This year our librarian/media specialist, Mr. Casteel began the year with the dream of creating a Makerspace. He had received two 3D printers and the book, Worlds of Making by Laura Fleming. (If you are looking for information on starting a MakerSpace, Worlds of Making is a great place to start.) Mr. Casteel brought together a team of teachers and students to help him form a vision of what the space might look like and be used for at our school. He did this slowly and thoughtfully, listening and reflecting after each meeting. As the team began to make it clear what might be accomplished or possible in the space, he applied for and received two grants. The funds from these grants made it possible for additional materials to be added to the space. Meanwhile, he set about deconstructing a space in the library that had housed a wired computer lab previously, here he created a home for the Makerspace to be located. Through brainstorming with this team and upon approval of two grants Mr. Casteel added journal embossing, jewelry design, legos and knitting. What was amazing was that he found experts in all of these areas to serve as resources to get learners started in the Makerspace within our building. I say "learners" and not students, because as the Makerspace has opened, many teachers have also wanted to participate. Mr. Casteel also sought out resources from the public library system to assist learners on designing and creating 3D objects. The partnership with the library has been a positive one and helped the Makerspace take shape.
Back to Angel, he was introduced to the space when one of our ESL teachers along with our librarian decided to hold a special Saturday session specifically for ELL students on a Saturday. While the space is open to all students, our ELL population sometimes can be intimidated or shy when interacting in brand new situations. Taking a Saturday and creating a time specifically for them to be exposed to the Makerspace and learn that it was a place to experiment and get messy, built confidence and encouraged their involvement. Angel was on of the students that took advantage of this opportunity that Saturday and he hasn't stopped since. As he left my office today he said, "I can't wait to see what I make next." And personally, I can't wait to see what he creates next either. I guarantee there are some great things to come from him and many others. I love that we have started down this path of student directed learning and that we as educators have the ability to be learners along side them.
It feels somewhat magical to experience what it means to just get out of the way and let them create. Have you experienced a moment like this?