Thursday, July 9, 2015

#elemaker The Making of a Makerspace

For the past year I have been percolating how to get a Makerspace in my elementary school.  I am now READY to take on the challenge!

For the past 6 (well.. maybe it is 7) I have been a Team Manager and Co-Team Manager for several Destination ImagiNation teams.  Destination ImagiNation gives students a chance to create and solve a challenge.  The best part as a team manager is I can't interfere and the students have to come up with their own solutions.  What I have discovered; however, is that not all students have the opportunity to be on a team (now granted.. we are going to have 6 teams next year!)

I want to reach more students.. and next year my principal is giving me the space (AND more importantly the TIME!)

My parents posted this quote today on the Buffalo Bookstore page today, and I knew it was time for me to get my ideas on "paper"

In reading the Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and in conversations I find it interesting how varied the ideas on what makes a makerspace.  But the great thing about makerspace is that it really can be ANYTHING!  I work with so many kids that when they see a piece of construction paper they often wait for instructions on what to do with it.  They don't always have a chance to "think outside the box"  Makerspace can be building with electronics, but it can also just be seeing an item and thinking how you can use it differently.  Isn't that we want our students to do? To figure out how to see things in a different light?

Here are my beginning thoughts:
-I want everyone to be able to go through the Makerspace and have a chance to be a creator.
-Although I want all students to have a chance to create I also know how students in the elementary world need a little more structure (not step by step of course with expectations of what the end product should look like, but some guidance)
-I would love teacher buy in

Here is my "plan"- PLEASE remember that this is in the works.. and it is going to take some work.  I want to share my ideas so this way I can get ideas as well.
Best part of this "plan" so far- My principal is not only on board.. but she came up with this idea because she knows that kids need it!
-Since we have 6 weeks- The first week of the six weeks would be welcoming ALL the students into the room. The first week students would hear a book, then see the materials and have a graphic organizer to PLAN what they are going to do. 
ie- Read Where the Wild Things Are- students will then have the opportunity to plan either their own monster or a boat that has to do a certain task.  If those don't fall into what they would work on then they will be able to work on something that entertains them.  I want to do this type of structure because I want to make sure that all students can start seeing objects/items/materials in different ways.
-Weeks 2-6 each grade level will rotate through during a specific part of their day.  Week 2 will be 5th,  Week 3 will be 4th, Week 4 will be 3rd, Week 5 will be 2nd and Week 6 will be 1st and kinder.  Each class will have a certain day (ie 5A- Monday of the 2nd week, 5B-Tuesday of the 2nd week and so on) and to cut down on size A-M the first 30 minutes and N-Z the second 30 minutes during their slot.  The first six weeks everyone will rotate through, but after that it will be based on perfect attendance.
Now you might be saying.. 30 minutes! That is not enough time to create anything! BUT If you think about it.. this is a guaranteed 30 minutes each six weeks.  The makerspace room will be open at other times that will include before and after school. I am hoping to even have some teacher buy in so they can work on their projects at other times as well.  The first week of the six weeks as they all rotate through will be the time for me to get them started, the next time they come it will be for them to create.

Did I mention that I am a planner?

I am looking forward to Podstock next week as it is over Maker where I hope to gain even more ideas! I am very excited to start on this journey.  I also have lots of thinking, learning and collaborating that I want to do.  My #summerofcreating is now going to turn into helping students have a #yearofcreating I can't wait!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, you know I'm ON BOARD with this idea!!

    Have you been to the DMA Creative Corners (I'm sure you have)...they do something similar on Late Night. They'll have a theme. For example, Van Gogh. The paintings will be all around the room. Then, there's a table filled with supplies. That's where we learned how to paint with chalked dipped in tempura paint..very fun, very cool. The instructions were simply - create your own Van Gogh and either share with others or take yours home. Perhaps every 6 weeks you have a theme and then direct the project in that direction but don't be super explicit. Another Late Night, I remember was about constructing. We had to build something for a doll house - something we couldn't live without. I made mini books. Monica made a lounger. Antonio made a table. We then added our pieces to a much larger doll house made of cardboard. It was awesome.

    Also, consider after school activities where parents can participate, as well. Unfortunately, this won't be as popular because a lot of parents have forgotten how to play with creative art. But, it really is fun and maybe it will catch on!

    You also need to think on funding. I REALLY wish we could purchase some artwork from the kids. I mentioned it as a fundraising idea at the last Art Viewing we did at school (couple yrs back). Or maybe have a docent program for parents that want to chip in for art supplies.

    And, have you thought of access levels to supplies? For example, how about computer art? This may be too difficult for the lower grades but completely in the realm of abilities for the older kids?

    Makerspaces have tools, too. Will this have tools where kids could create things like birdhouses, and such. I'm wondering if you could somehow get some help from Loew's or Home Depot from their Kid Building programs. It wouldn't be enough help to gain access for ALL the students but maybe they could sponsor some of the after school activities that would have lower attendance?