“We must teach competencies rather than content. Students must learn how to solve problems and face new situations.” – María Florencia Conforti, Argentina
María Florencia Conforti
Belgrano Day School
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) María Conforti may teach English literature and grammar, but she’s just as interested in helping her students learn how to think. And when she taught the novel Pax last year to her fourth grade students, she put that approach to the test.
“After reading the novel, I asked my students to make an object that might be useful for any of the characters in the story,” Conforti explains. “They had to use simple materials such as paper, cardboard, pieces of cloth, bottle tops, empty Nespresso pods, straws, sticks and so on. I also asked them to record a short video describing their object and explaining why they thought it was a good choice. We made a digital class portfolio which we later used to promote the book to the other kids at school.”
What her students produced in solving this rather complex assignment exceeded her expectations.
“I had thought of many possible [objects] that my students could come up with, however, I was completely surprised when I saw their productions,” she says. “Their thinking process [had been shaped by] my everyday efforts to foster the development of creativity and problem solving skills.”
Connect with María on her Microsoft Educator Community profile.
About María Florencia Conforti
- Educational background: English Teacher, Diploma in Education Management (FLACSO); in progress: Master’s degree in School Administration (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella); Thinking and Learning in the Maker-Centered Classroom Course (Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Skype
- What is the best advice you have ever received? Try hard! It doesn’t matter how much time it takes you to do something, the important thing is to make a big and constant effort to achieve your goals.
- Website I check every day: Worlds of Learning, Microsoft Educator Community
- Favorite book: Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager