Making at Lighthouse see all posts
Here at Lodestar, our structure is continually evolving – there are always areas we can improve upon to better serve our students. The Lab makerspace is one of them. Initially, we planned to keep the makerspace inside of the K-3 Learning Lab, with one area devoted to free making, and another to independent kits. However, the organization and roll out of these kits proved to be difficult – we want to balance giving students a strong foundation for the activities with enough room for independent learning. At this point, we hit a roadblock with our initial layout – there were not enough space or people available to accomplish our goals. Additional problems followed: Ms. Ortiz, a Making, Art, & Design teacher, did not have enough time to run the space; transporting materials up and down stairs from classrooms to the Lab was not sustainable; and the activities created more noise than we wanted.
Our ongoing meeting of the Making, Art(s) and Design Inquiry Group took place this week, where we discussed connections across the MAD classes, continued our work linked to career pathways, and discussed how to design a Portfolio Experience for our students.
One of the key focuses of a maker-centered classroom or environment is to encourage students to develop a “maker mindset”. But how can educators promote a dispositional shift toward maker empowerment in students?
Agency by Design (AbD) has been working on solutions to this question for some time, and in their research, they have developed a set of Thinking Routines. Thinking Routines are “short, engaging, two-or-three-step patterns of intellectual behavior that are highly transferable across contexts”. The idea is to guide the way students think, focusing on areas of a subject or material that might not have been emphasized in a normal classroom. And since these routines are transferable, students are learning the process of deep thinking and questioning, not just delving into one particular topic from a single class. More
In the third meeting of the Making, Art(s) and Design Inquiry Group we continued feedback and support on Portfolio and Reflection practices, introduced Career Connections and discussed how these can be applied in a cross-curricular way throughout different grades and classes.
With Lodestar just starting out at its current site, building up functional and quality maker spaces can prove challenging. We want to create spaces where maker-centered learning shines, in which students can lead activities and teachers can facilitate collaboration, co-inspiration, and co-critique. Additionally, we want to model other facets of maker-centered classrooms, which are outlined below:
Who are the Teachers?
|What Does Teaching Look Like?||What Does Learning Look Like?||What Does the Classroom Look Like?|
|Students as Teachers||Facilitating Student Collaboration||All of the Above||Tools & Materials|
|Teachers in the Community||Encouraging Co-Inspiration, Co-Critique||Storage & Visibility|
|Online Knowledge Sourcing||Redirecting Authority||Figuring it Out||Specific & Flexible Spaces|
Tools and Materials as Teachers
Promoting an Ethics of Knowledge Sharing
These characteristics are all essential for learning in a maker-centered classroom, and they set the tone for students guiding their own learning and solving problems independently (Clapp).