[Week 3 Reflection] Pick a Quote


Hello everyone,
probably I’m one of the many with the LOW FLOORS AND HIGH CEILINGS theory liking the most. I don’t know but it suits me personaly the best: make it easy at first, so you don’t lose your mind trying the first steps, then make it harder with time so you can grow high and wide. I’m a teacher so I try to work under this conditions every day. It’s even more true when working with children: if you gave then high ceilings to begin with, nobody would learn (nor listen). That’s why START LOW AND THEN GROW HIGH AND WIDE :slight_smile:



This is the quote that speaks to me more, too. It’s a very up to the point quote for the creative learning of the 21st century


I like both the Ben Franklin quote and Resnick’s quote inspired by it, as well as the concepts of “hard fun” and “wide walls”, which put me in mind of a quote to whom I do not know who to attribute: “Don’t start because it’s easy. Start because it’s worth trying. Don’t stop because it’s hard. Stop because you tried your best.”


“I wonder how many algebra teachers are ever thanked by their students” said Mitchel Resnick.

It’s true, when I was a student, algebra was this isolated topic that was fun but had no connection with my life. I couldn’t see how it would be useful to me or other people. It took years for me to understand the importance of algebra.


Hard fun - This works especially with those children who are gifted and talented. Giving them a task that they need to work hard for and investigate is much more worthwhile to them than the day to day tasks that they fully understand. Also an activity where they need to explore and may not succeed at the first try is beneficial for them as it helps them to improve their problem solving skills as well as deal with the lack of success. The main issue is finding a way to get them involved in the projects and build enthusiasm. Sometimes we create an activity which we feel they will enjoy but we get it wrong. Tapping into the motivations and enthusiasm of children in the classroom is not always an easy task, especially with the diversity that is found among children.


This resonated with me. “Most children are willing to work hard—eager to work hard—so long as they’re excited about the things they’re working on.” I work with children in my district’s Innovation Center. I often hear that some children will be a problem because they’re lazy or they have behavior issues. The students work on design projects that allow them to be creative and to personalize their work. Rarely are there any behavior issues or students who don’t want to work. They are excited about the projects and the endless possibilities.


i just loved the the examples that there were based on real stories of children on how passion boost the seek of further knowledge! I could imagine myself having the same promblems and thoughts about how to make my handmake project better.


Thank you for the great video!
It makes me think and feel so much.
Here in Japan, a lot of kids think themselves “I’m not good” at school, too.
I want to change the situation.


“She decided to add an automatic door, just like the ones at the supermarket. She
connected a motor to the door of the house and placed a light sensor and a programmable brick

I love these little stories! They transport me to the land of hard play. This was me when I worked on my Scratch project last night!


The episode that the boy thanked Mitch for variables is also impressive.

Education would be meaningful and powerful when learners need it.
In project based learning, kids often get stuck.
So they often need knowledge to solve the problem.
So the opportunity of meaningful and powerful education will occur more than instruction based learning.

I think that is one of the merits of creative learning.


In a Big Meeting this morning, it was suggested that our district’s middle schools be radically restructured–tonight as I was working on this week’s project I had an inkling of what that might come to look like! This morning’s meeting resulted in an afternoon meeting tasking further delineation of “priority standards” and a specific scope and sequence for each grade level. Feels a little at odds with the radical restructure request!

From the reading I am taken with the children sneaking back in to the museum. I wonder what was going through their minds–something like those adults must have hidden the LEGO/Logo stuff somewhere! Which gets at the notion that adults are keeping things from children. In that is all manner of social construct to unpack: power, hierarchy, age, control, access…


I really liked Mitch’s comment: If all the projects end up looking the same we feel something has gone wrong - this gives me something to think about as I plan activities for children - I’ve been thinking hard about how to ensure kids can follow their own passions even though I have to plan relatively structured activities that can be done within a 1 hour period. Again it makes me reflect on two activities I’ve mentioned in the past - chain reaction and wind tube - these projects certainly have wide walls with each child ending up creating different things within the one workshop - the complexity of what is created is also flexible - its no wonder these are two of our most popular activities.


