Intro to Makerspaces

 

Our students had their first introduction to Makerspaces in the Library. Makerspace in the library is all about dreaming, creating and inventing. The activities focus on  Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art and Math.  Think Legos, K’Nex, Cardboard creations, origami, LED light crafts, 3D MagnaTiles. Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher on Twitter, recently published an article Essential Information on Maker Movement on her blog explaining what the Makerspace Movement is all about.   Sylvia Martinez, coauthor of Invent to Learn, also believes libraries are perfect places for makerspaces. Students can come to a safe learning environment and have the freedom to create and experiment.

This is our first year with Makerspaces in my new library, but my second year using it as a librarian. You can read more about other blog posts here, here and here. In our introductory experience, I opened stations with 3D MagnaTiles, Legos, Snap Circuits, Coding, Magformers, Ozobot Mini-robot, and plastic cups. Students listened to the story Press Here by Herve Tullet, which is such an amazing example of creativity and simplicity in early children’s literature,and then they had time for Makerspace and check out time. Here are some images from the week.image image image image
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Judging from the enthusiasm of the students all week, Makerspaces will be a fun learning addition to our library curriculum.

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Developing Grit through Cup Stacking

Makerspace Monday continues to be a huge hit during our recesses. We have the usual Legos, K’Nex, Duct Tape and MagnaTiles. Then we also have the surprise popular item…..

3D Magna Tiles

3D Magna Tiles

Freebie plastic cups!

When I found a cardboard box filled with 3 ounce plastic cups this year, and included them in our makerspace supplies, I never thought those cups would be second most popular makerspace items in the library. (First place goes to the MagnaTiles seen above.)

cup challenge

The students rush into the library hoping to be some of the first to the containers of cups. Our makerspace rule is first come, first served AND everyone shares. It’s been an engineering stacking and building wonderland.  Everyday one group of students or another asks me to take a photo of their cup structure.

cup tower 3However, watching students learn how to collaborate as they play and build has been the most rewarding piece for me. Sometimes students in different grades construct something together. Other times it is groups of friends. What they are all learning is the importance of collaboration and perseverance. All too often the perfect tower is built and the last cup placed on top sends a cascade of cups to the floor. We are all used to the intermittent screams of frustration followed by, “Let’s try it again!” The groups scours the floor finding all the cups and then starts over again. Sometimes, they build the same structure using different techniques. Other times they build a modified structure based on what they learned through failure. What I never hear is, “I give up!”

cup tower

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Showcasing Creativity

 

I’d like to end the 2014 school year on a super high note by showcasing three students who have been doing some incredibly creative activities at home. It’s one thing to learn how to use a tool. It’s another to take that skill and push the boundaries to make something new and different. These students show creativity, innovation and dedication to their craft.
Meet Kayla

Kayla began coding two weeks ago with the Hour of Code week. She worked through the ice-skating with Anna and Elsa activities on code.org  first.

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Next she figured out how to create these drawings. Talk about incredible! What impresses me about these pieces is the colorful patterning. They are works of art!

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Meet Kaito
Many of our students participated in the PTSA sponsored art contest this year. The theme was “The world would be a better place if….. ” Kaito decided the world would be a better place if we had a clean earth. Using his Legos, iPad and the Lego stop-motion movie making app, he wrote, set up and filmed this movie. He inspired other students at our school to try creating a stop motion movie too.  Here’s a Clean Earth:

Meet Logan
The last student I would like to feature is the Rubics Cube King. Logan can solve a Rubics cube in record time. Hand him one and before you can say, “How did you do that?” – he is finished and the puzzle is solved. I just found out that he helps other people solve these puzzles by making videos. Thanks Logan for making this understandable!

If you know someone at school that I need to feature because they are doing something on their own time that uses technology or literacy (books), please let me know in a comment! Absolutely NO LAST NAMES!
Happy Holidays! See you in 2015!

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Poinsettia Zentangles

Have you ever tried to make a Zentangle?

