The Need for LEGO Education in ELA

We have a reason to celebrate.

We have a story to tell.

But you must read to the end like I tell my students in email. Only I can’t give you candy.

A student works on his invention during a Social Studies project for our Industrialization Unit.

First, we need to:

Explain the need for LEGO Education in the classroom.

In the philosophy of LEGO Serious Play, separate from LEGO Group, the direction or question should be simple when compared to:

How do I begin to explain the need for LEGO Education in English and Social Studies classrooms?

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I found a way for students to learn with LEGO bricks and other solutions individually. Students were assigned their own bags like a text book.

Educators know that, like classroom expectations, questions and directions should be simple and direct. It does not take away complexity when it comes to encouraging students to explore.

If I begin to go through every resource I’ve found recently, or that has been introduced to me by LEGO Education answering the reason for the need in classrooms; we’d have a novel.

A student shows his interpretation of each informational text structure. Yes, he misspelled “contrast,” and it should be problem and solution, which is why we give students feedback.
This is a closer look at the same student’s compare and contrast where he communicated and wrote about vehicle safety vs. a driver in a wreck. (We’ll ignore the fact his “safe” mini-figure is standing in the car.)

No one wants a novel in a blog, but what I found are resources to support LEGO Education in an English or Social Studies classroom. If you read, you will see I am beginning to drop the SS only because I will finally teach one subject next year!

Each resource leads to the reason why LEGO Education is needed in the classroom. LEGO solutions work just as well for ELA, SS, and Art as they do for Math and Science.

I know, I know …

the world needs more Science and Math teachers.

We also need STEAM embedded in the English classroom.

This is a student who at the beginning of the year struggled with getting ideas on paper. With The Giver, he communicated the plot through the diagram, as a literary elements’ review, and with a simple build. Students understand the concept of a bar graph, and then they reach an interdisciplinary thought that you can turn a bar graph into a plot diagram.

The resources I found thanks to LEGO Serious Play, and those introduced to me by the LEGO Master Educators’ Program give me something I did not have in the beginning:

the answer for why LEGO Education is needed in the classroom, the scholarship, and a how-to that can be adapted for the English or Social Studies classroom.

Someone wiser than me always says, “If you use a tool, you’d better have the educational philosophy to back it up.” When I first started with LEGO bricks in the classroom in December 2019, I knew educational philosophies behind STEAM. LEGO Education happened to be one of the main paths I chose for my classroom.

Builds with LEGO bricks do not need to take a long time, or be complex because the ideas students communicate present deeper thought and an investigation into complex questions and answers on the part of the student.

We need STEAM in the ELA classroom to:

  • engage students in twenty-first literacy skills,
  • encourage them in conversation with those communication standards,
  • support the design process,
  • transform video players, SnapChat enthusiasts, and TikTok dancers into future innovators,
  • reveal how writing is a real world skill in a career,
  • build a representation or meaning of vocabulary words,
  • use coding skills with technology for LEGO robotics and engage in writing with LEGO coding (We’ll discuss more on this idea in another post.)
  • build a representation of text structures and how the author organizes nonfiction and fictional texts,
  • and the list goes on … and on … and on …

Resources I’m Currently Using

I’m researching, writing, and reading the scholarship and practice already in place to help me advance my work as a LEGO Master Educator. I plan to adapt the scholarship and books into an ELA resource for my classroom.

A student’s build to represent chronological text structure.

1

Mastering The LEGO Serious Play Method 44 Facilitation Techniques by Sean Blair

While LEGO Serious Play is designed to train employees and management teams at corporations, like Google, globally; the teaching process pairs with educational practice and philosophy. The author advises those who are new to LEGO Serious Play to read Serious Work first.

I couldn’t help but cheat and start in the middle of a series. I’m devouring this book the way I used to get into The Hunger Games series.

2

The LSP Method by Michael Fearne

This is very reader friendly, and the opening will make you laugh. I just started this book, too, and it is available on Kindle. Just like with Mastering the LEGO Serious Play, the methods in the book match educational practice.

3

If you really want to dork out like me, read some scholarship with “How to Use LEGO Serious Play as a Gamification Teaching and Learning Framework?”

I like that you can download this paper as a PDF and read it. If you, like me, have not fulfilled your LEGO researcher’s heart to the fullest, check out all of the sources at the end of the paper. I also like that is part of an open source project.

4

Go to the website, https://seriousplaypro.com/

It mentions all of the materials I wrote above. When I first go to the website, I’d start with “For Newcomers.”

5

As a LEGO Master Educator, the most important resource that puts all theory into educational practice is LEGO Educational Professional Development.

This summer, I plan to complete the professional development with the LEGO BricQ Motion Prime. This is a wonderful new addition to our classroom.

A Reason to Celebrate

I geeked out at all the materials I discovered and learned about from LEGO Serious Play and LEGO Education. They all lead to the answer of why in our classrooms.

Yesterday, I wrote about how after a series of nightmares, I was encouraged to return to my original purpose last May before Corrie, my daughter, died. I started to return to the research, reading, learning, and writing about the practice. When I felt that excitement, I slept well.

A student is excited over LEGO Community arriving thanks to a previous Donors Choose grant.

Then I woke up and saw my classes’ Let’s Go and Grow Donors Choose had been fulfilled by a wonderful person I’ve never met from Austin, Texas.

I’m naturally skeptical of such ideas, but maybe …

just maybe

Corrie sent me a sign to say, “Keep going, Mommy.”

My daughter, Corrie, in May of last year.

A special thank you for everyone from parents to friends to family to people who support what we do in our classroom for donating to Let’s Go and Grow as we expand to a four person team next year.

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