My day started with a class of 5th grade boys doing a Book Tasting activity. Somebody at the AISL conference last year gave me this idea, and I love it! I set out a bunch of books–new stuff and stuff that doesn’t circulate but is good–and then kids spend 3-4 minutes with a book (getting a “taste”), then get up and move to another book. They have a sheet where they rate the books (1 to 5 stars). During the activity, each kids looks at 4 books. If they like one, they can keep it when they move to the next choice.
Before the boys arrived:
Most boys found something to check out, and after the book tasting was done, we had some silent reading time in the library. These boys were amazing! They were so quiet and focused, during the tasting and after, so I had to take some pics and tell them that I’d be bragging on them on my blog today. I love how they flop all over the furniture!
On a separate note, an email discussion group I am part of is discussing Makerspaces right now, and I’m going to respond to some of the questions/topics that have come up here.
1. Do you work with student clubs and their advisors?
Right now, I am running my own Maker clubs, with a (fabulous!) co-advisor on the Sewing activity. Another faculty member is running the Lego Robotics club at the same time as one of my Tinkering clubs, in the library, and we hope to have some collaboration and cross-pollination there. But I really would like more faculty members getting involved. I think one key issue is that I haven’t really put out enough information about what the Makerspace is, and what can be done there–I think many teachers just think it’s a 3-D printer (which I don’t even have right now!) and don’t realize how broad (and deep) maker education can be.
2. How do you fund some of the projects?
I am using my library supply budget, part of which is earmarked specifically for Makerspace supplies. This budget is going to have to grow in order to keep up with demand. Last year, we received a one-time, very generous gift specifically for the Makerspace, and that helped us immensely in getting initial supplies.
3. Do you have a dedicated space where things are always available? So kids can just drop in and make?
Yes, but our school’s schedule limits the times when kids are free to come to the library for books/making. The down side of this is that all of the kids are free at the same times! We have (sort of) solved the problem of overflow by assigning days of the week to different grades–grades 5/6 can come on M/W for recess and Tu/Th for study hall, and 7/8 can come on M/W for study hall and Th/Th for recess. Friday is open to everyone during study hall. We also have one activity period most days, and I’m hosting Maker activities during every one in the Makerspace.
4. How do you staff the area? How have you fit Maker Space planning and implementation into your schedules?
This is a challenge! We have two FT librarians and one PT library assistant, so we are very well staffed, but it can still be a challenge. I tend to get pulled into the Makerspace a lot during the times for grades 5/6, but grades 7/8 are pretty independent at this point, and I’m working with the new 5th graders to get them used to helping each other before coming to me, and also cleaning up without nagging! Makerspace has become a large part of my job, but since I really enjoy it, it doesn’t feel stressful. But I do feel pulled in multiple directions and don’t know how sustainable it is for me to be the Makerspace person while also being the head librarian. I’d love to have a FT makered person at the school–I think that person would be extremely busy right off the bat.
And that’s all I’ve got for today! 🙂