Give them Choices??? and Pray !!!!!

It all started this summer, June 2, the day after school ended for the summer. Our curricululm dean forwarded me the results of a survey she made and that she sent to the classroom teachers regarding their library schedule. Granted that the media center was closed all last year due to COVID, I was not surprised at the results. I also was not aware that a survey was even being conducted??? You can imagine my surprise reaction, but I do want to share the replies:

*Visit each classrrom once a month to share a book with the children

*Visit the media center every other week instead of weekly check-out

*Afternoon classes for 30 minutes with story time and check out

*Integrate into ELA/Book Clubs

*Visit each classrrom once a month to share a book with the children

*Visit the media center every other week instead of weekly check-out

*Afternoon classes for 30 minutes with story time an dcheck out

*Integrate into ELA/Book Clubs*Weekly visits (like we have done before COVID)

*Classes scheduled right after lunch or recess to cut down travel time

*Allowing the students to openly visit the library (sending them during reading time)

*Library is not the best use of time – it would be great for actual instructional time (how to identify text features, how to identify reliable sources, choosing books for research, etc.)

*Books need to be leveled with the GRL on the spine so children can easily identify the Just-right-book

*Meet with groups that need more support (perhaps during Reading Workshop time)

*More time for the media specialist to spend with small groups of students for book recommendations

Before I tried to wrap my head around all of these comments, I need to let the reader know the number of classes I would be teaching weekly and the duties assigned to me. There are 25 classes of students weekly from Alpha (3 years old) to grade 4. I have a daily AM and PM duty for the entire year and 2 lunch duties a week. There are only volunteer parents who help with the shelving and check out.

I prayed all summer about this dilemma – how can I be everything to everybody and meet all their wishes while still staying calm and professional?

Through divine intervention, I came up with the idea of giving the teachers chocies! As in the past, they could choose the time they would like to visit the media center, but this year they could use their slot of time in 3 ways:

(1) They could bring their entire class to the media center

(2) They could send small groups of students and I would meet them at the door

(3) They could invite me to their classroom to work with PBL (Project Based Learning or reading or ????)

I asked for a 3 day notice if they wanted me to teach a lesson in their classroom so I could have time to plan.

I start classes next Tuesday, since we had volunteer training this week….so I will keep you posted.

However, I will leave you with a smile on your face with this last comment. Today, at the weekly meeting by the flagpole, a teacher approached me and asked, “Since we are off Monday (Labor Day) we will miss our first library class. Is there anytime during the 4 day week you can make it up?”

As you can see…….I have a long year ahead of me and I definitely need to keep on praying!

A Doctor Who Tardis???

I am not sure if this has happened in your neighborhood or not, but in the early days of Covid 19, when the gyms were closed I did a lot of walking the streets of my St. Petersburg neighborhood. As I walked different routes, I began to notice little houses popping up within a few miles radius. Inside their doors were books and I said to myself, “How nice of someone to put books out since the libraries were also closed at the time.”

I never took a book, but just looked and noticed that book positions changed.

This fact led me to believe that they were being used by some people for sure. This brought a smile to my masked face and my librarian heart.
Now we fast forward to a time when the gyms and libraries are open again…these little houses are still up and running, but one in particular has blossomed into this.

Complete with hand sanitizer! The Tampa Bay Times offered this retired TBT box, which has been scraped, cleaned, and painted.

I decided it was time to investigate and do some research about LittleFreeLibrary.org
and some of the information I found was so amazing I decided I needed to share it, just like good media specialists do everyday.The first one popped up only 11 years ago in Wisconsin, a tribute by Todd Bol to honor his late mother. Mr. Bol’s little unlocked box where neightbors could take and leave books was so popular, he teamed up with a local professor to establish the non-prodit Little Free Library.

Besides providing 24/7 access to books and encouraging a love of reading, did you know…

*There are Little Free Libraries on all seven continents…they just established the first one in Antarctica at the South Pole

I do not think I will complain about reshelfing my books again!

The South Pole Little Free Library was Russell Schnell’s 37th installation. His first one was built for his daughter’s home in 2013 in St. Louis. He has also created libraries for locations like Mount Fuji, Japan; an Aboriginal area in Warrnambool, Australia; and a First Peoples Cree reserve in Maskwacis, Alberta, Canada. His use of recycled materials whenever he can needs to be commended. His passion for these libraries was inspired by not having books of his own growing up.

