Start Here

First time here? Welcome!

There’s a lot of great information and resources here on Renovated Learning, and it can be a little overwhelming at first.  This page is a great way to get started.  There’s a little backstory to the blog, advice on how to navigate, and links to some of the most popular posts.  Enjoy!

Start Here to explore the awesome

A little about the blog & me

I’ve been a teacher librarian since 2010.  I blogged on and off for awhile, but in 2014 I began to blog regularly as a way to thoroughly document the creation of the makerspace at Stewart Middle Magnet in Tampa.  As I went through this makerspace journey, I began to gather together resources and post advice here.  Eventually, I changed the blog name to Renovated Learning to reflect that this blog is about rethinking, remaking, and renovating learning and how we create learning experiences as educators.

Want to know even more?  Check out the About page and read my Manifesto.

How to navigate

The menu bar at the top of the page is a great place to start, as it contains some of the main information on the blog, including the About page, Our Makerspace Journey, links to presentations I have done, curated resources and contact information.  You’ll find links to my social media pages, a search box to find specific articles, and categories. (Note: This menu bar doesn’t always show up on mobile devices)

Whenever you’re looking at the blog feed or an individual post, you’ll see a sidebar on the right.  This includes my social links, newsletter sign-up and blog e-mail subscription sign-up.  Check out the posts below to see some of my best work.

I’m someone who’s interested in…

Starting a Makerspace

5 QUESTIONS to ask yourself when planning a MAKERSPACE | Many educators want to create makerspaces in their schools but aren't sure of where to get started. These five questions can help you to start the planning process and figure out where you want to go. |
Defining MAKERSPACES: What the research says: After receiving criticism that my space was not a "real makerspace", I decided to draft my own definition and take a look at how research defines makerspaces.
How to Start a Makerspace When You're Broke
Advocating for Makerspaces in Libraries
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.
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. |
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.
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. |

Rethinking My Learning Space

6 Active Learning Spaces Your Library Should Have | On AASL Knowledge Quest, I take a look at six types of active learning spaces from the book, Get Active. I describe how these spaces can be implemented in modern school libraries and why they are essential
3 Ways Whiteboards Can Make Your Space More Awesome | Whiteboards and writable surfaces are far more than just instructional spaces. By creating unconventional whiteboard surfaces with whiteboard paint and whiteboard topped tables, we can transform how our students interact with our spaces. Here's 3 ways whiteboard surfaces can be used to make your space more awesome.
How to Build an EPIC LEGO Wall | Follow along with this detailed tutorial to create your very own EPIC LEGO Wall. Great for libraries, makerspaces, classrooms, bedrooms, offices or anywhere awesome. Bonus printable in post too! |
6 Ways to Rethink Your Library Space and Make it Amazing | Over the course of five years, I've worked to renovated and redesign the library at Stewart Middle Magnet. Here, I share what I learn in six lessons that you can apply to your own library or classroom.

Growing as a Professional Educator

How to create a KILLER CONFERENCE PROPOSAL | Advice I've learned from submitting proposals to AASL, FETC, ISTE + more.
How to LET GO of FEAR and Put Yourself Out There | It can be so easy for us to downplay our achievements, to be scared of the criticism of others, and to never share our voices. But I feel that it is vital for us to put ourselves out there, take the risk, and share our stories. |
10 Tips for Surviving & Thriving at Conferences | Whether you're a seasoned conference-goer or a conference newbie, this post is for you. I've been to lots of conferences and I've learned how to make them better through trial and error. Here's my 10 tips for surviving and thriving at your next conference.