Saturday, August 29, 2015

Makerspace... I got the OK... Now I'm Freaking Out!

Welcome back to another school year!  We finished the first week and I have finally come up for air. Over the summer, my district offers a "Librarian Re-Boot Camp" where we can attend PD and brainstorming sessions.  One of the sessions I went to this year was about makerspaces and it got my wheels turning again.

I have been intrigued by the idea of makerspaces for a while, and even tried a sort-of-makerspace last year with 5th grade (see post), but I have always struggled with the logistics of it at elementary school.
     When would students come?
     Who would come?
     How would I manage it?
     How would I keep it supplied?
     How would I monitor students and continue my regular lessons and checkouts?

I get the idea for middle and high schools where students have study halls or lunch periods, but I just couldn't wrap my head around it for elementary.

So after the session at Re-Boot Camp, I decided just to stop making excuses and just figure something out.  My school has school-wide interventions from 8:00-8:30 every morning starting in mid-September and while I have always had a 2nd grade reading group, I thought this might be the perfect time to implement the makerspace.  I could offer each grade level a week at a time and each class could send 4-6 students per morning.  By the end of the week, hopefully every student in the grade would have made it through for at least 30 minutes.  I am also going to give each teacher some sort of pass for 3 students to come down during the day if they have some time and want to continue working in the space.  

I wasn't sure what my principal would think so I wrote up a proposal and emailed it to her before we started back in August.  I also wanted to make sure this was going to be seen as a valuable addition to our school so I proposed that I would offer STEAM activities and supplies in the space.  

Well, she loved the idea and gave me the go ahead!  And while I am excited about it I am freaking out a little (ok, a lot) trying to get ready to really put it into action.  

I have been searching twitter, pinterest, blogs and any other sources I can find about makerspaces and it is starting to come together.  I will add more posts as I get more things figured out.  If anyone has resources or suggestions for activities that they love in the makerspaces, ways to manage the space, how to fund the space, or any other tips they want to provide, I would love to hear them!  


  1. Hello,
    I'm Carolyn McKnight. I am a Library Media Specialist in Newton, NJ in a Pre-K - 4th school. I started a Makerspace last year after school with 4th graders. This year I'll be doing a full day of Makerspace, with some students from all grades. So to get started I'd suggest collecting old Jenga games, the blocks are great for a lot of projects, magnets, drinking straws and lots and lots of tape, all kinds. Everyone loves tape. For the first few weeks I'm going to be doing a variety of mazes. I like starting with mazes because they are easy to introduce and students can take them in all directions. I'll be following your updates. Good Luck.

  2. Thanks Carolyn! Great ideas! I am going to send out a plea to my parents at school for Legos, but Jenga blocks would be a great idea too. Mazes are cool ideas too. I would love to hear how those go!

  3. I have just finished organizing my "tool boxes" for my high school makerspace that will be starting by the end of the month. Because I have 1800+ students to reach, each day of the week is a different theme: engineering (newspaper towers, marshmallow catapults, CAD programs, etc.), animation (we have a subscription to GoAnimate for Schools, but there are a lot of programs out there), fashion design (using duct tape that students must bring in. The Duck Tape website has a lot of activities with step by step instructions), and coding (using After a lot of makerspace research and being in the elementary media center for over 8 years, think of centers for your makerspace area and then have ideas for them or let students get creative. Garage/yard sales are a great place to go find things you can use as materials for low costs.

    1. Awesome ideas! Thanks Stephanie. I love the days of the week ideas.