You are welcome.
If you can, find a Coderdojo club near you. I’m sure they would love a visit. Although each and every club is run independently, we all follow the same core rules. And all dojos encourage creativity. Maybe they will have some hands on ideas.
Also please have a look at these if you have a bit of time.
First a school in which kids are the leaders.

As I understand, and imagine myself, this must be very uncomfortable for the teacher at first because it is not done in a way that is familiar or that we are used to.

And just for inspiration, love how this teacher teaches using props.

I have seen another talk by the same man, but this is covering the same topic. Truly inspirational man. Must be a wonderful teacher.

Warm regards from an enthusiastic teacher in spirit


I agree. Education and teaching should be a good balance between “presentations” and “explorations” of different topics. It’s very difficult to reach the right mixture but that’s the challange of each teacher I guess.


Many thanks, so happy you agree :slight_smile:


The part I like most is when student said “Thank you”.
Children are curious, we must let them explore, find new ways to solve the problem…
They are more thankfull and proud if they do something their own, find another way to the solution.
Interests are very important!


Hi @benjiwheeler and @Lily. Love the invocation of “remix” in this context, both for the pedagogy it suggests, and for the way the concept of a remix is wrought.

I wanted to share some more perspectives on Mindstorms. I teach 9-10 year olds in underserved communities, and I also teach gifted children in an “over-served” community. The challenges vary and often I meet with the frustrations that Ben describes. When I train other teachers, I encourage teachers to not show only one example of a robot (children tend to copy the one model), to not provide a list of instructions, and to not appear to do things perfectly on the first try. Rather, share stories of difficulty and frustrations, of multiple iterations, share multiple examples and point out the tradeoffs in each model. My main recommendation is to give open ended challenges that invite a diversity of solutions; then, provide scaffolds as they are needed. Many teachers seem to want to provide the scaffolds in advance of a cumulative challenge, e.g., learn mini skills over the course of the year, and at the end of the year, build a robot drawing upon these mini skills. Regarding the grammar of Mindstorms, I ask kids to translate their code into vernacular English (or their native language). This, to me, is a form of Edith Ackerman’s “stepping back”, or of “making learning visible” (to borrow another catchphrase).

One other suggestion: can you give students freedom to create a make believe framework, and then let them use robotics within that framework? I had the opportunity to do this with kids at the International School of Billund (mostly LEGO families). We had built make-believe landscapes over several weeks, made up stories about these fictive worlds. Robotics were not really on the horizon. Kids started joining my after school robotics club so they could build infrastructure for their make believe worlds. (See the EV3 in upper right corner of the attached photo - it’s part of a crane.) What was exciting about this is that had we invited kids to “make anything” with Mindstorms, they likely would have been overwhelmed; the narrative activity of their make believe play, however, led them to identify needs for which Mindstorms were well suited.


“Through reflection, people make connections among ideas, develop a deeper understanding of which strategies are the most productive, and become better prepared to transfer what they’ve learned to new situations in the future.”
Lifelong Kindergarten, Mitchel Resnick.

I spend a lot of time trying to teach basic algebra to high school graduates. Even those who “succeed” with B’s in my course are likely to make crucial errors in algebra in later courses. How can I support transfer of learning from my course to later courses?

The heart of the problem seems to me to be that students don’t recognize and appreciate the difference between addition and multiplication. The symbols on the page and the procedures they use to manipulate those symbols hold little meaning for the students.

It’s my hope that if I can help students connect college algebra to subjects that have meaning to them, those students will start to care about the meaning of the symbols and procedures in their algebra classes. I don’t know if I can cure misconceptions rooted in middle school mathematics with a single semester of constructionist learning. I don’t think anyone knows how to solve this problem, so perhaps it won’t hurt for me to try.

This quote is a reminder to me that I should build reflection into my assignments to help students understand and retain what they have learned.


“An investment in interest always pays off with the best knowledge.”

Love this inversion of Benjamin Franklin’s favorite quote. One of the most important lessons I have learned as a teacher is the superiority of intrinsic motivation over extrinsic motivation. The better we get to know students by allowing time/space for them to share their own stories, the more we can tap into their passions and lay the groundwork for self-motivation in the classroom.


Curiosity is so important, both on the students’ side and on the teacher’s side.