Read this Book: Izzy Gizmo + Giveaway

Read this Book: Izzy Gizmo - This delightful new picture book definitely has a place in makerspaces. It portrays a young girl of color who loves science, experiences setbacks and develops empathy for others.

While I’ve never worked in an elementary school before, I’m always on the lookout for awesome maker picture books.  Picture books are a great way to introduce a lesson or activity in makerspaces.  We even have a whole chart on maker picture book connections in Challenge Based Learning (check out the resources page to see … Read more

SLJ Post: A Student-Designed Maker Cart

A Student Designed Maker Cart | In an article I wrote for School Library Journal, I describe a powerful collaboration that became the Furniture Challenge, where my students designed a cart for makerspaces, which was later manufactured by CEF>

Note: This post is a brief summary/intro of an article I wrote that appeared in the Septemeber 2017 School Library Journal.  To read the full article, click here. The Furniture Challenge Towards the end of the 2017 school year, I introduced a design challenge to my afterschool Maker’s Club that was one of our best ones … Read more

2017 Book Recommendations: 20+ Awesome Books That I Love

2017 Book Recommendations: 20+ Awesome Books that I Love | Here's my book recommendations for books I read and loved in 2017. Plus, what I'm excited to read in 2018.

Being that: a) we’re in that time of year that everyone is looking for the perfect gift, and b) educators will actually have time to read books during the two weeks they get off, I thought it would be a good time to write up a book recommendations post.  These books weren’t necessarily published in … Read more

Why I’m Not-So-Happy With Twitter’s 280 Characters

Why I'm not-so-happy with Twitter's 280 characters | Twitter recently made the switch from 140 to 280 characters. Here's why I think this actually takes away from Twitter's power

Ever since first embracing social media as a tool for professional development, Twitter has been one of my favorites.  Twitter chats played an early role in connecting me with other educators.  I even got my first push to take baby steps towards starting my makerspace from this social network.  I always appreciated the brevity and … Read more

Why I Went on Cultural Tours at #AASL17

Why I Went on Cultural Tours during AASL17 | Cultural tours can be valuable learning and networking experiences during conferences.

When it comes to conferences, justifying going to sessions, keynotes and workshops doesn’t seem too hard.  The learning benefits from such experiences are obvious.  But what about cultural tours, school tours and similar networking events?  These may look like simple touristy or sightseeing experiences, but there’s a lot of benefit to them. This year, I … Read more

Make Your Own Creature Workshop #AASL17

Make Your Own Creature Workshop #AASL17 | I led a Make Your Own Creature workshop at AASL and it was a blast. Here's how to host one.

(Note: Post contains affiliate links.  Actions taken may result in commissions for Renovated Learning) A Creature Workshop Towards the end of last school year, one of my students came up with one of my favorite design challenges:  Make a creature that does something.  That’s it.  This prompt wins for simplicity and the designs that people come up … Read more

What’s Wrong with a Makerspace in a Box

What's Wrong with a Makerspace in a Box - There is a trend in education of selling "makerspace in a box" programs that are meant to handle the planning of a makerspace for you. The problem with these kits is that they don't involve students in the design process of creating a makerspace.

Today, a vendor tried to sell me a Makerspace in a Box.  I’m not going to say who, because I am not about bashing companies and organizations.  It’s my own personal policy to only mention names of companies or products that I actually support.  And besides, there are a lot of companies out there right … Read more