*They can also be found in all 50 United States and 108 countries

This one, build for their Girl Scout Silver Award, can be found in La Grande, Oregon.

*They just launched the world’s 100,000th Little Free Library book-sharing box?

*They work with authors, publishers, and distributors that share their vision of inspiring readers and building community

*Their library models are weather-resistant, low maintenance, and are all built by Amish craftsmen in America

*Millions of books are exchanged annually

*3 out of 4 people report they’ve read a book they normally would not have read because of a Little Free Library

*73% of people say they’ve met more neighbors because of a Little Free Library

*92% of people say their neighborhood feels like a friendlier place because of a Little Free Library

*They are announcing a new initiative entitled Read in Color to distribute diverse books that provide perspectives on racism and celebrate BIPOC and LGBTQ voices

*They granted more than 1,000 little libraries through their impact Library Program, including 100 speciality libraries since many school and public libraries closed

*Little Free Library was honored to receive the 2020 World Literacy Award from the World Literacy Foundation

*They are a top-rated nonprofit by the Great Nonprofits organization and received Guidestar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency

* They offer deeply discounted books and giveaways for stewards and fans

*They have a shop with a variety of handcrafted library models and accessories

*They are a recipient of the Library of Congress Literacy Award, the National Book Foundation’s innovations in Reading Prize, Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers Award, the Women’s National Book Association’s Second Century Prize, and the Force for Positive Change Award

*Their blog is for Little Free Library Stewards and fans… You can visit it to share ideas, get advice and be inspired by Little Free Library experts posting on a broad range of literary topics.

In closing, I like to share this quote I found on their site. “There’s a growing body of research that shows when you focus on being kind to others, rather than doing things for yourself, you feel happier and more positive. Its’s like the kindness you put out into the world comes back to you!”

You can get involved by starting a Little Free Library of your own or support little libraries full of books to underserved communities.

I wish all of you a very happy, positive, and healthy new year ahead and may your kindness to others make this year the best one of your lives!

Collaboration and Celebration During Covid 19 ???

This school year has been challenging for all of us, for sure, so when it was my turn to write a blog I definitely needed to think outside the box. We have all been so busy with curbside checkout, boxing up sets of books to be taken to the classrooms for the students, as well as supplying materials to any of our students learning from a distance. I am also a “distant” Language Arts teacher for second graders and am responsible for making the daily slide show for them to keep up with their “in school” classmates.This has definietly been a year like no other that I have not ever experienced in my 48 total years in education, both as a classroom teacher for 10 and maker media specialist for 38. A couple of phrases that kept repeating in my mind was that “this is not forever” and the “show must go on.” So when the art teacher approached me and we collaborated in planning a celebration for the Mexican holiday Dia de lost Muertos, The Day of the Dead, we felt this was our chance to make it happen….even during a pademic. One of the traditions in celebrating this day is to erect an ofrenda (altar), as a place of honor for the departed souls of our relatives. Sometimes people put out the dead person’s favorite foods and drinks, as well as candles and incense to lead the “spirit” back. When they return for their yearly visit, they will find things on the altar that they remember-a photograph, a well-loved article of clothing, a hat, or perhaps a favorite shawl.
As soon as all the students in the lower school completed their study of this Mexican holiday, an ofrenda was constructed in our Lower School Media Center. It featured the art work from students in grades Kindergarten to Grade Four, including any students learning from a distance. The offerings included food, fruits, flowers,and photographs to honor the dead. In Kindergarten the students used the resist technique to paint their lively versions of the skeleton and a fiesta. Grade One students learned about the esqueletos (sketletons), sculpting them with pipe cleaners, Model Magic and paper. This art activity also complemented the curriculum alignment of their body unit. Students in Grade Two sculpted calaveras (skulls) and decorated them to represent the sugar skulls. They also cut the calaveras our of colored paper and collaged the facial feaures to create masks. In third grade, the students made coil pots, which served as candle holders for their handmade beeswax candles. They also made small esqueletos (skeletons) with clay to add to the ofrenda. Artists in Grade Four used clay, paints, markers, and ink to create their own interpretations of the sugar skulls.

Our Spanish teachers also were involved by teaching the children the history of the holiday and giving the children in first and second grade the instructions to make paper Cempasuchil (marigold flower) to decorate the ofrenda. Real flowers actuallly would be used by Mexican- Americans families celebrating this day. In fourth grade the students colored their calaveras.