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Yesterday at Makespace Monday, we created Pointsettia Zentangles. What is a Zentangle?

The Zentangle method, created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, is an easy-to-learn, relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.

Traditionally, zentangles are made on squares of paper, but because of the upcoming holidays, I thought it would be fun to Zentangle a pointsettia. I downloaded this free clip art pointsettia template and made copies for the Makerspace Monday.

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Every student got a paper and a black pen. With the younger students, I used pencils with no erasers so they couldn’t change what they made. From our art teacher, I learned the phrase, “There are no mistakes in art.”

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We had a full house at the K-2 lunch recess (30 minute) with forty students jammed in every part of the library. We had a large showing with the 3-5 intermediate students too. I showed the students a couple basic designs and let them create.

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The K-2 students finished in time to also color theirs. I think the flowers would be fabulous in watercolor, but in the library, I am limited to crayons.

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If you are looking for more information about Zentangle, I recommend the Zentangle website (www.zentangle.com) and the Zentangle Blog (www.zentangle.blogspot.com)

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Some good books include Joy of Zentangle by McNeill, Bartholomew and Browning, Zentangle Basics by McNeill, Zentangle for Kidz by Bartholomew and Totally Tangled by Bartholomew.

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Have fun Zentangling!

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Building the Epic Castle

It’s been an engineering creation zone in the library lately.

3D Magna Tiles

3D Magna Tiles

The MagnaTiles are the most popular item in our Makespace area. Sometimes huge castles are built using every tile available.

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Today a group of students documented the process for building one of their MagnaTile castles, using the Lego MovieMaker app on the iPad.  I received the iPad last spring after one of my Donor’s Choose projects was funded. 

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This Lego app simplifies the process for making stop motion movies.  At recess all I had to do was open the app, hand over the iPad to the students and get out of the way.

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They quickly set up the photography station and worked together to build this castle. In about 20 minutes they had their castle built and movie created.

Here is the building of the “Epic Castle.”

Now I’m wondering what other kinds of stop motion movies will be made in the coming weeks!

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Makerspace Mondays

It’s new! It’s fun! It’s creative!

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What are Makerspace Mondays? Every Monday during the lunch recess students can come to the library and participate in a Makerspace event. Makerspace Mondays are all about dreaming, creating and inventing. The activities focus on  Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art and Math.  Think Legos, K’Nex, Cardboard creations, origami, LED light crafts, 3D MagnaTiles.

In September my Makerspace Monday Magic Donor’s Choose project was fully funded. Within days, the materials began arriving and the fun began. Each Monday, I include the topic for the makerspace event on the morning announcements. Then I post an update on the Makerspace Monday bulletin board with a photo of what we are doing.

makerspace weeklyy poster

The topic rotates from week to week. It is introduced on Monday, and then the students can experiment with the materials all week when the library is open at recess. Sometimes, as in the case of the Duct Tape Roses, the activity is not offered to all grades at all times because it’s not appropriate for the age range of all of my students. I either modify the project or choose a completely different one. The younger students are completely enamored by the Legos and K’Nex right now, so I chose not to offer duct tape crafts to them this week.

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Where do I get my ideas? Mostly through posts from my PLN on Facebook, Twitter and on Pinterest. I can lose hours sifting through ideas for lessons, centers and makerspace ideas on Pinterest. Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher on Twitter, recently published an article Essential Information on Maker Movement on her blog explaining what the Makerspace Movement is all about. I’ve been reading about the idea online for the last year or so, but thought if I didn’t have a 3D printer,  a laser cutter or other expensive equipment, then it wouldn’t really be a “makerspace”. I don’t have a regular classroom, so I couldn’t figure out how Genius Hour could fit with my circumstances. Then I attended the Puget Sound ESD Teacher Librarian Summit, where one of the sessions was on Make Room for a Maker Space. In a video presentation, Sylvia Martinez, coauthor of Invent to Learn, explained that that libraries are perfect places for makerspaces. Students can come to a safe learning environment and have the freedom to create and experiment. Between her explanation and the hands-on projects we did with Conn McQuinn and others, I was convinced. The rest is history.

