help cement student’s understanding of the literary term.

 Reflection on their Creations

After students have created their, well, creation, they then move on to reflection. Students will then record a video explaining:

  • their creation
  • how it connects to their book
  • how it connects to the literary term

I have used several different technologies to record their videos including Youtube’s my webcam and Movenote. However, I don’t think that the tech necessarily matters; I think that the verbal explanation matters.

Finally, students post their videos to their Google Classroom as a class comment on an announcement. They are then encouraged to watch each other’s videos.

Going forward

Overall, students are not only being creative in connection with analyzing a literary term in a book they are reading, but they are also verbally explaining and communicating their ideas to others.

I would highly recommend doing this in any language arts classroom. I will be looking for ways to continue this in my upcoming units. It might be a little hard to figure out, but I think the rewards will be worth it!

Pictures from the Makerspace!

 

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Author: karinhogen

I teach middle school language arts and run an Edtech company, DocentEDU, on the side. Every day is an adventure in my classroom with technology!

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