My thoughts about question 1 is like this.
When tinkering starts, stop planning. When tinkering is stuck, start planning again.
That will make a good balance between them.
My thoughts about question 1 is like this.
It’s exactly like that!!
Italian has two different verbs for playing a game (giocare) and playing an instrument (suonare, same root as suono - sound)). Giocare can be used for playing a particuliar game, and also for playing in general. Tuscanian has a specific term for the last, namely ruzzare, also attested in Italian vocabulary, but a very familiar term. In Italian, in certain situations, you could also use the term giocherellare, which is a derivative from giocare, with a suffix that could mean do something not seriously, just for pastime. But here we go into linguistics… and in languages there is plenty of such examples, for many different reasons (mainly historical). E.g. English has wood (also French bois) while Italian has legno (the material) and bosco (a set of trees). This is from a famous example of danish linguist Louis Hjelmslev, just to close the circle around Denmark…
I agree! And add ability to imagine, think ahead…you get play/lege…
Watch children on a playground, and you’ll inevitably see them making up their own activities and games. In the process, children develop as creative thinkers.
I totally agree with this quote.
Every little kids are natural-born creative thinkers.
So we don’t need to teach them how to do creative thinking.
We only have to provide them with appropriate materials and tools, and a lot of free time.
(and minimum instruction when they need it)
I like when Mike Petrich talks in the video about how we should face an activity.
As educators, we feel we either need to be leading the activity or actively pursuing your idea about where is going to go to get to your content goals or whatever that might be. When they see a tinkering activity, it often looks like it’s anything goes; it looks like anything is possible here and, even though within the context we create, you can pursue a variety of different interests. As facilitators, we’re carefully watching and observing and helping out when it’s necessary, by offering a new tool or a material by offering a new suggestion for how you might complexify an idea once you have figured out how to make something work.
I think that it’s great to change the way we usually behave in a workshop and try something new, giving the kids the space to explore and try things in their own way. We need to act more like facilitators and stop our need to be in control of everyting. Sometimes, giving them freedom is the only way to let them explore their limits.
Playground VS Playpen QUOTE
As a teacher of children in Foundation (Ist yr of school) when I listened
to Mich, I reflected on a timeline of many years teaching at this level. Thought how I wish I knew this back at university. Back then I believed I was teaching but infact I had them all in the playpen!
I have been recently sending home videos of children playing g in the “playground” i.e. in class, for parents to better understand the joys and learning experiences that come out of real playing. By positing a video on Seesaw showing how the Foundation students collaborated and non collaboration, in an open ended task using large boxes, parents had the opportunity to understand.
They saw ideas being presented and not presented because the loudest voice dictated the way it had to be, they saw a final end product, and so on. I hope they saw the benefits of open ended discovery and tinkering. Soon to find out!
A number of passages from the Exploratorium team article intrigued me. The idea of “thinking with your hands” supports a valuation of “manual labor” that is severely lacking in the current climate.
Living in an old building, I am constantly faced with plumbing, electrical, and structural challenges. Over the years there have been instances where I’ve managed to successfully tinker and, more often than not, not-so-successfully tinker. I have huge respect for “the trades”, but always try to give it a shot before I resort to the professionals. (Just this weekend, case in point, the front door knobs came out. Over the years I have jerry-rigged a number of solutions; this time, it was beyond me).
I also liked the idea of designing activities around a theme, rather than around a single challenge. It reminded me of one year when I taught K-3 science. I found it extremely frustrating that there was never enough time for us to reflect on our experiments. I determined, if we were going to spend time to “share-out”, we would have to sacrifice some experimentation time. Without that observation/reflection piece, I wasn’t sure if the students were thinking of the bigger picture. I, also, didn’t feel they had enough time for free exploration. We almost always followed a prescribed “experiment.” One of my favorite units was the Balance and Motion unit; because much of the formal material was missing, we had to to improvise. Students came up with the most inventive ways of balancing things with clothes pins, then paper clips!
I, also, liked the ideas of “complexification”, not defining “learning solely as the acquisition of facts or mastery of skills”, a “more inclusive definition…moves the discourse about learning away from memorization of abstract facts to the development…in ways of knowing, doing and being.”, and “…the purpose and pathways that drive engagement and persistence are authored by the learner.” (emphasis on interest-driven).
I chose the following quote: “Tinkering is at the intersection of playing and making.” I really enjoy tinkering. For me, it is play with the intent of making something. I’ll read about how to make something, like a bristebot. Perhaps I don’t have all the supplies, or I don’t particularly care for the directions. I figure out a different and hopefully better way to make it. It might take me several attempts to come up with a satisfactory solution.
I work with students on design challenges. Even though they are following the design process, I encourage them to be flexible and to be willing to change their plans. The steps from designing to building to improving can be reiterated several times to allow for the best results and the most fun. I think these design challenges fall between the playpen and playground.
With that said, I would like to offer students more open-ended opportunities, chances to tinker with various tech and non-tech materials to make whatever they wanted. I think some would struggle because they’re so used to having directions. But I think they would be thrilled if they created something on their own.
"Watch children on a playground, and you’ll inevitably see them making up their own activities and games. In the process, children develop as creative thinkers." ~ I do agree with this quote. Each child is a natural-born creative thinker. So we shouldn’t teach them how to do creative thinking. We just need to ensure that they have appropriate materials/ tools as well as a lot of free time. And sometimes we have to give minimum instruction when children need it.
I think children become more creative when they feel comfortable.
