“The space, thoughtful planning of the week, connecting with other maker educators, and time away from the busyness of the office made this one of the best institutes I’ve attended. Will highly recommend!”
On Day Four of our summer Institute, we started the morning with an equity session centered on the Ready for Rigor framework provided in Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond. This framework outlines four areas of practice of culturally responsive teaching that enable us to support learners to become more independent: awareness, learning partnerships, information processing, and community of learners & learning environments. Participants reflected on which of these areas they would weave into the resources they would create over the next two days for the needs they identified on Day Three.
Throughout most of the day, participants focused on developing solutions to the needs they identified. They used the materials available in our makerspace to create prototypes of their resources as well as the collective experience and ideas of everyone in the room. Examples of projects teams worked on included:
- A 4th grade programming and math activity using a Hummingbird Robotics Kit.
- A social emotional learning activity for 1st grade students focused on the three levels of the culture tree we discussed earlier in the week.
- Community-based cultural events at a community college campus that would showcase diverse examples of making to engage more students of color.
- Leveraging existing events, such as Family STEAM Nights, and transforming them through high quality professional development to help teachers and administration value maker education.
- Designing a three year plan to pilot professional development programs with schools to connect making to classrooms and collect local data about the impact of making.
After participants worked on their projects, we facilitated a feedback session where they received support from their peers based on a question or a problem of practice they identified.
Later in the day, we focused on storytelling and sustainability. Storytelling is how we connect with our audiences: donors, colleagues, administration, parents, or youth. We supported participants to plan stories that are aligned with the values and goals of their program as well as their stakeholders and then to decide what media made the most sense for sharing.
Towards the end of the day, we hosted a second round of Ignite talks. We had three teams from different programs share a five minute, fast-paced talk where they shared insights on: creating and sustaining a makerspace, how to integrate your passion into your teaching, and instilling a culture of communication in a maker classroom.
After four days of building community, collaborating on creating and prototyping resources, and learning about weaving equity in our practice, we were excited to share and present all of our work on the last day of our summer Institute!