Thursday, March 9, 2017

March is for Making: March 9 -Makerspace as Studio Community

At Bristol Elementary School, MAKERSPACE is SPACE in the day for MAKING and a MINDSET.

Librarian, Kyra Ginalski,   makes sure that there is dedicated time  in the day for students to make and that students are working on their maker mindset. She also welcomes students during recess and break times to finish up creations they started during her dedicated maker studio time.

Sometimes teachers consult with her for science projects, sometimes students reach out to as a mentor while completing a project, and sometimes other enrichment teachers collaborate with her on projects.

Kyra has a small budget for materials and tools that she stores in the library, but she primarily relies on donations to build up her collection of materials students can make with.

At Bristol Elementary, students in grades 5 and 6 have a "unified arts" block on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for one hour in the morning. In the beginning of the year, they choose from workshops offered in visual art, music, wellness/PE and enrichment.  Each workshop meets for 10 to 12 hours total.

Makerspace is one of the workshops that Kyra offers in the enrichment category by me.  She also  offer workshops in stop motion video, coding with Scratch, vlogging, cartooning and book trailers.

All of the enrichment offerings are taught as "studios/communities of makers". Students and teachers identify as a

a community of filmmakers,
a community of cartoonists,
a community of coders,
a community of makers.

The community rules are:

Be Safe,
Be Curious,
Be Creative,
Be Kind.

Our motto is:  

"the person who makes no mistakes usually doesn't make anything".  

Much of the time is self-directed work time, where student experts help each other, use video resources, handouts and a teacher or librarian as mentor.   

In her makerspace studio, Kyra sets  challenges and limits, and model giving feedback.  She sometimes she stops the individual work to check in with the group.

Kyra also offers  mini lessons on how to use equipment or share safety or workflow  tips.

This is right in line with beliefs that  Dale Dougherty expresses in Free to Make - where he believes that teacher lead time in a makerspace should be reserved to short skill building lessons  and safety lessons.    

It’s so easy to see that this approach is paying off when you listen to how articulate the students are in describing what making means to them!

Listen to the these articulate students describe what makerspace means to them!

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