Update from the Lab: Making Space at Bay Area Discovery Museum!

September 23, 2015


Last spring the staff from the Bay Area Discovery Museum, located at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, asked the Creativity Lab to run a short professional development workshop introducing their staff to some of the making activities that they can offer to their visitors.   Working to “ignite and advance the creative thinking of all children”, the museum provides a space for students, families, and schools to explore the arts, sciences, and nature.

In the spring of 2016, they will be opening an early childhood Fab Lab!   The first of its kind in the country, the space will be equipped with the most recent technologies, like 3D printers and laser cutters. The space will provide younger children the opportunity to learn how to use these technologies to invent and create. Because part of our mission is expanding access to maker education, we jumped at the opportunity to help. More

Update from the Lab: Creativity Lab Making News!

September 23, 2015

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The school year started barely a month ago, and the Creativity Lab is already making headlines! Check out this article!:

How to Incubate Creativity in School Through Making and Discovery by Katrina Schwarz, KQED News.

KQED discusses how Lighthouse Charter integrates making into their core and elective classes.

Update from the Lab: La Escuelita Elementary has a new Maker Space!

September 3, 2015

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A couple of weeks ago, Kerri Frederick at La Escuelita Elementary asked us for help setting up their Maker Space.  They are another school in the Oakland Unified School District that is partnering with Maker Ed’s VISTA program, and had expected to have two VISTAs arriving before the school year started.  Unfortunately their VISTAs had to back out at the last-minute, and La Escuelita was left trying to figure out how to get their Maker Space up and running before the school year.

Kerri had heard about the Creativity Lab at Lighthouse, and that a big part of the work we do here is to give support to teachers and schools around Making.  We aren’t always able to take such an active role in helping schools set up Maker Spaces, but in this case we had the time and really wanted to help.  We’re excited any time an OUSD school wants to find ways to incorporate Making into their curriculum, and this sounded like an interesting challenge

The room they were converting had been a large storage room; it was filled with built-in shelving units which had to be taken apart, and then reassembled in other spaces on campus.  The company that had installed them said that there was no way to take it apart without special tools.  However, as we began, it became clear that this was not the case.  The only tricky part was that the shelves were bolted into the floor, but we were able to detach them with a simple ratchet wrench.

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We worked with La Escuelita for a couple of days, and were able to get the shelves completely disassembled, the space cleared, the shelves reassembled, and the materials bins labeled in their Maker Space.  Go team!

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The happy ending to the story is that the La Escuelita Maker Space has gotten a VISTA after all; Erik Pirmann just arrived this week from Philadelphia.  He’s sounds excited to be helping them start their program, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with La Escuelita and Erik as the year progresses.  We’ll keep you posted!

And if you are from an OUSD or Title I school, and want some help with Making, creating a Maker Space, or taking apart tricksy shelving, please contact us.  We’re happy to help as much as we can; even if we can’t come out to help you set up, we have tons of resources we’re always happy to share!


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Update from the Lab: Meet our new VISTAs!

August 27, 2015

We have two new AmeriCorps VISTAs at the Creativity Lab; they started in the second week of August. Their first day was half-way through one of our Professional Development workshops, and it’s been full steam ahead ever since! Lighthouse is thrilled to have them here, and we hope you enjoy their contributions here on the blog.


Tobie Irvine, our new Development Coordinator, will be working to help find financial resources and inkind donations to help sustain the work of the Creativity Lab and making at Lighthouse Community Charter School. He will also will help with volunteer recruitment and outreach to the wider Bay Area community.

Having worked previously in Philadelphia as an Americorps National Service volunteer, he has traveled many a mile to the Bay area. He grew up in Louisiana and received a B.A. in Politics from Pomona College in 2012. Although new to the maker movement, he is excited to learn more about design and making as well as help the Creativity Lab promote student-driven learning at Lighthouse and the greater Bay Area.


