Coders, Innovators, Makers…Please donate to our Donors Choose Project to build our library makerspace

FireShot Screen Capture #019 - 'Coders, Innovators, Makers_ Creating a Library Makerspace' - www_donorschoose_org_project_coders-innovators-makers-creating-a-l_1253089__rf=link-siteshare-2014-07-teacher_accoun

Update:  This project was fully funded in less than 24 hours.  Thank you to all who contributed and shared!

View our project here!

(Don’t forget to use the code “INSPIRE” at checkout!)

Here are the details of where this project is coming from:

Our library has always been a space where we value creating and sharing just as much as consuming information.  Last year because of a Donors Choose project, our library received a 3D printer and it allowed our students to create things that they had never even thought of.  The makerspace culture is alive and well in our library, but we have  a long way to go to exploring makerspaces and how the culture of a makerspace supports students, teachers, and families.

Over the summer, I had an article published in Teacher Librarian about the culture of creation that we are developing in our library and school.  In that article, I talk about the culture, but at some point you have to get some “stuff” to create with.

“Building a Culture of Creation” in the June 2014 issue of Teacher Librarian

This year, one of our library goals is to give students, teachers, and families opportunities to dream, tinker, create, and share.  A part of this is developing the tools that are available for creating in our library.  Our space which we thought was going to be a studio is now going to be a makerspace within our library.  A portion of our library funding this year will be dedicated to developing our makerspace.  After attending an Invent to Learn workshop and focusing on makerspaces at ISTE this summer, I have chosen some next steps for our makerspace.

Our library budget this year will fund:

A littleBits workshop set:

 

A litteBits Space kit:

 

4 MaKey MaKey kits:

 

A Hummingbird robotics kit:

 

This Donors Choose project will extend our budget and give students even more access to maker materials by adding.

littleBits Cloud:

4 additional MaKey MaKey kits:

Sphero:

 

I hope that you will consider supporting our project.  It will impact numerous students, teachers, and families within our school through projects, alternative recess activities, enrichment clusters, and afterschool workshops. Even if you can’t contribute financially, please consider sharing this project within your own networks. I will be sure to blog about our explorations throughout the year.  Thank you in advance!

Leader Librarians: A Reflection

Today I received feedback from a survey that was given to the students who participated in leader librarians.  The students were asked:

What did you enjoy most? Almost all students in the group listed “buying books” as what they enjoyed.  They also listed things like using Animoto for the school to see what was done, ordering and unpacking books, and bringing more books into our library.

What did you learn from Leader Librarians? Students said they learned how hard it is to spend the amount of money that you have to buy books.  They learned how to use money wisely and that it’s a big process to order books for a library.  They learned how to be a “good librarian”.

If you could change something or do something differently, what would it be? They wished that they could have bought more books and checked more of the books out to read before other students got to read them.  They also wished that more people could have come to the enrichment fair to see what they accomplished across our 9 weeks together.  Most of all, they said they really wouldn’t change anything.

It was such a treat to hear what these 12 students had to say about being a part of the budgeting decisions in the library.  We ran out of time to sit together and reflect on what we had accomplished, so I was thankful that our enrichment cluster coordinator found time to collect data from all students in the school about their clusters.  Hearing these students’ voices confirmed for me the importance of giving students the opportunity to be a part of decision-making in the library.

Leader Librarians in Action

Today the Leader Librarians’ 108 books went into circulation.  These students spent the last 8 weeks finding out what books students at our school are interested in reading.  They divided their budget among the categories they discovered and met with vendors to look at possible books for selection.  Last night, the students presented their books at our school enrichment fair.  By the end of today, only 24 books were left on the shelves.  Kids came in all day asking if they could check out the books and they raced one another to the display to make their selections!  Here’s a video of the Leader Librarians talking about their work.

