Monday, April 28, 2014

Closing the Gap with Legos!

Back in March, I read an article that argued that we are losing the attention of male students in the classroom. As a few educators and I discussed this problem, an idea that surfaced was using Legos to provide opportunities for all students to engage in what we're learning. So I jumped on that idea and logged into Donors Choose and started writing a grant proposal.

Below is what I wrote to attract potential donors:
"How will you show GRIT today?" That's our school theme of this year (and quite possibly every year from now on). We are choosing to persevere every day, even when it's hard because that is the biggest predictor of success!
My students are from diverse backgrounds. They love to collaborate and challenge one another's thinking. Students in our school receive free and reduced lunch and have a plethora of issues poring into the classrooms, but the adults in our school make it about the successes of these children! They have a great potential to not just merely survive in the real world, but succeed and impact life on the outside of our building walls.
Have you heard about the gender gap? Did you know that our boys are losing interest in schools?!?! We make them sit down, read a book, respond (talk or write) to the book, and so forth. These are activities in which boys normally dislike! So why aren't they engaged in school, we ask?
I am asking for Legos so that our boys will have a chance to rip apart, build, design, create, demolish, recreate, and put in motion what they are learning. And I bet these Legos won't be interesting just to boys! All students can be engaged in their learning by doing! Kinesthetic learning is so important for young children!
Legos can open the doors to robotics, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) projects, literacy, and so much more!
Students of all diverse backgrounds will have a chance to take apart, put together, create and/or recreate designs that will challenge their minds. They will have all kinds of options to demonstrate their learning: creating a Lego representation, making a stop-action movie with Legos, and so forth.
This project makes me excited because it has the capability to reach the learners who aren't always excited to be engaged with a book! Girls, boys, readers, non-readers, everyone!
This project was funded within a month! And when my students found out, they were excited...but the excitement was more apparent once they were able to use them for a free-create session!

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