Making sure all the senses would be experiencing this holiday, our SAGE Dining Room provided a treat at lunchtime, too. All the students even tasted the Pan de los Muertos or “bread of the dead”, a sweet bread made especially for this holiday. Sometimes the loaves are even shaped like people and decorated with bright pink sugar. Traditionally, the dough is made without sugar, fat, or salt.
Below are the colorful results of this total collaborative endeavor. Every student was scheduled with their Spanish teachers and Art teacher to walk by the altar and see their work on display. They did an excellent job of practicing social distancing and not touching anything. Hand sanitizer was readily available just in case, too.Their excitement was so evident, especially since it was the first time they had been in the library since last March. I could see their happy faces, even under their face coverings and I know every time I walk by this colorful display, I smile under my mask….even during Covid!

Spotlighting On Diverse Titles in Your Collection Development

Recently there have been many articles on evaluating our collections and adding to them so diverse voices can be heard. In the last edition of Booklist 2/1/20 (pp. 36-37) they listed all the book awards that ALA gives out to recognize books devoted to some form of diversity. In addition, a more expansive list of these children’s book awards can be found here: ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/childrens-book-awards-other-organizations

So in our school we decided to start focusing on various PLC (Professional Learning Communities) and one of them is to develop a bibliography, as well as individual lesson plans for teachers on a variety of topics. I am on a group of third and fourth grade teachers as weel as a Spanish teacher. All of the information we collect will be available on a Google Drive so it can be continually updated and easily accessible. The topics we chose include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Poverty
  • Disability/Special Needs
  • Small Acts of Kindness/Inclusion
  • Immigrants/Refugees
  • Civil Rights
  • Gender Stereotypes

We decided to focus only on using picture books, since they could be read in one class period. We are using  books that we have in the library, as well as in individual classroom libraries. The titles will be listed under those various topics along with the location, ( Dewey Number) or classroom number, for easy access. They can also be found by searching the actual keywords (topics) in our Destiny catalog. We also developed a form for the lesson plan, so teachers can have an easy access lesson to use at their fingertips. It includes the title, author, a focus skill, opening, read aloud, discussion, vocabulary and extension (enrichment).

The focus skill could be:

  • Inferring
  • Visualizing
  • Questioning/Evaluating
  • Making Connections
  • Determining Importance
  • Synthesizing
  • Symbolism
  • Cause & Effect
  • Plot/Theme
  • Identifying Main Idea & Details
  • Compare & Contrast
  • Classify & Categorize
  • Draw Conclusions
  • Determine Fact & Opinion
  • Describe Figurative Language
  • Identify Genre
  • Identify Point of View
  • Make Predictions
  • Sequence Events
  • Describe Story Structure
  • Identify Explicit Information in Non-Fiction Text
  • Summarize

As librarians we can also take it a step further and add our information literacy skills:

  • Brainstorming and webbing
  • Questioning
  • Keyword searching
  • Skimming and Scanning
  • Determining Information Gaps
  • Making Notes
  • Analyzing Text for Perspective or Bias
  • Citing Evidence
  • Summarizing
  • Synthesizing From Multiple Sources

The goal is to enrich the collection with materials that will cover all topics of diversity and make lessons easier for teachers to access. Perhaps some of these ideas can work in your schools and libraries, too. It is one way collaboration is working for me!

Global Libraries – Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Doors

Do you have an ample multicultural collection as well as enough diverse literature for all the children and young adults who are visiting your libraries?
I recently attended a very informative lecture on this topic by Alicia Long, a librarian and supervisor at State College of Florida, an ALA Spectrum Scholar and ALA Emergng Leader. We need to have a plethora of books on social justice and stories on our shelves that can relate to our audience. Whose voices are missing? We need to have bilingual books in addition to bicultural volumes. The books need to create empathy. We, librarians, are curators of stories. As such, we have the power to influence whose stories are represented in our shelves, whose stories are featured in our programs, and whose stories we recommend and promote. We need to constantly ask ourselves why we have stories about whom and by whom? Whose stories are told in children’s books? Who wrote and illustrated those stories?

As you take time to analyze your own collection try  to think about it using these 3 terms:
Mirrors – books where the reader sees themselves – characters like the reader
Windows – books where the reader sees other worlds – characters not like the reader
Sliding Doors – books where the reader enters that world – the reader gets to live the characters’ experiences.

Here are some charts of diversity in children’s books from 2015 and 2018. As you compare them ask yourself if we are there yet?