ad6c3853-c6e2-40f0-808e-8d9facc3c061Is it working? Absolutely! Sometimes I have to limit the number of students who come on Mondays now or it would be too crazy and crowded. I worried about this at first, but then I watched the authentic collaboration that happened every Tuesday. Once a few children learn, they all teach each other during the rest of the week. I’m also getting lots of feedback from students like, “What’s next week Mrs. Hembree” or “That was really fun!” or “I can’t wait to try this at home!” They are continuously asking me to take a photo of their creation and post it on our closed library Haiku Learning page or on this blog.

One STREAM area I have neglected so far has been Technology, not because I didn’t want to incorporate technology, but rather because I’ve had to figure out some logistics in making the technology available to students during recess. The entire month of December is going to be devoted to technology, and especially coding. I’ll be the first person to admit that I know absolutely nothing about coding.  The other thing I’ve ever done is minute adjustments with HTML code on this blog. Other that that, coding is a language that is a complete mystery to me. Luckily, the Hour of Code organization has lots of resources to help out.  Between their resources, what the kids already know and some parent help, I know we’ll be fine.

Here are some examples of the Makerspace Mondays we have held so far this year.

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Paper feather bookmarks

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Plastic cup Tower Challenge

cardboard structures

cardboard square structures

3D Magna Tiles

3D Magna Tiles

legos

Everyone loves the Legos!

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Duct tape roses

What makerspace activities have you added to your library or classroom? Leave a comment and let me know!

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An Origami Adventure

Where are they reading?

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It’s not everyday that you see people reading near hanging origami creatures. Have you guessed where Josa, Ulises and Pakal are yet? It’s in Bellevue, not far from the mall and is a big museum. Yes! that’s right! It’s the Bellevue Art Museum!

 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

 

The boys went there recently and visited the Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami exhibition. This display features the work of 45 master origami artists. The 140 pieces portray the history and evolution of the art of paper folding by artists from around the world. You can learn more about the exhibition here. If you live in the Puget Sound and love origami, maybe you would like to go to one of their crafty Saturday classes. The Bellevue Art Museum is having a series of Saturday classes called Samurai Hats and Tiger Armor. In this class you will learn how to make a Samurai paper hat and foam tiger armor to protect you from fierce ninjas! You have to register for the class and the cost is $2.00. Here is the information link.

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Don’t have time to go to the museum? No problem! Visit your local school or public library and check out an Origami book or two. You don’t even need special origami paper either. The book shown above in our library is filled with examples made out of ordinary household materials.

I wonder if Josa, Pakal and Ulises were motivated to create their own origami. Maybe they can teach me too. An origami station is going to be one of our new MakerMonday recess events. More details to come in the fall, but trust me, MakerMondays will be Science, Technology, Reading, Art and Math Terrific! Legos, K’Nex, Cardboard, origami, LED light crafts….just saying and hinting!

Keep reading and thank you boys for the awesome summer reading photo. Did you know that the New York Public Library is also doing a #IREADEVERYWHERE campaign? Kids and adults are reading everywhere this summer. The New York Public Library even has a temporary  outdoor reading room set up this summer, when it’s not raining of course!

Photo courtesy of the NY Public Library

Photo courtesy of the NY Public Library

You can do it too and send it to our blog.  There’s still a couple weeks left for anyone to send in a photo. The deadline is August 31st, so I can get our poster made for the first day of school. Have your adult family member send the reading photo to:

summer read email pic

If you don’t hear from me for a few days, don’t be discouraged. I’m going to be internet free for a few days. Read tomorrow’s post to find out why.

Happy Reading! Mrs. Hembree

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What do you like to make with origami?

Have you ever been to an art museum?

What book have you read this summer (or winter for our downunder readers)?

 

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