Leader Librarians: Students as Part of the Budgeting Process Part 2

Last year, I embarked on a journey to give students a voice in the budgeting decisions in the library.  Last year’s students were a targeted group of below grade level readers in grades 3-5.  That project was funded by a grant.  This year, I wanted to expand the idea to include more than just a targeted group.  I once again obtained a grant of $1000, but I took $1000 of our book fair profits to match that grant.

This year our school began school-wide enrichment clusters.  Every Wednesday from 9-10AM, every student in the school goes to a cross grade level class that is based on interest.  Leader Librarians was the cluster that I offered.  12 students were selected based on their interest to be in my group.  An interesting thing is that 3 of the 12 students were students who participated in my student voice, student choice project last year.  It was great to see their interest in buying books for the library continue.

In our group, the 12 students made all of the decisions.  I told them that we had $2000 to spend.  I shared with them many of the ways that I make decisions about how money is spent from setting goals to assigning percentages to each goal.  After looking at the ways that I normally spend money, the students began brainstorming how to spend their own money.  They decided to informally survey the school from Prek-5.  Students assigned themselves to grade levels and set out with clipboards to collect information about what students liked to read about.  We put all of the data on the table and started looking for themes.  In the end, students identified about ten different categories of books to focus on that ranged from scary stories to comics to superheroes to sports.  Students paired up and chose categories to focus on and we divided the budget equally among the partner groups.  The students decided they wanted to meet with vendors like last year’s group, so once again Jim Boon from Capstone Press brought book samples for students to preview.  We also invited Frieda Julian of Children’s Plus Inc.  Students began making wish lists from the books they saw and the books found in catalogs.  Finally, students began narrowing down their lists to what they actually wanted to order.

Once lists were finalized, I placed the orders.  While we waited, the students worked on making posters, a commercial script for our morning broadcast, talking points for sharing the project with others, and an animoto video of the whole project.

When the books arrived, we made an assembly line.  Students had the following jobs: unpacking the boxes, checking the packing slip, inspecting the books, stamping the books, photographing groups of books.  Finally, students sat down and enjoyed reading the books.

We still have some steps to go, including presenting our project at our school enrichment fair on December 7th.  I’m very proud of these students.  There was so much that they wanted to do that we just didn’t have time for, but they accomplished a huge need in our collection: buying books that are guaranteed to be loved by students school-wide.

Check out their Animoto video here.

 

Connecting Our Stories

Today I received an interesting email when I arrived at school.  Chaela Herridge-Meyer, Senior Coordinator of Communications with the StoryCorps project, sent me a message requesting an interview about our Barrow Oral History Project.  Many of you know that last year our 5th grade students interviewed 27 former Barrow buddies from as far back as 1925.  During the project, students used online oral history examples such as StoryCorps and also used the StoryCorps National Day of Listening question generator to get ideas for the most effective interview questions.   After the project was complete, I posted the link to our oral history page on the National Day of Listening wall in the hopes that other people who were passionate about gathering community stories would find their way to our project.

Chaela and I had a wonderful conversation about the power of oral history projects bringing history alive for students.  We also talked about how our hope was that the students who participated in this project will go on to capture and preserve family stories to pass on to future generations.  Also, by sharing this project at professional conferences like COMO, GaETC, and the Georgia Conference on Children’s Literature we hope that other classrooms, schools, and libraries will sponsor similar projects.

November is national family stories month.  I invite everyone reading this blog to stop for just a moment, sit down with a family member, and interview him or her to gather some family stories you’ve never heard.  I invite you record your interviews to pass along through YouTube, video, photography, writing, scrapbooking, or any other means you discover.  I would love to hear about your stories.  I would especially like to post some family stories from our school on our media center website.  I’m even happy to help you in recording your story if you want to setup a time for me to help you.

The day after Thanksgiving is the official National Day of Listening.  Their website has resources for creating effective questions and recording quality audio.  I hope you will consider participating in this important day, but even if you can’t sit down for a family interview on November 26th, sit down sometime and listen.

“By listening closely to one another, we can help illuminate the true character of this nation reminding us all just how precious each day can be and how great it is to be alive.” -Dave Isay, Founder & President, StoryCorps