“Watch children on a playground, and you’ll inevitably see them making up their own activities and games. In the process, children develop as creative thinkers.” My kindergartners are fabulous tinkerers. Last week they tinkered all recess tying ropes and making their own zipline. 10 kids were involved, failure rate 90% and they had a blast!! Only our little adventurous “tinker bell” was able to slide. I am committed to making sure there is always time and space for my little ones to tinker.
The bottom-up process of tinkering starts with explorations that might seem rather random, but it doesn´t end there. True tinkerers know how to turn their initial explorations into a focused activity.
A few weeks ago, we gave spaghetti and plasticine to small groups of children. They had 30 mins to create the tallest tower that they could. Through that half an hour, many different towers were created and, although time was limited, the children tried different approaches as, perhaps, their first idea failed.
However, we are taking this initial tinkering stage and using their experiences to create a plan. The next lesson will be the children discussing in their groups what went well and what did not work. We will provide them with time to discuss how they would approach the problem a second time. Then, of course, we will give them another session of tinkering so that they can try their new ideas and develop on their successes from the previous lesson.
Tinkering and structure can go hand in hand. It is important that whilst the children “tinker”, they also consider which techniques have been successful and which have not. They can then use this to develop their ideas.
I also liked the story of Nicky and his vibrating LEGO-walker.
The fact that - when his motor fell off - he didn’t look at it as a failure, but as an opportunity, is for me an essential quote in this PLAY-week, but also for LCL in general: the ability to tinker (fantastic English word that I have discovered during this course!), to explore without a precise plan… it’s something that we ‘unlearn’ somehow, I think… at school, in life…
Fear of Failure is omnipresent nowadays, and Tinkering asks for a level of self-confidence (as a learner). Here in Brussels, when we work in the more disadvantaged neighbourhoods, we see that many children lack this confidence, due to negative school experiences, maybe a lack of being confirmed in their talents.
And also: the fact that society (and: commerce) promote playing often as a consumption activity, rather than an activity of production or self-expression (indeed, not all kinds of play are created equal!)
“Even if an individual learner is more comfortable with one style over another, it’s useful to experiment with other styles and approaches. Ideally, all children should have the opportunity to engage with the world in a style that’s most natural and comfortable for them—but also have experience with other styles, so that they can shift strategies as the situation warrants.”
As adults, we tend to figure out how we best do things, and then continue to do them that way forever. If it aint’ broke, don’t fix it. This is why I find this quote both challenging and inspiring. I find that I myself have a much harder time of trying new things because of the fear factor. As a type A personality, I like knowing the outcome of what I’m about to do. Taking a risk or trying a new routine is scary! But I definitely would like to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.
"Playground provides children with more room to move, explore, experiment, and collaborate."
This is a quote I like most.
I will always try to enable playground like this and I will think about play if it provides children like this…
My take away this week is the playpen vs the playground quote. Yes, time with students is limited, and I want them to get the idea of the lesson, but I see that the idea that they "get"may not really lead to a true understanding of the lesson.
Once again, I am inspired by all of the posts.
And thank you, dodekagonia. All of your projects are impressive. My favorite is the growing garden card.
Not sure if this quote is from this week, but my new mantra, and have been using with my students daily.
“This isn’t a do it yourself place; this is a DO IT TOGETHER place!”
I thought the LK chapter on play was a really excellent and lucid survey of significant ideas in the field. Particular highlights for me include Marina’s distinction playpen v. playground, which closely parallels Amos’s spille v. lege. I also appreciate the reference to patternists v. dramatists, but I want to elaborate on this in two ways. Because this distinction identifies in positive terms two different kinds of thinkers, we might risk assigning children to one group at the exclusion of the other — forcing an either/or — whereas many of us are both/and. I also want to make a direct connection, under the dramatist umbrella, between the pretense play of childhood and the make-believe play of adulthood which might manifest itself as acting, or authorship, or through other highly agentive practices. We don’t outgrow make-believe or pretense play. In fact, when I imagine a dramatist who is a patternist, or vice versa, I think of adults who take a multi-vocal approach to authorship and narrator-ship (e.g. who play make-believe with more than characters and plots but with the self-hood of the author). Even if we don’t write, we engage in this play when we read fiction.
I’d push Mitch’s view (that not all forms of play are equal) a bit further: some well-intended approaches in play-based learning are potentially quite harmful. While doing ethnography in play based schools, as part of a pedagogy of play research team, I collected anecdotes related to what I call The Tyranny of Cheer. My first example: at the beginning of a drawing activity, the teacher declares “. . . yellow is a cheerful color”. This comment is fraught with many different biases, relating potentially to race, mood, taste and aesthetics. The comment is made in a culture that values play and which risks, because of this value, normalizing a glib equivalence between play and an easy cheerfulness. How do we guard against this kind of risk?
I think reflecting on learning is so important for students. In my classroom, we play a game called “snowball.” I wad up a piece of paper and pitch it underhand to a student. The students then says something about the activity while others listen and then make comments Then the first student throws the “snowball” to another student who then reflects on their learning. This kind of active listening really helps students problem solve. The “snowball” game comes from Responsive Classroom (https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/) I really like the idea of tinkering and then thinking about learning.
“Creativity is the type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.”
“Any sufficiently advanced form of learning is indistinguishable from play.” - Scott Snibbe
These quotes came from the Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium site:
I like the first one because it reinforces the importance of empowered learners and blurred roles. The second quote implies that learning, done properly, should be fun and self-sustaining/motivating.