Designing Making Experiences: Interview with a Teacher

On January 21 and 22 teachers from across the country attended Designing Making Experiences, our staple professional development two-day workshop. One attendee, Sarah Purdy, was kind enough to answer some ouf our questions.

Name: Sarah Purdy

School: Lighthouse Community Charter School

Subject: High School Humanities

Professional Development Attended: Designing Making Experiences- January 21 and 22

1. Describe your previous experience with making and Agency by Design.

Making is a significant part of the culture in our high school so I have been fortunate to volunteer at Maker Faire and observe many of my students experience the soft and hard skill development of making. However, despite good intentions, I had struggled to see how to integrate Making experiences into an upper-level Humanities classroom.

Before attending the Agency by Design training, I was familiar with many of the thinking frameworks like Connect, Extend, Challenge and had started to use the routines in my classroom when synthesizing an activity like How a Bill becomes a law.

2. What were your initial expectations for the workshop?

Initially, I had hoped to create a solid skeleton of a Spring Research Project for the Junior class and learn one to two new strategies.

3. What was the project you worked on?

I created a skeleton framework for a Criminal Justice Expedition in the Spring by using backward planning and Agency by Design thinking frameworks as resources. I also created a mock-up of an upstander propaganda poster by learning how to use the vinyl cutter.

4. What was your favorite part of the two-day workshop?

My favorite part was having time to try on the thinking frameworks and being led through a Design Thinking collaboration brainstorm.

5. What advice would you give to other teachers who are thinking about attending the workshop or incorporating thinking routines into the classroom?

I encourage teachers to attend the training with other colleagues so you have an opportunity to collaborate and have an advocate to support making integration when your return back to your school. As mentioned earlier, I encourage teachers of all grades and disciplines to use these thinking routines.

6. What is your plan going forward? What challenges do you still face?

I plan to use thinking routines as a weekly practice in my classroom and explore how to use them more rigorously and authentically with reading instruction. I hope to use these routines as the basis for the Criminal Justice unit in the Spring. One of the biggest challenges is making sure I scheduled advanced planning sessions before the Expedition begins and to let go of previously created curriculum.