Eighteen months ago, I was just getting started on my road with Makerspace. I had taken a couple of classes with my district, and I had decided that this would become a part of my course (Teaching Recycling.) As a first grade teacher, I had not gotten a solid rotation (center) schedule before this time. For the first month and a half, I played around with the plan, and I was hooked. My students were too- they loved to create and design things with the reusable materials that I had stored from before and The Welman Project (a place to get free stuff for teachers.) Then we had to decide on an innovation project, and I decided that makerspace would be great to do. Little did I know that I would go into so much depth with all of the classes that I would take in Digital Learning and Leading road.
I have always loved to go to Pinterest to get ideas for my classroom, and this is where I started my research of makerspace. The opinions in Pinterest gave me the topics that I wanted to research about makerspace (this is the original Literature Review)- ownership of learning and exploring, collaboration, and creating and experiencing the real world. The proposal had some examples of what was going on in the classroom. I loved seeing what was going on in my classroom. I felt sad that I had not started this project earlier so that each student who was in my class could experience makerspace. That is why I wanted it for the whole school. (See Proposal with the first implementation outline)
In Creating Learning Environments, I realized that makerspace was something that my parents had my brother and I do growing up (see Learning Philosophy.) It was a natural part of being a constructivist and have the students “learn by doing.” I allowed myself to “let go” and let the students choose their own learning. The “letting go” crossed over to math, where I was able to teach concepts that were beyond a first grade or allowing more time for the students to work on that concept. The 3-column table and UbD lesson plan was a chance for the students to a more deeper purpose when going into the makerspace while working with the theory of design thinking. I was able to use the 3-column table method with my Makerspace Club group as they designed a disaster-proof structure. I loved how the projects turned out. (During the Call to Action in a later class, I have pictures of the projects.) We were also asked to think about Growth Mindset, and I saw how vital makerspace was in this concept (which will lead to my action research plan- 7 months later.)
Leading Organizational Change was the class that made me think “why” in a much deeper way. Also that I needed to talk to my principal about putting a makerspace in our school. Watching Sinek (2009) made me realize that to get the trust and loyalty from others, leaders need to start with the “why.” I developed a WHY, HOW, WHAT for makerspace. The video of Sinek (2009) has also been shown at other district classes (diversity in equity), and I have realized how important “the why” is for everything. Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan, & Switzler (2013) gave me great ideas of influencing people that focuses on motivation and ability in personal, social, and structural level. At this time, I had not talked with the principal. This assignment motivated me to speak with my principal, where she said that she was excited to have makerspace be a part of our applied learning school. I had been talking to some of the teachers about makerspace. I asked them to be part of the team that would use the 4DX book that McChesney, Covey, and Huling (2012) had written to execute the plan of makerspace. (One teacher changed positions, and another one left the school.)
In the class of Professional Learning, we were asked to make up an implementation plan where I put dates together with links of videos or projects in the different phases of makerspace. I was able to put everything that I had worked on to this point, and this made me incredibly proud of what I had learned up to this point.
In the next class, we extended the Literature Review, and I loved finding more about Makerspace globally. (I also think by this point that I felt like I was an okay writer and felt more confident in my research.) I thought it was refreshing to find out that countries call makerspace a different name like fab labs, hackerspace, Chaihuo, and Makerskola. I was able to have four of the teachers go see another Makerspace room (from a school in my district) with the principal’s small push. This allowed me to start the first phase in the implementation outline from the last class. I had the teachers tell me the positives and ponderings about the room. I was able to put this information in the Call to Action Prezi Video along with pictures of their room and my makerspace club students. This is also the time that I found out that my principal was retiring. I knew at this time that the makerspace probably would not be happening in the timeline that I had started. (See Post)
Earlier in the classes, I realized that the growth mindset was a part of makerspace. So when we were to extend our research for our action research plan, I focused on the impact of growth mindset on the use of makerspace in early learning grades (and added that it would increase math MAP test scores to get the quantitative data.) This led me to add to the literature review, where I got to see the growth mindset in even a better light when thinking about it with makerspace. (See also the outline and the action research paper.)
The next class had us make an online course, and I picked the topic of “Intro to Makerspace.” This allowed me to revisit the videos and articles that I had looked at for the three Literature Reviews. I got more excited about sharing makerspace, and I thought that I probably needed to put this online course in the Professional Learning Plan. (With the start of school at that time, I did not.) If you are interested in seeing this online course in Google Classroom, please comment on my website, and I will send you the code. (Here is the outline for the course.)
In my last class, we were asked to write a journal article, and I, of course, picked Makerspace and how it would allow more ownership for the students. I have not sent it into the journal...YET.
Traffic has Come
In all my classes, I have learned that I can communicate a better way than I did before. I know that everything has been my own words because it has come through my heart and soul. I have been able to use different ways of presenting like iMovie, Prezi, and Google Classroom. Knowing this makes me also a little scared about pushing to talk to my new principal (who was the Assistant Principal before in our school) about makerspace. I know that there are a lot of new things being implemented by her, and I do not want to add something else. I do know that she likes how I am using makerspace to add to the applied projects in the classroom. (Example- Marketplace Day: the students designed products and got to “sell” them to parents and other staff in the school.) I know that she has a “buy-in,” but I do need to sit down with her and find a spot in our school to have the makerspace room. (I should probably use the ideas I learned in Crucial Conversations.)
After the Traffic...Thoughts about the Road...So Far
I know that the standstill of getting the makerspace room does not mean that our school will not get one. It just means that I need to sit down with the principal and see how we can work the plan to have a room where all students can participate. It might also be talking to the PTA and see how they could help with this innovation plan. (Most all of the board members have had at least one of their children in my class when it has had the makerspace area.) I need to go back and look at the times that I did the 4DX plan and realized that it is not me; it is TEAM MAKERSPACE. The influencer strategy will let us think about how to get the teachers involved. This will allow us to “think smarter and not harder.” I know that the teachers have a lot on their plate with new things that the district and principal want us to do, but I want them to have makerspace be an outlet that they can go and relax (maybe make something cool.)
Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
McChesney, C., Covey, S. & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution. New York, NY: Franklin Covey Co.
Sinek, S. (2009, September). Start with why: Simon Sinek TED talk. . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPYeCltXpxw
Sinek, S. (2016, December). The origin of the why. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRaqe9M2DYc