Sticky Fingers – Phase 2

Makerspace Fun

Last year raced away from me and I have had very little time to reflect on what has happened in our library, and particularly our new Makerspace, launched in the second half of 2015!  Thank goodness for holiday breaks and time for reflection!

Our library makerspace has proved very popular with all age groups. The Lego and K’Nex is particularly popular with our  younger Year 7 and Year 8 users and is a particularly good way to keep the active boys busy with something “constructive” and creative which does not involve a screen or technology.

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Some K’Nex and Lego building

The older girls were very happy crafting with duct tape and late last year also introduced some of their own craft projects which they brought in from home:

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Library Term 3 2015 106

Our duct tape being put to good use

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A Year 12 student brought her Fimo supplies in to our Makerspace to work on her craft project at school.

Towards the end of the year we introduced colouring sheets and the Year 12 students study students found them a great way to de-stress during the anxious weeks leading up to final exams.  We plan to repeat this activity for our study students every year during the lead up to exams.

In 2016 we had continued interest from the Year 7s in our Lego and K’Nex. The addition of a colouring corner is planned with the purchase of colouring books and coloured pencils  as a start and more purchases planned soon.  Other planned activities are a repeat of the crochet lessons through the cooler autumn and winter months, the addition of knitting lessons and other craft activities such as scrapbooking, cross-stitch, and specific projects such as making dreamcatchers, bookmarks,  jewellery, and Sculpey modelling clay creation. Other activities available in this area include puzzle-making, chess, other board games and card games.

Our biggest obstacle with our Makerspace is lack of time as our breaks are so short and students have to race through eating to have time to get creative! As our students prefer our open tables to the closed study carrels we currently have a Makerspace trolley/cart (a suggestion from the awesome Daring Librarian @GwynethJones) which can easily be wheeled to the area designated as the Makerspace area.  Initially we only allocated lunch breaks on 2 days for the Makerspace activities but, with interest growing, we have allowed the kids to spontaneously get the mobile Makerspace out and get creative!

We hope that the Library Makerspace will continue to grow and build more participation and enthusiasm as the days are cooler and wetter during winter. It is an area which allows the students to just be kids away from technology.  Making, creating and building encourages their creativity and allows them some down-time during the busy school day where they have no obligation to be assessed. They are free to just be kids and interact with each other face-to-face.

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Sticky Fingers – Library Makerspace Beginnings


Library Makerspace Beginnings3

Definitions of a Makerspace

Sticky Fingers2“A makerspace is a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials.” – Diana Rendina.

“A makerspace is a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build.” –  7 things about you should know about Makerspaces.

Why a Makerspace?

Makerspaces in the School Library” by Jackie Child and Megan Daley is a great place to start if needing to justify the whole concept of makerspaces in your school library within an Australian context. One reason offered for why kids need makerspaces both in the aforementioned slideshare and the blogpost “Why Makerspaces Give Kids Space to Fail and Why That’s a Good Thing” is the idea of failure and its importance in teaching kids the value of perseverance and learning from their mistakes. Other reasons, for me, include the chance for creativity, for collaboration, for problem-solving and just the chance to be busy, productively, without the need for technology.

Including a Makerspace in our school library has been in my library planning for over a year now.  The whole concept seemed logical, especially when it was decided that Year 7s would be starting high school from 2015 onwards. Our students, when asked, were interested in the idea of doing craft in the library and Lego building is something that has been offered in primary libraries over the years. We tested the waters in a very small way in 2014, with a jigsaw puzzle and games area, not really sure how that would go.

Library 2014 to 2015 001

It was a huge success despite the odd missing jigsaw pieces and cards. One of the most interesting outcomes was the friendships that developed across year groups around the puzzles.  The card games tend to be played within friendship groups but chess is another game which draws in contestants in different year groups who share a passion for the game.

2015 has been a total whirlwind journey so far but in the back of my mind the extension of the library makerspace began to take shape. In May this year I attended our West Australian School Library Association (WASLA) “Birds of a Feather” PD and had an inspiring Makerspaces workshop with Jennifer Lightfoot whose Thinkers and Tinkers LibGuide will give you an idea of the her makerspace at Scotch College Junior Middle school library. Then I read the Daring Librarian’s post Makerspace Starter Kit which really got me thinking about our maker-space in a time when I had recently been asked to think about my “vision” for the school library in terms of its physical layout, shelving and furnishings.   Now I just need to put the plan into action and make the space a reality.

Makerspace poster cropped

List of makerspace activities planned (small beginnings with small budget)Lego

  • Lego
  • K’nex
  • Duct tape craft projects
  • General craft area
  • Makey-makey Coding
  • 3D pens

 

List of materials purchased and still to purchase

Poptape

List of great makerspace blog posts and sites :

Any other useful Makerspaces sites or blogs that you know about?  I would love some feedback!

Stay tuned to Phase 2 of our Makerspace beginnings ….

In the Beginning … Connection

http://bit.ly/1flWOLr

CONNECTION

For me 2015 is the year of getting better connected and beginning to blog!

As an avid information curator and sharer it is difficult for me to set aside time to delve deeper and to put into words my reflections on what I do as an educator and information specialist.  However, I believe that reflection is an important part of learning and sharing our learning. So this is the beginning of that reflective journey for me.

Where to start?

It all began with the blog, really.  I have spent the last year or two reading many interesting and inspirational blogs by some really amazing educators. The blog was one of my first points of contact with other like-minded educators and library professionals.  Reading their blogs has provided me with inspiration in the form of new ideas and examples of those ideas in practice.

This inspired me to begin a school library blog and then a school library website.  This “virtual voice” was all new to my school – the library had never had any online presence before, apart from a brief mention on the school website.
Early in 2014, I was inspired to begin using Scoop.it as a way to bookmark, curate and collate interesting sites and prevent information overload! I chose to curate information related to 21st century school libraries and then added a Scoop.it site for Australian Curriculum Resources when I noticed a gap in this area.

During 2014, I also began to take an interest in Twitter as a way to connect with other educators and library professionals. I was using Australian school library listservs to communicate with other teacher librarians and school library staff in Australia but wondered how I could connect with other educators in Australia and with educators and library professionals in other countries. Where were they collaborating and connecting? The “aha” moment for me was a concurrent session by Jenny Luca at the School Library Conference of Western Australia in April 2014: Digital Citizenship- Exploring Ethical Understanding and Digital Footprints. The session was, of course, fantastic but it was Jenny’s pre-session discussion about Twitter which really resonated with me.  I resolved to start a Twitter account and just over a week later sent my first Tweet.

Twitter is an amazing way to continue your lifelong learning journey as an educator.  It is a forum in which to build a global and supportive Personal Learning Network. Twitter deserves a whole post of its own but in this post I would like to mention the following inspirational library professionals who tweet:

Two “newbie” teacher librarian bloggers to follow are:

Other educators that I have found inspirational include:

This is by no means an exclusive list.  There are so many inspiring and passionate educators out there. The people mentioned here have provided me with great inspiration and help as I become a more connected educator. They are my PLN and I am privileged to be able to connect with them and learn from them every day.