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. | RenovatedLearning.com

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

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. | RenovatedLearning.com

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

What if we had CREATIVITY bellwork?

What if we had CREATIVITY BELLWORK? | What if, instead of forcing students through dull worksheets everyday, we created bellwork that allows them to flex their creativity?

  I’m working through Austin Kleon‘s amazing Steal Like an Artist Journal (Check out my review of his book Steal Like an Artist here).  As I’ve been working through the various exercises designed to boost creativity and help you get new ideas, I was struck by how beneficial these types of exercises would be to our … 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

Read This Book: Creative Confidence

Read This Book: Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All | The perfect book for anyone who's ever insisted that they aren't creative. This book explains how we are all creative, and offers strategies and exercises for flexing your creative muscles.

  Creative Confidence I’m always up for reading books that deal with creativity and self-improvement.  Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All certainly did not disappoint in this realm.  Coming from the two guys who started the Stanford d.school and IDEO, I was excited to read about their perspective on creativity and design.  While … Read more

Makerspace Logistics: How to Find a Schedule that Works

Makerspace Logistics: How to Find a Schedule that Works | One of the most frequent questions I get about our makerspace is how we schedule it, ie. when do students use our space? Here, I take a look at how our space is available to students, and offer ideas for finding a schedule that works for your school

During my poster session at ISTE, I must have been asked dozens of times: “When do students use your Makerspace?  How do you organize scheduling?” I am in a magnet middle school on a flexible schedule.  I have a very supportive administration and staff and an enthusiastic student body that’s eager to learn.  I realize that … Read more

LEGO Wall Round-up: Celebrating a Year of Awesome

LEGO Wall Round-up: Celebrating a Year of Awesome | One year after building the LEGO wall at Stewart Middle Magnet School and posting a tutorial, I've collected images and stories of LEGO walls in other schools around the world.

LEGO Wall Round-up: Celebrating a Year of Awesome One year ago today, I put up that last brick and finished building our Epic LEGO Wall at Stewart.  Since then, I’ve been awed and humbled to see so many other schools build LEGO walls.  In classrooms, in libraries, in hallways, on old mobile whiteboards.  I can’t … Read more

Tinkering Fundamentals: Week 6

Tinkering Fundamentals: Week 6 | After the final week of the Tinkering Fundamentals MOOC, I look back and reflect on what I've learned throughout the course.

Tinkering Fundamentals is a massive open online course (MOOC) put on by San Francisco’s Exploratorium museum every summer.  I’m going to be chronicling my six weeks with this course here so you can learn along with me.  See Week One, Week Two , Week Three, Week Four, and Week Five  for more. Wow, these last six weeks have flown … Read more

Valuable Lessons from my First Makerspace Year

Valuable Lessons From My First Makerspace Year | In my AASL Knowledge Quest blog post, I look back and reflect on my school's first makerspace year, including what went well and what could have been better.

Valuable Lessons from my First Makerspace Year In my article for AASL’s Knowledge Quest blog, I decided to reflect on my first year of having a Makerspace in my library.  I started our Makerspace back in January of 2014, so 2014-2015 was my first full school year with a Makerspace, our first makerspace year. Check … Read more