Sunday, October 9, 2016

Monday Morning Makers

This year at Pinewood, we have jumped on the Makerspace bandwagon. We have decided that allowing our students a time and space to explore, build, imagine, and create is very important. Rather than explain what a Makerspace is, I have included this video which I think does a fine job of explaining.

So now that you know what a Makerspace is in general, let me tell you the story of Pinewood's Makerspace. For a couple of years, the concept of Makerspaces has been catching on in schools. Last year, I went to a couple different conferences for Media Specialists and Technology teachers. At these conferences I learned more about the Makerspace movement, and met a wonderful Media Specialist from Rush Creek Elementary in the Osseo district. This wonderful Media Specialist invited me out to see her school's Monday Morning Maker events. These events are what Pinewood modeled their Makerspace events after. One Monday morning a month, students were able to sign up to come to the Media Center before school to explore various stations that involved making. She had a station for using the 3D printer, knitting, coding robots, LittleBits circuits, markerbots, Osobots, origami, and more. The students came in got to work and using their own imagination and determination along with some help from their friends made things. It was wonderful seeing the students shine.

Pinewood recently had their first Monday Morning Makers event. It was a great success and the students and teachers truly enjoyed it. On September 19th, 25 students and a couple teachers and parents gathered in the Media Center to explore. We had many of the same stations as listed above, but we also had Legos and puzzles. The hit for the favorite item was tied between our Sphero robots and our Lego Story Starter kit with origami and knitting following closely behind. Boys and girls worked kindly together to explore, build, imagine, and create.

We would like to thank our Pinewood PTO for supplying us with our Spheros, Lego Story Starter Kits, and Lego WeDo Kits. We would like to thank our Donors Choose donors for our origami, knitting, SnapCircuits, and Makey Makey supplies. 

You can learn more about our Monday Morning Maker events and sign your child up here:

If you would like to support our Monday Morning Maker events, you can donate at

Or, we would love to take any gently used puzzles or craft items off your hands. To donate these particular items, please contact me at

Low Budget Maud Hart Attempt Number 2

Last year was the first year I was actually able to run the Maud Hart Lovelace Award program at a school. I began by teaching my 3rd-5th grade students about the program in September. I reminded them throughout the year that they needed to read three of the books in order to vote in March. The students understood the program and were excited to start reading the books. The only problem was that we only had 2 copies of each book to share among 500 or so students. The budget just didn't allow for buying more copies. I reminded the students that they could visit the public library or get the books from the local book store, but many did not do this for various reasons. In the end, I was only able to get 7 students to vote. Not to be discouraged, I am trying again this year.

Of course when things don't go exactly as you'd like, you need to make adjustments. I tried to find a way to equitably distribute the Maud Hart Lovelace books last year by using a spreadsheet and randomizing requests. This year I've decided we need to keep things simple, so the books will be on display when they are available and when they are checked out, students will be able to put the books on hold just like any other book in the library. Hopefully this will be a less complicated and quicker system. However, there will still be a high demand and low supply of these books, so I have talked to the local public library and asked that they display the books as well. An email was also sent home to parents explaining the program and encouraging them to help their children check out the books from the public library.

To remind the students of the program, we are trying a few different things. We will be sharing a bit about each book on the announcements to encourage students to check them out from the library. As I said earlier, we have sent out an email to parents to encourage them to get involved. We have talked to the local public library about having a display of the books and helping students to find them. Finally, we will have several posters in the Media Center about the Maud Hart Lovelace program, as well as a book display of the nominees. Hopefully all of these steps will encourage more students to participate in the Maud Hart Lovelace program.

To learn more about the Maud Hart Lovelace Award and this year's nominees, visit: