Incorporating the Maker Movement into Programs

K'nex free building

K’nex free building

As I’ve been researching and reading up on the Maker Movement, one of the most common things I hear from other librarians and educators is that they aren’t sure how to start, or they’re worried about teacher perception.  One easy way to get your students and teachers exposed to the Maker Movement (or really, DIY in general), is to bring Maker Ideas into your existing programs.

Duct Tape crafts

Duct Tape crafts

Love them or hate them, many school librarians have reading incentive parties or honor roll parties every quarter.  These parties are amazing opportunities to add some Maker activities in.  Before I got to my school, these events were inevitably pizza parties where students sat around, got random prizes, and socialized.  When asked about it, most students told me that they got bored of these parties after awhile and didn’t really try to get in.  So I changed things up by adding craft stations.  Little did I know at the time that this was the start of the Maker Movement at my school.

Retro video games

Retro video games

Our last party had several stations, some more Maker than others.  At one table, students got to free build with our library’s K’nex.  At another, we had several rolls of duct tape available.  I trained a couple student assistants on how to make duct tape wallets, and then they helped the students at the party with theirs.  One student even covered her entire notebook in duct tape!  At another table, we set up an old TV and a regular Xbox.  We had discs with classic video games available for students, mostly Atari and Namco games (my favorite quote of the day, “Miss, can you write me a pass to my next class?  I need to finish my high score on Dig Dug.”)  While the students weren’t actually creating anything with the video game station, many of these students take game design, and it was a great opportunity for them to see the heritage of what they create today.

What DIY activities have your tried at incentive parties before?  What’s your plan for next steps?

Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog She was a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest from 2015-2018. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.


  1. […]  the Perler Bead station that we first started with Teen Tech Week, our DIY bookmark center, the arts & crafts parties that first spurred on our makerspace.  Then in more recent years, the make & takes at our 2015 […]

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