Wiggle Room – Let’s All Tinker!

Pinterest/author unknown

Pinterest/author unknown

Let’s ALL play! I had the distinct pleasure of participating in last night’s Twitter #edtechchat about the emerging benefits of creating maker spaces integrated throughout all content areas.  The conversations were fast-paced and innovative, overflowing with collaborative ideas galore.  I was in awe with the numerous unique perspectives and courageous (and delightfully careless) suggestions for propelling engagement and creativity-infused student-empowering ideas in expanding critical-thinking, open-ended inquiry experiences.  I discovered new colleagues worthy of following, and I was inspired to challenge and re-evaluate myself as an educator, both personally and professionally. Yet, upon reflection, this Vintage/Vet educator had to smile and ponder: are spaces for makers initiated already in preschool & early childhood play? Observing young children with cardboard boxes, tinker toys, Legos, magnets, marbles, etc…inklings of maker spacers in the “making?”  An alert and  awakening educator can simply harness this imaginative, innovative zeal and give it academic direction at virtually any age and with minimum cost (yes…even Teacher In-Services!). I recall exciting and delightful indoor recesses when my energized students begged, “Can we leave this set up for another recess? We’re not finished!”  My classroom often had the messiest room appearance in the hallways of our lower school…as if I didn’t have parameters for cleanliness. But the  unifix cube “road that goes around the world”  built by passionate engineers stayed on the floor for five days, and the  “Georgia O’Keffe doll houses” crafted for the rocks I brought back to the students from a New Mexico road trip encroached upon the well-organized reading center…  Ah, this was authentic creativity in the making, and the springboard for further discussions and inquiry (and yes, academic assignments in STEAM-like fashion). Open-ended and unstructured play in any form is good for our souls and nourishment for our minds. An educator with the mindset for creativity opens doors for student-led projects/learning. Simply put…we all need to tinker and create.  Teachers as spontaneous facilitators can awaken all sorts of minds!  ‘Nuff said, J

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About Jane Roe Cooper

I am a lower school educator navigating the complexities discovered while guiding the development of young minds.
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