This is the 2nd video in a 3 part series on curriculum design for my PreK-6 makerspace
The kids will be in the classroom before I finish producing this podcast- but what will we be doing? This pre-week each grade level team met with me to discuss what we would be learning and how we would be supporting the kids in applying design thinking to projects we do in class, as well as the student's individual I squared projects.
My goals in these meetings were coalition building and establishing rapport. For some of the teams it was the first time we had worked together at all and The school's technology and curriculum director, a close ally, attended the meetings also. She and I talked before the meetings because it was important to set up the right working relationship with the teachers, and they needed to know that I knew what I was doing. They also needed to feel that there was also plenty of space for them and their ideas in the room as well as the curriculum.
The balance is everything, because if you “take charge” many teachers will step back and let you “run the show” and it is YOUR show. What I need for success is to have those teachers alongside me co-owning the goals and to do that you have to invite them in and give them important decisions to make. (if that sounds familiar, I say it all the time about the kids)
In this case, I had built a resource website that is WOEFULLY incomplete, yes woefully. I will include the link in the show notes, but it is a new google site at sites.google.com/echohorizon.org/maker and it is the I squared handbook page. It houses resource pages for sewing, programming, building, circuits, and design thinking. There is also a page for our challenge of the week, my weekly invitation to make. These simple challenges are open to all students anywhere. The kids at my school have open making time during lunch and the challenge gives everybody something to try. The students will be able to work on other projects during open make time, but this gives everyone someplace to start and allows them to feel like they have a reason to be in the makerspace.
So I had taken the most care so far to attend to how my kids could learn maker skills when they were not even in my class. At the beginning of the grade level meetings, I didn't talk about the calendar for our class, I showed them this resource and told them I needed their help in getting kids to create how-to videos to fill out this incomplete resource.
I showed them the places in the website where we needed more contribution and at the same time they saw listed all the skills I want the kids to develop. This was the foundation and from here we got to talking about the work we would be doing in class as well as how we were going to work together to help the kids find success in the I squared projects.
We have so much we could learn in each grade level, we are going to try to get started and let the kids needs and interests make as many of the choices as possible. For each grade level we planned the first few classes and cast some lines of development into the future.