How do you organize your makerspace?

I love Makerspaces.

This question I keep finding myself asking is how do I organize all of this stuff? If you have a Makerspace, you basically are signing up for organized chaos. so where is all the stuff going to go?!

The short answer is that every space is different, so if you have wall mounted shelves, go for it and use those! You have shelves!

Makerspaces are full of different technologies, tools and materials. Storing those is something that we can actually discuss. for this article I am just going to discuss how I store Makey Makey, Raspberry Pi and Littlebits.

Makey Makey(MM):

MM comes in a small box jam packed with alligator clips, wires, USB cable and the MM. I Let my Students borrow the box and then return it to me, but things got messy. I have 5th and 6th graders primarily and their dexterity just is not there for forcing all the materials back in the small box. I ended up taking a trip to Dollar General and was able to but some nice Sterlite containers for $2 a piece. Now I can even add more components to the kit and students don’t have to stay back to pack a small box up to my standards.

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Makey Makey’s stored on the top shelf.

What ideas do you have for storing makey makey? Stay tuned for upcoming posted about organizing your space!

  
Middle school kids are different. They’re awkward, and at a crossroads,developmentally I think they are at a chasm, an Indiana jones like situation, with one foot out leaning over the cliff hoping that what they have been doing is the path for then and that there will be a catwalk to stand on. Sometimes it’s there, and other times it’s not and kids fall flat on their face in humiliation. 

When I as in middle school I think for the most part I played it safe and rarely missed the catwalk so to speak. I remember a classmate saying to me that “everyone likes you”. I was lucky. 

 As a teacher I am confronted every day with students that have tough home lives, learning disabilities, medical problems, bad friendships or behavior issues. Differentiation is much more in a classroom than it is in a textbook. 

What excites me about middle school is that you see those kids with their foot out every day. They are wondering where they fit in, are they going to step on an invisible bridge that leads to success? Or trouble? Or miss entirely?

  
I see kids take the wrong step daily. They choose the wrong friends, put in little effort or just miss in social situations with their peers. This is middle school, and a huge part of being a teacher in these grades goes beyond curriculum to citizenship. Can we help push our students to the right bridge? We can try. We have to, their futures depend on it, because if a student who is smart and has a bright future starts hanging out with the wrong crowd they might never make it out of high school. I’ve seen smart kids, during middle school make that choice that will dictate the rest of their academic life. It’s scary that unconscious decisions in middle school can affect a  student so much. but teachers are there for these kids and are always looking for the best interests of their students. 

So, teach middle school and see first hand how  your teaching can change the trajectory of a students life, and push them to take that step which leads them to success!

Raspberry pi: Weather for all

Do you have a weather station and a Raspberry Pi at your school? You can get the weather out to the masses and really add something positive to your local community!

Weather Underground PWS KMAPEPPE6

The setup is not hard, you will need some sort of way to connect to your station, all models have something, I have a Davis Vantage Vue and have to buy a serial USB link. I hooked the USB into the Pi.

On the Pi, I downloaded weewx: a free linux based weather software. It’s great.

 


Teach from the Side of the Room

I usually end up with about ten minutes of direct instruction a class. I try to keep them working as much as possible. When I started I watched my predecessor use our computer lab by having the students from the back three rows of our four row classroom come to the front into order to participate in the lesson. I have done the same for the last few years, because I couldnt do anything else. Right?

I started talking to students in their seats this year. Asking them questions, walking around the room. 5th Graders sitting in front of a computer is quite the challenge to keep their attention, but turning off the monitor helps keep wandering eyes focused on the teacher. After using this strategy, I am free to walk around the rows and talk with my students. I’m no longer bound to the front of the room! So,if you have a computer lab, you are not bound to the front of the room! What strategies do you use to keep Students engaged?

Let your students fail.

 

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This week in my technology classes I have been trying to explain what it takes to have a growth mindset to my students. I have done this in the past as a few inspirational speeches but I’ve tried a few things this week that I think are helpful to teaching this awesome outlook on life. First up is Letting your students fail.

I’ll say it again, let them fail.

We love to tell students and then let them practice this new skill before we let them experience life before we (hopefully) brought new knowledge into their lives. For growth mindset teaching to students, I think it is important to show students first that they might fail while trying an assignment. So, you might let your students try an activity with vague directions, or no directions at all. This might be hard and confusing for students, so don’t let this go on for very long. Then stop the class, talk about failures and successes, what worked? What didn’t? Focus on how failure can help your students learn what not to do on the road to learning the correct process!

I thought hard about failure this week and it is really a great thing, it shows our students what doesn’t work. Sometimes, it is frustrating, but it is another rung on the ladder of success. Try to celebrate those times when a student fails, then decides to use that information to a new academic or relationship success!

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Educational Technology Re-Boot

Welcome to the new evanworth.com. I hope to make this site a resource for teachers looking to dig more into technology and how to add new tech related lessons into their curriculum. If you have any questions please dont hesitate to contact me on here, email or twitter!

enjoy!