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Cissy Monroe has joined us as the Curriculum and Documentation Coordinator for the Creativity Lab. First and foremost, she will be working with teachers at Lighthouse. Her role includes helping teachers create and refine projects they can integrate into their classrooms, and offering the behind the scenes support needed to make these projects successful. Additionally, she will be documenting in-class projects to share on the blog, helping to prototype new projects, and creating new project guides for us to share.

Cissy is a Bay Area native, but spent the past 3 years in Sonoma County. She is a professional cook, and most recently worked as the Cafeteria and Garden Liaison in the Farm-to-Cafeteria program at a public school in Occidental. While there, she taught cooking classes in an outdoor kitchen with Kinder through the 5th grade, and developed a great understanding of what it takes to lead a successful hands-on project in class.

She returned to school in the Fall of last year to complete her B.A. in Environmental Studies, and from there plans to go on to receive a single-subject credential to teach High School Biology and Environmental Studies. She has been making things for most of her life; her passions include sewing, papercrafts, cooking, creating random art with whatever she has on hand, and learning constantly. This year, she’s excited to be exploring making with tech; including robotics, circuitry, and using 3D printers, laser cutters, and sensors in art that respond to various stimuli.


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Hiring Americorps VISTAs

June 14, 2015

Lighthouse Creativity Lab is hiring two Americorps VISTAs.  Please forward to those who you think would be interested. Hiring is happening extremely quickly, if you are interested apply early this week!

Do you want to be part of a growing movement to improve the educational experience of  low-income youth in Oakland through experiential, hands-on learning?  The Lighthouse Creativity Lab has been integrating design and making into our school’s practice over the past five years giving students the opportunity to think through and create their own visions in a variety of contexts culminating with a showcase at Bay Area Maker Faire.  We also offer professional development and outreach for teachers who are interested in integrating design and making into their own practice.

The Lighthouse Creativity Lab in partnership with Maker Ed is looking for two talented candidates. More

Countdown to Maker Faire: 1 Day

May 15, 2015

You probably noticed that my Maker Faire countdown stopped abruptly and anti-climactically at 9. Sorry for that. Every day here has been packed with new issues arising from scheduling students, printing tickets, tweaking projects, ordering shirts, setting up booths, calling parents…It really is a huge undertaking, and the blog sometimes had to get put to the side. But!—it will be worth the work, and I hope you can all make it out to see us this weekend. (We will be in Zone 10, beneath the “Young Makers” pennant.) We will have hands-on making activities there for everyone to get engaged (help us build a marble maze, build a cardboard hand, play with circuit blocks…) More

Catching Up Over Spring Break (Part 2)

April 10, 2015

I’ve another almond croissant to start this day, and the sun has come out, and life is good. Though I’m still putting in the hours this week, the change of scenery has been like soothing massage after several long weeks. That’s the funny thing about professional development sessions. When they come up, I welcome them with gusto, ready for the excitement of introductions, conversations, and making. But boy are they exhausting—especially when you do them one after another. As was the case last week. More

Catching Up Over Spring Break (Part 1)

April 9, 2015

I’m writing to you all from a lovely cafe in cloudy Portland, OR, a city that has welcomed me with its overcast skies, colorful parks, and nippy winds. It’s a nice change from good ole Hegenberger Road.

With Lighthouse on Spring Break this week, I’ve taken it upon myself to settle in here with an Italian dark roast and almond croissant, and catch you all up on everything that’s been happening at the Creativity Lab. I know, I know—my posts have been few and far apart lately, and I apologize. But I’m going to fix all of that. Right. Now. More

Creativity Lab @ CISC Symposium

February 9, 2015

IMG_2558We went to Disney Land!—well, almost.

Last week, the Curriculum & Instruction Steering Committee (CISC) held its Leadership Symposium in Anaheim, CA. Educational leaders from across California came together to talk about the latest directions in educational thinking—and that includes making. More

Creativity Lab on BlogTalkRadio

January 16, 2015

You may recall that Aaron Vanderwerff, our Creativity Lab Director, was nominated in November for a SmartBrief Educator Award, for his article “Makers in the Classroom: A How-To Guide.” We’re happy to announce he won! More