Weaving to Write, Document and Reflect

Blog Post created by mulcasterm on Oct 18, 2016

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to meaningfully incorporate making into the curriculum. I've also been thinking about how to document learning, not only for myself, but provide ways for our students to make the learning process learning visible to themselves.

Burning questions I want to explore:

How can we facilitate opportunties for making across the curriculum?

How do we shift the focus from the product of making to emphasize the learning during theprocess of making?

How do we make thinking and learning visible not only to us, as facilitators but to the students we teach?

I have been fortunate enough to come across some great inspirations (These two  are mentoring me whether they know it or not :).

I stumbled across Angela Stockman's work recently - her website is phenomenal. She is the author of the book Make Writing and has also written some fabulous posts regarding pedagogical documentation in the makerspace.

Another one of my virtual mentors is Laura Fleming - a name that many might recognize. She co-wrote an article with Ross Cooper in September that has been churning around in my mind ever since; fuelling my desire to find relevant  and meaningful ways to get our students to actively
think about their thinking and make it visible.




I am writing all of this because I HAVE A PLAN (for our grade one students) ... and I don't know how and if  it will work.

Let's begin with the expectations.

Our grade ones are currently studying the seasons in Science. The expectations state that students will:

  • describe and compare the four seasons (e.g., in terms of amount of daylight, type of precipitation, temperature)
  • describe changes in the appearance or behaviour of living things that are adaptations to seasonal changes (e.g., in fall, some plants shed their leaves and some birds migrate; in winter some animals change colour)
  • describe how humans prepare for and/or respond to daily and seasonal changes


How can we help facilitate opportunties for making across the curriculum?


I will readily admit I spent a lot of time on the internet looking for things my students can make on a budget. I found  this post on wall art weaving and  immediately wondered: how could I modify it? How could I use the weaving as a provocation for writing across the curriculum? How could I use weaving as a provocation to get students tell a story of the seasons?
How could they weave their own story?

However, I still have questions. The video clip below has a teenage boy explaining why he likes weaving and what skills it helps instill.  However, he makes a valid point that if a student is not interested in weaving - he/she won't enjoy the activity if he/she is forced to do it.



If I use this activity with the whole class, yes they are making, but are they making in the true sense of a makerspace? A place that encourages open-ended, hands-on exploration based on student interest and passions? Or at this early point in the year is it ok to introduce all students to an activity to help build capacity and their skill sets so that there will come a point in time where we can say: "This is the problem/expectation? What tools will you use to show us what you know about the solution?"


Must there be a division between "making" across the curriculum and "makerpaces"? Ideally, I'd say there shouldn't be - but in the beginning of establishing a maker culture, I can't help but draw a chalk line because our students don't yet have the skill sets to know what they don't know.  I certainly don't want to "force" our students to do anything they don't want to do - but it is an experience I want all of them to TRY.


Then I wonder: am I wrong to want them to try weaving? :} I think in grade one, most would be open to this? What do you think?


How do we shift the focus from the product of making to emphasize the learning during the process of making?


How do we make thinking and learning visible not only to us, as facilitators but to the students we teach?


I made a sample weaving project of my own to see if it was feasible; re-mixing and modifying some of the make writing and pedagogical documentation ideas presented by Ross,  Laura and Angela.


Even though I did create a piece of work through weaving, I'd like to think that the woven structure is not the focus of my learning in the picture below. (Please also excuse the typo "of the trees" should read "OFF the trees")


Rather, the weaving serves as a provocation for my writing and my thought processes around my learning.

  • the section at the bottom is the my writing about the season of fall based on the weaving I created.
  • the speech bubbles represent my thinking about my learning process.


The reflection questions are not quite at the level of reflection as those posted by Laura and Ross, but they are a start - and something  we can certainly build on as the year progresses.IMG_1050.JPG




(I think I would get the students to answer two of a series of prompts and build from there - eventually moving into multi-media texts)

I think this is a very important step to take in order to make learning visible  in our classrooms. It is only when we make our students' learning visible that we can make informed choices of where we need to guide them next.