Thursday, February 5, 2015

Is it a "Make"?

I wrote earlier this week about a "make" I did with a group of high school students using literary terms to create stop-motion videos.

I've been wondering out loud for days - is this a "make" since I gave them the instructions to produce a stop-action video that exemplified their term?  In my mind one of the things that makes a "make" is the freedom to get in there and mess with things to see what happens without a lot of instructions.  I've been wondering if my attempts to make "make" "count" for school had gotten in the way of the play and tinkering I discovered this past summer.

As a group the UNCC Writing Project has identified a "make" as something that "invites students to make things with words, with natural and man-made materials, and with their ideas of how to make their worlds." (from Intersections Grant)

Check.  Students worked with play dough and legos to represent their ideas using a stop action app.

Further "make" "gives students opportunities to play with, try out, or represent ideas through physically and digitally making things and then sharing drafts in progress" (from Intersections Grant)

Check.  Students played with the play dough, legos and apps and shared their drafts in progress with each other and with our Google + community.

Finally, "make" "use[s] content specific to grade levels' course of study and are literacy rich, asking students and teachers to share, reflect, loop back, remake, revise, remix, and connect with others." (from Intersections Grant)

Check.  Students used the literary terms specific to their course to do all of these things as they created their videos - several different iterations over the 40 minute period - and shared those videos with others.  While they were working, I wished for a boom mic to drop down and record the rich and conversations they were having about not only the literary terms, but the materials they were working with and the process they were going through.

Below is a simple video with some of their reflections.

So while in the beginning I was feeling like this assignment was just sort of on the spectrum of make because it was "assignment-y" I'm feeling now after really breaking it down like it was a real and powerful making experience for the students and for me.

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