Sunday, November 9, 2014

Maker Space Magic

"Learning is experience. Everything else is just information." 
~ Albert Einstein. 

"I never thought I'd say this but I don't want to leave school! I just want to keep on making stuff!" 
~Arial, 5th grade.

"I learned something new today!"

 The Maker Movement is a BIG idea in school library media right now and in education in general. I have watched the MAGIC of maker spaces happen right before my eyes over the past few months. I've placed a few pop up maker spaces such as snap circuits or Legos paired with the Lego movie maker app in library centers each week. I expected these to be popular centers (and they were!) but I was surprised at how they also drew students into the media center for "how to" books and books about electricity, art and building.

I've been following this maker movement for a while now from educator gurus on Twitter, school library media conference sessions and numerous articles in School Library Journal and other sources. I've found numerous creative and useful ideas for creating maker spaces on Pinterest.

When the reading committee at my school was trying to plan a meaningful reward for students who met their reading goals. We knew a Maker Day would be the perfect fit! Our students are so often have to follow formats and formulas that they just don't have many opportunities to create and work on projects that inspire them to learn something new.

 Creative thinking is a life skill that is often missed when standardized tests drive curriculum. The Maker Movement recognizes the potential of empowering our students to dream, design, build and create. More and more careers require creative thinking and authentic problem solving skills. What better way to nurture life long learners than by providing resources for them to do just that!
We named our maker day "Creating Coast to Coast" in keeping with our year long theme, "Read Around the World in 180 Days." We asked for donations for supplies from parents and staff and purchased the remaining needed supplies knowing that what ever was left over would go towards a more permanent maker space in our school.

As the big day approached, students viewed a short video about the maker spaces so they could make informed decisions when they signed up for their favorites.
 Student Choices for Maker Day:

Design Lab: Design your own jewelry, paper crafts or paper airplanes, craft with duct tape or try your hand at interior design using templates and graph paper.

Construction Zone: Use building blocks and other materials to build your dream house, bridges, sky scrapers and more!

Digital Maker Space and Tinker Lab: Use online resources to create your own digital projects OR use tools to take apart a real computer and other equipment.

Knitting: Use yarn, knitting needles or looms to learn basic skills needed to make a hat or scarf.

Litter Bugs and Marble Run: Use recycled materials to create something new OR design and test a marble run or maze using recycled materials.

Art Studio: Use paints and brushes and paper to create your own master piece while listening to music. Then join the gang to make a collaborative masterpiece on canvas to display in our school.

Photography and Movie Making: Join the paparazzi as we take pictures and video around the school. Use iPads to create a photo collage or iMovie. OR make your own miniature movie set using plastic creatures and kinetic sand and direct your own movie.

Kindergarten students who signed up for movie making used kinetic sand in a large plastic container and plastic animals, trees and rocks to create their own movie set and story about two liztards, Lizard Jane and Lou Lou, and one creepy spider who became friends. They filmed and edited their movie on the iPad using iMovie.
The maker spaces worked their magic inspiring students to think outside the box, explore new ideas, problem solve and ask questions. Of course, the most frequent question of the day was, "When can we do this again?"

Maker Spaces do not have to happen all in one day, but when they do, it's maker MAGIC! Starting with a maker day was a great way to introduce the concept of maker spaces to our students and faculty. The maker day helped build excitement and ideas for the design and implementation of our future school maker space. Until then, mini maker spaces will continue to "pop up" in the media center for students to explore before school and during library centers.

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