I had my first paid gig to talk about MakerSpace and Maker Centered Learning this past week at Galion schools. I had 4 , 1 hour sessions with teachers, split up by grade bands. I was at the Intermediate School (all are on the same campus) so I sat in on their opening session. They mentioned a “Literacy” push, so I added a slide to my preso about the book “Remaking Literacy” which is about how making (MakerSpace MakerEd MakerCenteredLearning) helps improve literacy skills by having students interactively engage with text in novel ways.
Being a Maker session, I wanted them to make something, so I settled on a name or room placard for their space that showed something about them or the class/room. I showed them my example and explained the parts of it. I gave them a bunch of materials to explore (LED’s & batteries, colored pencils, crayons, beads, buttons, googly eyes, pom poms, pipe cleaners, rubber bands, coffee stirrers, straws, popsicle sticks, colored paper). For the foundation they could choose from the pile of cardboard or cardstock. The cardboard gave them the opportunity to use cardboard tools (ZipSnip, cardboard scissors, canary cutters). I also had my Cricut available for those that wanted to add vinyl (or paper cutouts) and some hot glue guns. I had piles of the smaller materials at the tables, but the cardboard and paper was at a back table, as well as the extra’s of all the materials. Luckily we were in the cafeteria and could spread everything out and have lots of space to work.
I gave them 15-20 minutes to get started with their creations. I wandered around, checking out what was being created and generally chatting about ideas that were coming up. Often there were questions about how to make LED’s work, so there was a nice learning opportunity for some. One person wanted to use the copper tape (which they found in my bins) to make a “paper circuit” on their placard…so we did that. There was a line at the Cricut - hopefully they realize they need more than one Cricut in each building, as well as at the hot glue guns. I had only put out 3 because there was only one table that I could put by outlets. People eventually took some to other outlets and used them on the floor or a stool that they found. You always need MANY hot glue guns. There was lots of socializing, laughing and creating.
After they got going, I started my presentation, giving some foundation about MakerSpace / MakerEd / Maker Centered Learning, but more giving examples of using it in a variety of classrooms to learn content. They continued with their creations. There were various levels of attention being given because of making/presenting happening at the same time. I expected that. I hope this style worked and they all got something out of it. One Principal said she only heard half of what I was saying because she was focused on the making. I kinda think that is okay. What they heard will stick better because they heard it while making.
One hour is not enough to get them everything, but hopefully many got a glimpse and a step forward. The person who brought me in said she could see the smiles and happiness of the people coming out of our session. Maybe that helps with the point that Making is just good for us.
Cleanup took a while. I wanted to sort all the parts that were left over on the tables and get them in the proper containers. I think I might need to go with “miscellaneous bags” in the future. Create bags for each “maker station” of a mish mash of materials. Have my containers at the back for refills or when you need to find certain colors.
Here are some examples of the creations :