Purposeful Making by Tina Hernandez

(written by Tina for Designing Purposeful Making Experiences, Jun 2017)

– What is purposeful or meaningful making? Start with a statement.

Purposeful making drive some deeper understanding toward a stated educational goal.

Journey – How did you arrive at this statement/understanding? What experiences have you had that supported you to get there (at school, in life, etc.)?

If MAKING  can be inextricably connected to driving deeper learning, then it will become the cornerstone of academia, because It calls upon us to inspire a  love of learning with a set of instructional tools that are easily adopted and applied. If we can point to all of the ways that Making encourages the heart AND cultivates the mind, the path from MAKING as an option to Making as central to learning is clearly charted.  

In urban education the sense of urgency to prepare students for college is palatable and the journey long.  Making has so many elements that resist and even undo the “pedagogy” of poverty if it is purposeful–standards-based, life-worthy, and engaging– and leads to demonstrably deep learning as measured by any tool.  If MAKING is framed as  “weapon” of a revolutionaries, one used to engage, build academic confidence, and mastery of knowledge and skills, it is a tool that I will gladly wield in the fight against the injustice of inequitable outcomes.

As an African-American woman, seeing far too many of my people make no attempt at a future in the STEMs field has vast and deep impact, so MAKING is an amazing entry point that must be maximized.  For example, the reasons for poor health in African-American communities is a complex and amorphous thing,  and one simple way to begin to unpack this challenge is to get more African-Americans to go to the doctor regularly. If there are more African-American doctors within a family they can informal consults that will encourage them to seek professional help when it is critical and  when they find the courage to seek answers for the unknown ailment, racial affinity when the enter a large sterile building will go a long way. This is the small change that can turn the corner in a persistent social injustice, so I see MAKING as a weapon, a tool, a key–tinkering alone will not get us to this goal.

Project – Explain the project you worked on at Designing Purposeful Making Experiences & how you shifted it to be more purposeful and/or meaningful.

Open Scrap Play with guiding questions that invite students into a discussion about patterns, importance, and advocacy for cross-racial play.

Tina Hernandez is an African-American mother of three beautiful children and the Academic Mother of 260 amazing Lighthouse Elementary Students. In her role, she maintains a commitment to measurable equitable outcomes for students and believes that all initiatives, decisions, and actions must drive toward this goal.  She believes that this happens best in a joyful, engaging, collaborative community.