Another interesting comparison is “Who tells the story? …”By and about”.

Ask yourself whose voice is missing?

Some of the suggestions that were discussed included the following:

*Instead of Heritage Months (Hispanic, Black Histry, Asian-Pacific, Native American)…

             Include #OwnVoices Books – year long displays and programs

*Instead of bilingual stories…

           Include bilingual and bicultural stories or multilingual and multicultural

*Instead of translated popular and classics…

          Include original stories

Instead of representation only in the collection…

          Include representation in programming, staff, performers, outreach

Instead of being defensive (“I try my best”)…

          Include input from insiders and accept criticism

Follow the experts and insiders (see chart) and award winners like ALA, YMA, and more.

I would like to share this powerful quote from Jessamyn West from the USF School of Information, “Understand when you are coming from a position of power and use that power graciously and for good.” We, librarians, have that power….how are we using it?

Some challenges to our readers could be:

  • Read about a character not like you
  • Read a book with a setting not like the one you grew up in
  • Read a book from a genre that you never choose

“All our stories are important and when we share them, we begin to understand each other”…Margarita Engle (2016 Belpre Author Award Acceptance Speech)

The 5 Love Languages…more than a book for couples

I recently was discussing developing relationships with a close professional in the medical field and she recommended that I read the The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. She informed me that even though it was originally written specifically to married couples it would be very worthwhile to read it to help people in all of their relationships. The original book entitled The 5 Love Languages: The Secret in Love that Lasts sold more than 10 million copies. Each year the book has sold more copies than the year before. It has been translated into fifty foreign languages around the world.The author feels the the phenomenal success of this book was that its message focuses on our deepest emotional need: the need to feel loved. For married couples, it provides the insights and practical tools for keeping emotional love alive in a marriage. Thousands of couples have indicated that the idea of the five love languages brought “new Life” to their marriage. He never anticipated that numerous single adults would also read it, but they did and told him how it helped them in all of their relationships. He therefore, wrote the copy I read which is The 5 Love Languages SINGLES EDITION.

According to the author, “Married or single, young or old, every human has the emotional need to feel loved. Nothing has more potential for strengthening one’s sense of well-being than effectively loving and being loved. He reaches out to those never married, divorced, and widowed. He believes our deepest emotional need is to feel loved, and our greatest successes will be obtained by loving others.His book is designed to hlep you do both of these things effectively. The five love languages are:

Words of Affirmation

Gifts

Acts of Service

Quality Time

Physical Touch

Our jobs as media specialists, expose us to many people from various walks of life. Besides all the administrators, faculy and staff we interact with, we also need to relate with all the sudents, as well as their parents. On a personal platform, we also have relationships with our spose, family members, their extended family, neighbors, friends, and other significant people in your life of various closeness. It is not always easy to understand their primary love language and also to recognize our own. The author helps us do both by giving the reader examples of dozens of adults and explaining their journey into their personal lives.He gives us ways to observe our own behavior, observe what we request of others, listen to our complaints, ask the right questions, and provides an actual love language profile that you can take and also give a copy to have others take as well.

The author feels that by discovering your own love language it will help you understand why you feel more loved and appreciated by certain people than you do others. After reading the book I did make a ccipy of the profile to take and give to my own husband. It can be a very helpful tool in explaining relationships, as well as strengthening them.

In closing, I also wanted to add another note about the graph published in the August 21st edition of USA TODAY in case you did not see it. It was entitled : Print is not dead to Gen Z students:

85% say reading physical books helps them learn about history

76% prefer doing reading tasks on papger vs. online

34% say they use physical planners

I always feel information like this is powerful data when justifying our need to keep print a vital part of our collection.

Reflection of a Maker Space…

This has been a big year of moving and changing for me…not only did the entire book collection need to be weeded in half, the library and the makerspace moved in the middle of the year.
So the beginning of the year, my Monday Maker Club had access to the three 3D printers, lots of wood, styrofoam,and tons of cardboard in every shape and size. One student actually made her own pin ball machine, complete with a spring that worked! Several of the boys designed their own swords and shields.They used hand drills to create their masterpieces and from the photos below you can see they were very inventive, indeed.

We had a sink and a microwave so lots of time was spent mixing and making slime, which was always a big choice.  All their projects could be left in the makerspace from week to week until they finished since it was a designated space with an area for storage. I also had a huge walk in closet to store all my materials in addition to my own office complete with three book cases and 4 file cabinets. I was in my glory and did not even know it….until the BIG MOVE!!!

