January 13, 2017

Media Center Makerspace

I teach at a K-6 elementary school in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Our media center has always been one of the busiest and most important parts of our school. Why? Our school knows the importance of reading, and we want to instill a love of reading in each and every student. Our media coordinator, Mrs. Laura Bowers, has spent countless hours choosing a variety of books for all interests. We don't force children to read "on their levels" or read books to take tests. Instead, we guide students to choose "just right books" that they are interested in. When new books come in, Mrs. Bowers does book talks on our school's morning news and children rush to the media center to get their hands on these treasures! It's exciting to see so many children that love reading! Our media center truly is amazing!

Not only do we have thousands of books, but our media center now has a Makerspace! Mrs. Bowers wrote and received a grant to make her dream come true. By definition, a Makerspace is, "A place in which people with shared interests, especially in computers or technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge." So what does this look like in a school's media center, and why does every school need one? To find out, I took my students to our media center this afternoon. Here is what we learned.

What is in a Makerspace?
Our school's Makerspace is a place for children to create. The Makerspace is located in our media center. Some of the items in the Makerspace are:

  • art supplies
  • Legos and a Lego wall
  • crafting materials
  • drawing books
  • Chromebooks
  • magnetic building kits
  • a chalkboard
  • littleBits building kits

What do students do in a Makerspace?
Students come to the Makerspace when they have an idea to create something. They may want to create a model of something after reading a new book. Maybe they learned about electricity in science class and want to work with the littleBits kits. They may want to come and make a card for a Veteran. Students can come alone, with partners, or in small groups to work. They share ideas and create together.

What are rules/guideslines for a Makerspace?
There are few rules for a Makerspace. Ours include:

  • respect the work of others
  • share ideas
  • share materials
  • work collaboratively
  • return materials where you got them from

I encourage you to explore a variety of Makerspaces and try to implement one in your school! And if you already have one, I would love to hear about it!!

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