Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constructionism and Learning

As a reading teacher I often think that “generating and testing hypotheses” applies only to Science; however “this strategy is applicable to all content areas” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 202). Students can draw conclusions or make inferences on what they are reading. They also preview and predict when reading a book, whether it is independently or whole group. “Typically, students research a problem, form a hypothesis, and collect data to confirm, deny, or revise their last hypothesis”; therefore this is an ongoing process (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007, p. 210).

In my reading class, students can use project based as well as problem based learning to achieve whatever reading skill we are striving for. This might be a prediction or what is to come in a story. The student could determine the solution as a result of his/her prediction. Using technology to do this would also be a great tool for students. I like to use or have students create PowerPoint documents, slide shows, or even hands-on projects to display the skill and information.

Using Microsoft Word my students created a paragraph where they had one sentence of rhyme, repetition, alliteration, simile, and metaphor and each sentence was a different color. This certainly correlates with the constructionist theory. The students were expected to create a topic and paragraph on their own. If they knew the skills, this assignment came very easy to them, however if they didn’t understand one of them it was obvious they needed to review. Dr. Orey discussed in the video Constructionism and Constructivism Learning Theories that students learn best when they are building something (Laureate, 2007). They certainly had to do this in the assignment described above.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program 6. Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.
Orey, M.(Ed.). (2001b). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from Section: Problem Based Instruction

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD


  1. It is so nice to talk with other elementary teachers... it seems like many of the students in our group are upper grade teachers. They seem to have great ideas about how to implement these ideas. I often find it hard to think of ways to incorporate some of these ideas when I feel so strongly about making sure my students get the basic skills. Each year I find the students to be less engaged in the learning process... they seem to not value education... I mean some do but many don't... I also find teacher are expected to do more with less than they had before...

  2. Mrs. Bowman,

    I completely agree with you. The standards keep getting harder and increasing when students have not had the basic skills needed to move on. Things such as parts of speech even. I try to use as much technology as possible when teaching a certain skill. My students enjoy Grammar Blast, which is an online game that goes over these basic skills. It starts with 2nd grade and goes through 5th grade skills. I use this during the computer workstation. This is an easy way to review as well.