Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Construction Engineers

I'm really excited about nurturing the building talents of young students. Our makerspace has obtained a set of Mr. McGroovy's Box Rivets to help our builders create without using messy glue. These rivets are plastic, reusable, and allow sturdy construction using recycled cardboard. Can't wait to see what gets made!

"The Cardboard Box Book" is full of fun ideas for cardboard building. But that is just to get us started. The real cool stuff is lurking somewhere in the creative minds of our students.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

LittleBits has been very popular with older students. LittleBits is an easy way to learn and invent using electronic modules that snap together in a snap. Our kit has 18 modules and, according to the website, can be used to make over 1 million possible circuit combinations. We're not there yet, though. Still working through the helpful, illustrated project booklet that came with the kit.

The LMC Lego table was repurposed from a primary table with a flip top. One side is a write-on board. Nine Lego baseplates were glued onto the other side, making a very nice table for small groups to create and build. A kind community member donated 10 pounds of Legos so there is a huge variety of pieces. (We can always use more pieces, especially basic blocks, so if you are feeling generous, please consider donating.) Interesting note: The Lego table was set up for about 5 school days before anyone dared reach in the bucket and start building. It's been fun to watch the brave and curious. Mostly attracting younger students thus far.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Our makerspace is not just a technology tinker space, but it IS that, too. Here are two highlights:
MaKey MaKey: This is a very small computer board with several alligator clamps. Basically, it turns objects into a keyboard and connects to a computer and the Internet. It is super fun and not really easy, but good instructions make it doable for upper elementary students. Created in a lab at MIT.
Squishy Circuits: Using PlayDoh, modeling clay, batteries, and LED lights, kids learn about electrical circuits while having fun designing. Exploratory learning with curiosity and fun added in. Created by the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hello! I am Monica Millen, the LMTS (library media technology specialist) at Huegel Elementary. My passion this year is the creation of a new LMC for the Huegel learning community. Since I started at Huegel in 3 years ago, the Huegel LMC has been developing into something new and exciting. But this past year has been the most amazing. Most significantly, we have begun the G1 journey, after applying and subsequently being selected as one of the first MMSD schools to be a 1:1 learning environment. Since then, there have been huge changes at Huegel (planning for new learning spaces, personalized learning, etc) in general and in the LMC specifically.
Most recently, in the LMC, the first big news is the remodel that will be done because our wonderful voters approved the MMSD referendum. I've been dreaming and planning for months and soon the actual work will start. That's exciting beyond measure!
Part of our G1 application proposal was the commitment to transform the LMC into a new LMC that includes learning spaces conducive to digital learning and exploration. This includes collaboration stations for students with individual devices, quiet spots for reflective thinking, large group sharing areas, and a makerspace. All of those spaces will coexist within the larger space that is flexible and able to be reconfigured instantly as needs change.
Makerspaces generally include several spaces with collections of tools and materials for self-directed student learning. In an elementary school, a makerspace also needs to provide learning experiences that are appropriate for many age groups. At Huegel, this includes kindergarten through fifth grade, five- to eleven-year-olds.
Future posts will describe how this makerspace is created for Huegel LMC (which will soon get a new name, at least I hope it will).