How to Organize Your littleBits Collection

How to Organize Your littleBits collection | In this post, I detail my strategies and best practices for organizing a collection of littleBits. My school has a ProLibrary and 800 students, so finding an effective organization solution was critical.

How to Organize Your littleBits Back in the summer of 2014 when our makerspace was really starting to take shape, I won a littleBits ProLibrary in their Summer of STEAM contest.  The library came with the now optional wall storage but I knew that I didn’t have a wall space where I wanted to put … Read more

How to Run a Rubber Band Launcher Challenge

How to run a RUBBER BAND LAUNCHER CHALLENGE: Includes suggested supplies, skills that help, ground rules to set and recommended resources for running a Rubber Band Launcher Challenge in your makerspace.

If you’ve been following Renovated Learning for awhile, you might remember the Catapult Challenge my Stewart Makers Club did last year with Colleen Graves’ students at Lamar Middle School.  My students had SO MUCH FUN with that challenge, although I always felt like Catapult Challenge was a bit of a misnomer, since our students’ creations … Read more

Make & Takes: Let Students Own the Learning

Make & Takes: Let Students Own the Learning | Many makerspaces tend to emphasize tech and tools that have to stay at the school. It's important to balance that out with activities that students can take home as well. Arts & crafts, cardboard challenge and other activities can be great make & takes for students. Also, it makes for awesome advocacy when parents get to see what your kids are making. |

Make & Takes Build Excitement & Engagement A few weeks ago, I was meeting with a group of girls to plan activities we want to do with our STEMgirls club that we’re starting.  They had tons of great ideas and suggestions: “We want to learn how to sew and make beds for an animal shelter” … Read more

Teaching the Design Process in Makerspaces

Teaching the Design Process in Makerspaces | The Engineering Design Process is a series of steps that engineers (and other designers) take when creating a product or idea. The steps of this process fit in perfectly with makerspaces. In this post, I talk about collaborating with one of our science teachers on a lesson on the design process.

Stewart Middle Magnet is a STEM magnet school.  Part of the curriculum comes from Project Lead the Way, including classes in engineering, robotics and aerospace.  The Design Process is an important part of that curriculum.  It also ties in beautifully with what we do in our makerspace.  So it made sense for me to partner … Read more

Read This Book: The Art of Tinkering

Read This Book: The Art of Tinkering | This amazing, beautiful designed book looks at the importance of tinkering in the creative process. It includes profiles of artists, project tutorials and lots of examples of tinkering in the fine arts. |

The Exploratorium & The Tinkering MOOC The Exploratorium is an amazing hands-on science museum in San Francisco.  They created a makerspace for their patrons called The Tinkering Studio.   I participated in their Tinkering MOOC this past summer and it was a fantastic experience.  They published their book, The Art of Tinkering, back in early 2014. … Read more

The Value of Guided Projects in Makerspaces

The Value of Guided Projects in Makerspaces | Guided projects are excellent for providing students opportunities to learn and develop their skills. As they improve by working through these projects, they are empowered to pursue open-ended projects. |

Learning How to Knit I’ve been a knitter since my best friend in college first gave me a set of needles and taught me the basic stitches. This was back in 2002. When I first started out, I needed a lot of help and guidance. I would check out books on knitting from the public library. … Read more

How to Run an AWESOME After-school Makers Club

How to run an AWESOME After-school Makers Club | I've run an after-school Makers Club at my school for the last two years. Learn my tips on setting norms and routines, balancing guided projects & free time, building in reflection and sharing your projects with the world.

When I first started up my makerspace at Stewart, I knew that getting students in there after school would be the ideal time to really dive deep into projects and develop a community of makers.  During those first six months, my school didn’t have afterschool clubs but was piloting during school clubs with 6th graders, … Read more

5 Makerspace Books You NEED to Read

5 Makerspace Books You NEED to Read | In my AASL Knowledge Quest post, I talk about the five Makerspace books that had a huge influence on me when I was first starting our makerspace in 2014. |

What are the best Makerspace books to read? I’ve got a new post up over on AASL Knowledge Quest where I talk about the 5 makerspace books that had the biggest impact on me during my first year of starting a makerspace at my school.  Check out the excerpt below: I want to take a … Read more

The 2015 Cardboard Challenge

The 2015 Cardboard Challenge | Every year, we participate in the Global Cardboard Challenge in our makerspace as a part of our afterschool Makers Club. Here, I talk about some of our projects as well as some best practices I've come up with. |

Yes, I realize that the official Global Cardboard Challenge happened back in October, but cardboard is timeless 🙂  I did actually hold the Cardboard Challenge in our makerspace with my students in October, but between FAME and AASL, I hadn’t gotten around to blogging about it.  So here you go. About the Cardboard Challenge If … Read more

Read This Book: Making Makers

Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of Innovation | This book takes a look at the childhood expereinces of many prominent makers, and looks at what common factors they had. It also offers advice for helping raise the next generation of makers.

“What is a ‘maker’? Quite simply, makers make things. Some makers build robots, some sew clothes, some prepare food, some design tools, some construct houses. ‘Maker’ isn’t a title conveyed after passing some test or degree program; rather, it is a self-identification.  It’s also not, by any stretch of the imagination, a new concept.” In … Read more