I know I’m a little biased, but I think we have a pretty amazing makerspace. It’s getting bigger – and messier – every day and the kids are creating some incredible stuff. Until recently, the makerspace was pretty contained to the library. This certainly wasn’t to exclude maker activities from occurring elsewhere – it just happened.
While at one of our ELA planning meetings, we were discussing the lack of enthusiasm kids have for writer’s workshop. What was once a time for kids to express themselves creatively, was now a time that kids dreaded. How sad? I loved Writer’s Workshop as a kid. We had to fix this. They had tried creative prompts, incorporating movies and music, but they were still “bleh”.
As we were brainstorming, an 8th grade English teacher brought up the book “Make Writing” by Angela Stockman. Oddly enough, I had just finished reading my advanced readers copy since I’m a member of the Hack Learning VIP program. All of a sudden we both were sitting at the edge of our seats ready to do it!
The idea of Make Writing is so basic that it is genius (but doesn’t it always happen that way).
Think about it…
Writer’s Workshop is intended to give students a creative outlet.
Makerspaces are intended to give students a creative outlet.
Put them together and you have magic.
Three easy steps:
Step 1: We reserved the LGI because we needed a large space. We put all three ELA classes together (approximately 75 students).
Step 2: We brainstormed all of the creative things we could have the students do. We made this Tackk to share the options with students.
Step 3: Sit back and watch 🙂
Below are some images from the fun. And it really was SO MUCH FUN! I’m not lying when I say that 8th grade BOYS were RUNNING to English class. Two days prior a fire alarm could’ve gone off and these boys wouldn’t run. They’d be far too worried about how much “swag” they have when exiting the building “like a boss”. (Seriously though)
So what have I learned?
- The “makerspace” isn’t really a “space” at all. It’s more of a culture and a mindset. In reality, what we call the “makerspace” is really just convenient access to the storage of everything.
- The makerspace doesn’t have to be an extension activity or an add-on. There are so many ways that you can incorporate making into the curriculum. Advice: take the most boring topic you can think of and incorporate making.
- Begin with “suggested” activities to get the creative juices flowing, but don’t limit their creativity to just those activities.
- If assigning a grade, try to focus on the process and the planning rather than the final product. It’s important to stress that mistakes will happen and you only truly fail if you give up. Sometimes the greatest inventions occurred on accident.
Be sure to connect with the three teachers that made this all happen!