As a powerful response to the rigidity of curriculum that has overwhelmed our nation’s schools during the last couple of decades, Maker Spaces are popping up in communities all over. Many of these are stand-alone locations, but more and more are becoming expansions to libraries, museums, and schools.
In a recent video that I did for @GustafsonBrad’s #30secondtake Challenge, I mentioned that “making” is not about the space, but the time. Time to create, especially during school hours, has become an endangered species.
In an attempt to head off the extinction of creativity, I applied for several grants during the past year. I do have the good fortune to have an empty classroom next door (which my students named B.O.S.S. HQ – Building of Super Stuff Headquarters), which was great for the 50 or so students that I service in the Gifted and Talented program. But what about the rest of our school? With the materials purchased with these grants, participation from many more students is possible.
So, Phase II of my grand Maker Studio plan was to start a Maker Club that meets once a week after school. Students in 2nd-4th grades were allowed to apply (5th graders already have several other clubs to choose from), and we randomly chose 24 students from over 40 applications.
I say, “we” because two awesome teachers graciously joined me in co-sponsoring the club, and I am very thankful for their help! Our first club project has been the Global Cardboard Challenge, and having three adults to help out 24 students as they chop through cardboard is a great boon. (See yesterday’s post for some awesome tools that you might want to stock up on for participating in the challenge.)
After the Cardboard Challenge, we are going to do programming, video creations (including green screen and stop-motion), and electric circuits.
Phase III is to have some of these students trained as leaders so other students can visit B.O.S.S. HQ during the school day – probably during recess time. I’m also hoping to collaborate with our librarian to devote a center in the school library to making.
I was thrilled to have the majority of the parents who filled out paperwork for Maker Club offered to help out during club meetings and other events. Getting the community involved is definitely part of my vision as well.
If you are interested in learning more about Maker Spaces, particularly in an educational setting, check out my Pinterest Board here!