OMG….then it was March and I found myself sharing a closet which was to be a shared office space for me and the tech teacher, along with storage for all my maker supplies, teacher supplies, and media specialst supplies. There would be room for only 1 file cabinet….and I was purging like a crazy woman for sure! Not only that area was smaller, there would be no room for any wood or cardboard and the 3D printers were being replaced with a new one. There would be a sink, but no microwave. The makerspace was actually to be shared with the tech person since it also served as her classroom. This was not the ideal situation for storing any projects from my maker club students….so a new approach had to be taken. Students did not have access to as many materiels and needed to bring “big projects” home if they were not done, since we had no storage for them. It seemed to be quite a dilemma, indeed! How could I run a “maker club” if there was not enough materials for the students to “make.”

Instead of using a 3D printer, students started using the 3D doodler pens I had.They got quite creative and from the photos below they really endulged themselves with perfecting their creations.

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Dogs, rabbits, fish, and birds were being created and learning trouble shooting skills when the pens did not work correctly was a life long lesson of perserverance. Perler beads were taken out of the cabinets and students designed new items. Model magic was used to design scenic pictures as well as crafty items. Clothes pins were being taken apart and added to frames for Mother’s Day gifts. Everyone seemed excited to endulge themselves in their work independently and cooperative learning was also evident.

I was so worried there would be too many restrictions in my new space for the students to enjoy being in the club and doing things differently. I was the one surprised when the last session approached and one of the students made a beautiful doggy tissue holder with a conversation bubble stating: “Always be Happy”. After I complimented her on her creation and took her picture holding it, she held it up to me and said, “This is for your desk. I made it for you.”

“Magical moments” can happen… just try to open your minds and hearts to embrace “change”…I am still learning.

Weeding with a “Purpose”….???

Well, I do not know how you feel about weeding, but I have never seemed to find the “right” time or motivation to do this burdensome job in my library. I have been here for 31 years and have weeded outdated science materials, but never did the extensive job that needed to be done. I always had plenty of shelf space, so why bother ….right???
So when I found out I was actually going to move to a space that was smaller, I started to dread the idea that I was actually being forced to do the job I disliked the most. At first, it was actually fun….getting rid of all the books that were falling apart, had faded pages and all those editions that were not attractive at all. Some of the books actually had dust and mold on them….YIKES!!!
Then the next round was to look for duplicate copies to add to some of the teacher’s libraries. When I still had not discarded enough volumes other teachers tried to help me with this process. They would pull out piles of books they felt could be withdrawn and I would look at what they pulled to make the final decision. I discarded about 25% of what they felt should be taken from the collection. When they were not looking, I simply reshelved the books back with a proud smile, since I knew I was “in charge” of their destiny. So I kept doing this and wondering how I was going to make room for the move to the smaller space….I was actually praying for “a miracle”. Well, God did indeed help me with this challenge…I found out that my school was eagerly partnering with a school in Panama City that lost their library in the recent hurricane. Wow….talk about a motivation to weed now….I grabbed 2 carts and headed for the shelves. I found all those books I had “hidden” and pulled all those second copies….After all, I did have ALL these books and kept thinking about the number of children that had LOST their entire library. All I kept thinking about were these words that I read from that school,”Our library and art building have been destroyed”. There was no stopping me now…and 25 boxes of books later, I was smiling for an entirely different reason. I was actually going to help students I did not even know still enjoy books….what a beautiful feeing!! Please refer to the link below:
http://blog.shorecrest.org/hurricane-michael-donations

I also felt good when I looked at my shelves. The books were not as crowded and they looked brighter and more organized. It seems easier to find books now,too.
Yesterday, a volunteer that was helping shelf books in the library told me how nice it is for him to actually shelf the books and not have to shift books everytime to make room. My words of advice, are not to be like me and wait for a hurricane to hit….take some time every month to look at your shelves and pull some that could make another person’s life richer….After all if your shelves are full….there is no room for new books. And I do not know about you…but I LOVE TO SHOP!! Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Our Personal Experiences + Collaboration = Knowledge for Students

