Today’s Contributor: Elizabeth Mikeska-Benfield, Librarian & CIC at Wooldridge Elementary.
As we enter into this new year full of opportunities, I feel energized and hopeful that the teachers (including myself!) and students at Wooldridge Elementary will be inspired to keep taking risks and trying new things–even if that means getting out of our comfort zone! When I look back to the whirlwind of the first semester I know that we did a lot–but I think that there is still room to push in certain areas. It’s time to get uncomfortable and learn by inventing, making, exploring, and failing!
We definitely started the year strong in our library makerspace! We did all sorts of projects and hands-on learning, including: laser cut designs, retelling stories through stop motion movies, coding with Ozobots and BeeBots, all kinds of recycled construction, and we dipped our toes in Tinkercad and Hour of Code.
One thing I noticed when my students were exploring Tinkercad and Hour of Code was that they were so quick to give up and say, “Mine doesn’t work!” I let them stay in the uncomfortable space for longer than they liked, but the payoff was so worth it. I’d then hear them cheering when they got their code to run correctly after revising and working so hard. That kind of confidence and learning experience is what makerspace is all about!
I also continued my Friday Maker Mornings–where students can come early and have open makerspace in the library. Attendance has been through the roof–I had to put a cap at 50 students, because I learned that 75 students is maybe a few too many! But, even with that number of students, the magic of makerspace was evident as they all worked independently and without behavior issues! It’s amazing what a little autonomy can do for a kid’s attitude!
So, I think we have this hands-on makerspace groove down. It’s that pesky, scary, wonderful technology that we need to face head on going forward this semester. It’s always my goal to push myself in the area of technology–and, it always seems a bit daunting, but then I experience that same thrill of figuring out something that has been super challenging, and I remember I have to keep learning and growing–for not only myself, but for my students and staff! The spring semester is packed with goals of understanding BLEND better and helping to facilitate Blended learning here at Wooldridge. 2019 look out, here we come!!