Monday, January 14, 2019

"I Just Don't Know"

Sometimes, it is ok to just tell a student, "I just don't know." That sounds crazy, but in a world where there is pressure to have all of the answers all of the time, we need to model for students the ability to say, "IDK."

In the Makerspace, I find myself telling students I'm unsure how to do something and then sitting with them to figure out how to do it. It allows the teacher to become an active learner alongside the students. When students can see their teacher not know something and be willing to learn something new, it can encourage them to do the same.

MakerEd is nuts because it covers just about anything that anyone can make. It is impossible to know it all. A simple IDK has really helped students see that teachers do not have all of the answers and that is ok. It also showed them that teachers are life long learners. It's what we want for our students, so we need to make sure we show it too.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Getting Your Hands Dirty #MakerEd

I have spent the last few days working with 9th grade students in the Makerspace. I was asked to give them a design challenge and go over the Design Thinking process. It is an addition to the 9th grade curriculum that I'm very happy to see take place.

I put together a variation of the Toxic Popcorn Challenge. Students need to use the Design Thinking process to try and transfer corn kernels into another container without entering a 4 foot radius around the toxic container. They are allowed to use anything they can find in the makerspace. Traditionally, this project is given over the course of a class period and the supplies are limited. Part of the project was to have students explore the makerspace and really see what it had to offer. Here are some pictures that showcase what the students worked on so far.

There are so many different approaches to the challenge it has been great to see the students dive into the project. So are making giant scissors, others are focusing on tension strength to hold the containers, and another group has focused on a giant clamp. It is so cool to see the problem solving and design going into their potential solutions. 

The majority of these students have never held a drill or saw for a project. It was so awesome to be able to teach a student how to use Mitre Saw and a Power Drill. Changing bits on a drill and adjusting bit size to get the right size screw through are not skills you just pick up randomly. These students had no problem getting their hands dirty and that is the key. I'm so proud of our school, University Liggett, for working hard to create an environment that focuses on creating makers and learners and not just grade earners. These students worked into their lunch to finish part of their project. They wanted to learn how to do the things to solve their problem. Students need to get their hands dirty to learn sometimes. Do that, teachers need to get their hands dirty as well. 

I can't wait to share the end products with everyone. Keep an eye on Instagram, I post maker work there often.  

Hugs and High Fives, 


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Season 1 of The Maker Mentality Podcast #MakerEd

If you are looking for some podcasts to fulfill your Maker needs, The Maker Mentality is exactly what you need.

The first season is available to binge right now! Season 2 will be dropping in the New Year and it will be filled with some amazing guests.

Check it out here, or you can go to the following podcasting places to hear The Maker Mentality.

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Radio Public
Pocket Casts

Thanks for listening and let me know if there is anything you'd really like me to cover or someone you would like me to have a conversation with in a future episode. 

Hugs and High Fives, 


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

An Art Library at @UniLiggett! #ArtsEd #EdChat #MakerEd

I received an email the other day and it blew my mind. Email don't generally do this, but this one shared an idea that I fell in love with right away. I asked if I could share it out and I was given a big thumbs up, so here it is.

Here is the email,

The Liggett Art Library is finally live!

What’s the Liggett Art Library?

Over time, The Curators (a group of Upper and Middle School artists) hope to collect and create a body of student artwork from all divisions in order to:

-Loan artwork to faculty and staff to brighten classroom and office spaces
-Add artwork to empty wall spaces in common areas
-Refresh old displays with more recent artwork
-Regularly rotate art displays throughout the school
-Take a select number of space- or classroom-specific commissions annually
-Build an evolving art collection by keeping student work for a year or more before returning it to make room for new work

How does it work?

It’s pretty similar to any other library.  You can borrow artwork for the school year to hang in your teaching or working space(s).  Each June, artwork must be renewed or returned to the library.  This allows work to be shared, rotated through different spaces, and/or returned to graduating students.  

What’s the difference between the three collections?

The Permanent Collection is work that has been gifted to the library. Since these pieces do not need to be returned to students, they can remain in one location (upon annual renewal) for longer periods of time.

The Temporary Collection is work that student artists have loaned to the library upon condition that the art be returned to them when they graduate (sometimes earlier). If you’re interested in borrowing Temporary Collection pieces, please be sure to check the return-to-student date.

Commissions is the body of custom work The Curators will create for particular individuals, spaces, and/or units of study. Curators is a small group, and there are only so many commissions we can create in a school year, but we’ll do our best to honor your requests as we’re able.

How can I borrow work?

Please email me with your requests.  For now, please keep requests to 1-2 pieces unless you are looking to curate a larger shared space.  Requests received by this Friday 12/7 will be matted and framed for you by The Curators (Art Library Team led by Hope K ’19 and Lizzie L ’20) and hung over break by Jim K (thanks, Jim!).  Requests received after Friday will be hung in the new year.

Thank you for supporting this project.  We’re looking forward to bringing student artwork out of the galleries and into your classrooms!

Helen (& The Curators)

Isn't this idea amazing! I love everything about it! I've already put in a request for a mural for the Makerspace and piece of art done by one of my favorite Liggett artists, Hope Kulka. Here is what I requested,

I am a strong believer in the power of the arts to give a voice to those that feel like they do not have one and the Knights Forge Innovation Lab is going to be a place for all makers, including all artists, to showcase their work and make amazing things. I hope all teachers take advantage of this amazing program and fill their classrooms with amazing works of student art.