Our second grade teachers do a yearly unit on landmarks and since I attend their grade level meetings, I made a suggestion last year to read the story about Hachicko -the true story of a loyal dog- to all of their classes. I felt it was a great choice since both boys and girls like dog stories, especially real ones they can relate to. In our library collection, I found 3 choices: a poetry book entitled : I Remember Hachiko Speaks by Leslea Newman, Hachiko Waits (a novel) by Leslea Newman and Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog by Paela S. Turner. After reviewing my choices and considering the time element, I choose the shorter story by Pamela Turner. I took some photos from my internet searching with me and went to each of the four second classes to read the story and introduce them to landmarks. Their challenge was to create their own landmark and write a story as to why it should be built. They would be working in groups so collaboration and planning needed to be done together.
After I read the story, we discussed the pain of losing a pet and also the joy the statue at Shibuya Station in Tokyo brings to all those who see it and meet there.
“Imagine watching hundreds of people pass by every morning and every afternoon. Imagine waiting and waiting and waiting for ten years. That is what Hachiko did. He was a real dog who lived in Tokyo, a dog who faithfully waited for his owner at the Shibuya train station long after his owner could not come to meet him. He became famous for his loyalty and was adored by scores of people who passed through the station every day.”
Seeing Hachiko in real life became something on my personal “bucket list” and this past summer I was fortunate enough to check that off. Yes, I really went to the busiest train station and had my very own picture taken with this famous sculpture. It took at least 20 minutes for my husband to take this photo. It is such a busy place and people from all around use this as a meeting place, no atter what time of day or night. I informed the students this year that the original one was melted during World War II, when the Japanese military was desperately short of metals.
In 1947, a few years after that war ended, the son of the original sculptor made a new statue of Hachiko. That is the one I saw.

Other facts about his landmark:
-I informed the students this year that the original one was melted during World War II, when the Japanese military ws desperately short of metals.
-There is a special festival, held every April 8, one month after Hachiko’s death anniversary, when Tokyo’s cherry trees are in full bloom. The Shibuya mayor, police chef, and stationmaster are always there. A Shinto priest performs a ceremony, and Hachiko’s friends come to admire the beautiful wreaths of flowers that are displayed around his statue.
-There is an old photo of the real Hachiko next to the bronze one, which I also saw while visiting.
– In 2015, another statue of this famous Akita Inu and his master, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor of agricultural engineering for over 20 years, was erected at the University of Tokyo, where he taught.

https://theblackalicefiles.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/p1140328.jpg

The legend of Hachiko touched my heart and inspired me as it has inspired thousands all over the world.

Keep Your “Maker” Dream Alive…

Four years ago, I started an afterschool maker club. The concept of a “Maker Space” was fairly new and only 3 students signed up. The minimum was 6, but since the director believed that this was a valuable program, she approved of my very small club. We always started with a design challenge of some kind and the rest of the time was spent on the students “making” their individual projects. Ever since then, every club session has been filled to capacity. In fact, students were turned away once the 10 slots were filled and many disappointed parents told me how their child wanted to be in the club. We now have enrolled up to 20 students from grades 2-4 and another teacher is helping me run the club. There have been groups of students who voted not to have a design challenge so they can spend the entire hour of the club “making”. It is just a fascinating experiece to supervise so many creative minds and watching them making, inventing, and creating. There have been “moans and growns” when their parents come to pick them up because they are so involoved in the making process. I can honestly say there are no discipline problems during this time, since each child is excited about what they are doing and are self directed and vested in their activities.

Recently, one of my students said he wanted to make a boat. For three club periods (3 hours) he designe a cardboard boat made with foam, duct tape and other materials he found in the makerspace. His mother told me how excited he was after the first club meeting. He took the boat home and the next day was running to the library to tell me his boat floated. He put it in his pool that night and he sat in it while his sister videotaped him. He was glowing with pride and excitement. I told him I definitely wanted to see that video. That was also the highlight of my day. Who would have thought a box, 2 rolls of duct tape, and some left over foam could be so important in the learning process of a third grader? I have shared some photos and hope you can find this one.       

I was reflecting on my past teaching experience when I used to have a “hobby day” every Friday afternoon with my self-contained fifth grade class. They looked forward to bringing their hobbies to school to share or work on them. It seems that those students were in fact, early “makers” too! Giving students time to be creative, and have hands on experiences supports innovation and entrepreneurship as well as design thinking. When something does not turn out the way they wanted it to, they learn to redesign it using their past knowledge. These are valuable lessons that will help them be life long learners. Isn’t this one of the reasons we are in this profession? And remember, “What Happens in the Makerspace…..Stays in the Makerspace”. 🙂