“Is this making?” is a question educators new to the maker movement often ask. In particular, activities outside the subjects of science, technology, or engineering are questioned or not considered. However, looking at the diverse work of maker educators teaches us that making can be a great way to learn almost anything. Making happens across many subject areas, from social studies, to math, to media, to music.
Maker champions, in our recent survey, identified Language Arts as one of the subjects they have most often incorporated maker learning activities into. Looking at built structures as a model for written structures can be a compelling activity for creative writers, and makers everywhere know that they need writing skills to tell the world about their work. April is National Poetry Month. Celebrate by giving your students opportunities to engage with making and writing.
Spotlight on the National Writing Project
The National Writing Project (NWP) focuses the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation’s educators on sustained efforts to improve writing and learning for all learners. Unique in breadth and scale, the NWP is a network of sites anchored at colleges and universities and serving teachers across disciplines and at all levels, early childhood through university as well as outside of school in libraries, museums, and afterschool programs. NWP provides professional development, develops resources, generates research, and acts on knowledge to improve the teaching of writing and learning in schools and communities.
Charles Baudelaire once wrote, “Any healthy man can go without food for two days—but not without poetry.” If he’s right, April will be a very healthy time for those of us who choose to partake of the delicacies offered up by National Poetry Month. Conceived in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, the annual 30-day event celebrates and promotes American poetry. Poems, the Academy hopes, will be everywhere. People can participate in small and big ways from requesting a daily poem from Poets.org to Bud the Teacher’s #NPM2018 invitation.
At the NWP, writing is defined broadly as a way of composing, communicating and making connections. NWP invites all to make some poems this month and welcomes further connections and discussion related to making, writing and connected learning.
If you are you helping others make poems and share the love of poetry, here are some teaching ideas from NWP educators.
A few fun tools to add to your poetry making this month:
And some spaces and places where we welcome your connections:
Check out these examples for more inspiration:
Additional Resources and Opportunities