Purposeful Making by Gary Hall

(written by Gary for Designing Purposeful Making Experiences, Jun 2017)

Behold!  The parents experience maker-centered learning for themselves!

After leading a monthly creativity workshop with the parents of Lighthouse, I saw firsthand how much fun and learning occurred based on all the positive feedback received.  Comments from parents such as, “this was really fun”, and “i didn’t think i could do it when i started”, and “now i can relate more with what my kids are experiencing”, and my favorite, “thank you for the boot camp…i found out that i have muscles i didn’t know that i had”.

The following represents projects we completed for the 2016-17 school year:  Cardboard chairs, Paper circuit murals, Scribble bots, Fabric craft squares, Watershed crafts, Circuit boards and Boot camp.

For example, after completing the paper circuit mural workshop, there was a great sense of community as everyone joined in to help each other and some got ideas from their partners and you saw many smiles and giggles.

Moving forward the challenge becomes how to maintain high parent enthusiasm and engagement in their monthly making sessions.  Parents showed genuine excitement showing up and expressing what project was lined for the day and I found that coming up with new ideas became challenging.  The Designing Purposeful Making Experience allowed me to strategize and develop a possible solution.

For example, when leading the circuit block workshop, the parents get to see how circuits work and energy flows to activate lights, motors etc. Why not take it step further for a second circuit block workshop and come up with a theme or learning target?  This can be conducted in one way by creating a box which helps to gather parents ideas and comments on topics such as,  “what’s your favorite fun activity” or “what’s your favorite food”, or “what’s most important to you,” or “what’s your favorite holiday”, or “what’s your favorite season of the year” etc.  Perhaps we call the box “Trust box or Parents voice”?

The opportunity to bring my experiences and share with other educators in making allowed me to see different perspectives which gave me a broader space to be more creative.  Being allowed to discuss ideas and experiences with others in the same field is valuable in that i became more closely aligned with “what is more purposeful and/or meaningful”.


Gary Hall was introduced to the Lighthouse community through AmeriCorps’ MakerEd Vista program working as a Project Coordinator.  His work centered around collaborating with staff, teachers, students and parents on various projects such as SF Exploratorium’s Inquiry group, elementary making, Bay Area Maker Faire, Designing Making Experience (DME) workshops, blog writing, parent creativity workshops, professional learning communities (PLC) as well as information technology initiatives. Overall, he is a goal oriented person with a passion for helping others reach goals. His background in managing projects in technology as well as fitness and nutrition allowed him the wonderful opportunity to learn, grow and adapt in such an ideal environment as at Lighthouse Community Charter Public Schools.