1st Maker’s Faire Recap

My computer lab is a happening place — we have ipads, a greeen wall, laptops, 2 imacs, and more —-

And the teacher in the computer lab (me) is saturated with tech ideas and information — attending edcamps, following twitter, attending conferences, etc etc.  So we are always working on a project, an idea, something — our lab is never boring.

YET, I thought — I need a break — perhaps they do too.
So, I took a look at the calendar — and decided that the week before Thanksgiving, we would have a Maker’s Faire (kinda).  Not too elaborate…but time to play, explore — and time away from tech.

And since HOUR OF CODE begins for us on November 30th — and instead we make it a MONTH OF CODE — I thought this would be a good “step away” week.

So, we set the room with up to 7 areas.   (The older kids had 7 — I narrowed it down to 5 for K and 1)

We had an origami area.
We had a hot wheels area.
We had a PIPE CLEANER area– but that changed on Tuesday to a beading area.
We had a Stacker Cup area,
We had a Lego area.
We had a crayon/marker/colored pencil, scissors, glue, ruler, etc area.
We had a sticker foam shape area with different colored cardstock.

Tables were totally rearranged and round tables were also brought in.

When the students came into the room, I explained that we would have a maker’s fair—what a maker’s fair was.

I then pointed out the areas and then gave the 6 rules.

#1 — They had to create.
#2 — They had to have fun.
#3 — They could not destroy someone else’s creation.
#4 – They could move chairs as they wished — or stand at a table — or work on the floor.
#5 — When the lights went out, we needed to clean up (and I would give them a 10 minute and 5 minute warning)
#6 — If they could not hear the music playing — they were too loud.

And then I set them free.

Things I learned or noticed —
a.  Our kids don’t know how to play with hotwheels — so we had a learning curve of how to put the tracks together and how to use the grips and I think we always made the circles wrong — but smiles, it worked.
b.  Our kids will experiment if we step aside.   We have a rack for the laptops which is about 6 feet at the top — and I noticed that students were attaching the grips for the hotwheels to the top.   For the stacker cups, students asked to use my step ladder to reach the top.  Students knew I had special scissors — you know the ones that cut designs — and they asked to use them.   It was a day for YES — and because of that — I saw creation.
c.  Everyone — if they work together — can clean up over 500 hot wheel pieces in less than 5 minutes.
d.  Kids like the freedom to move.  I had at least 10 kids ask me if they could move from areas before they did — and I said “of course, you could”.   And the ability to combine items, like the origami, the crayons, the felt shapes — was something they questioned — again with a “yes, you can”.
e.  One song we sing in chapel is “Get A Little Crazy” and in the song it says “move it to the left now, move it to the right”.  As the song began to play — it was great fun to see the students move as they worked.   I should have pulled out the camera but it was a special moment I will always cherish in my heart.
f.  The quiet time of sitting at a table with students and coloring or beading or making a hotwheel track or stacking cups — and working 1:1 or a few more — is an exceptional time.  And something we need to have more of.
g.  Students want to be noticed.  During each session I kept hearing “look Miss Wagner” or “Miss Wagner come here” — they were so proud of what they did and wanted to share it.
h.  We had only 1 discipline problem the entire week and it was stopped with a “what is Rule #2? — You can’t have fun if you are arguing.” and pshew, crisis was diverted.  (grins — I know that won’t always be the final result.)

Things I Might Do Differently Next Time
a.  Cardboard — I know it is going to be messy — but I think they will have a blast.
b.  I needed to push more tables to the wall and open up floor space.
c.  Establish some directions for things that might be unsafe or could break — don’t kick the cups, don’t stand on tables, or chairs) — so we need more step ladders.
d.  Have more unique items — hmmm, perhaps string art, or leather punching — something they don’t usually see at school.
e.  We cleaned up the area so it would be ready for the next group — perhaps we don’t need to?  Still not sure.

So — was this an academic week?
Well, it depends how you look at it —
We had lessons in velocity, force, cause and effect, balancing, hand/eye coordination, teamwork, small motor skills, math, spelling, art, science, creativity, ingenuity, wonderment, problem solving, color mixing, following directions (origami), review and change, sequencing, patterning, construction, …. and I could go on.

All because we decided to have a Maker’s Faire.

And — only 1 student was openly disappointed.

Everyone else just went with the flow.  And — as one kid said “it was the best day ever.”




We have several “themes” in the computer lab that I (and the students) truly look forward to…..

CODING — what fun!
SKITTLES WEEK — we graph with skittles
The WEEK b4 Christmas break — choose your own app week


We love DOT WEEK —

and each year, it gets better and better.

3 years ago, when we first hosted the project, we watched a video of the book, colored the dots and used the ColAR app and that was pretty much it.

Last year, we watched the video (shared by Discovery education), colored the dots and used the ColAR app…and students started making buddy dots — where they started folding, cutting, etc their dots to make really interesting dot combimations with the app.  I step back and watch them create and take lots and lots of pictures.

This year, we watched the video, listened and sang along with the DOT SONG by Emily Arrow, colored our dots, used the QUIVER app to animate, and created more buddy dots.  We also added a CLASS dot for each classroom AND the K and 1 colored their dots on dots and used sticker dots to add more fun.  Triple Dots!!

It is a great week — a fun tradition — where we push all the tables to the side of the room and just create, collaborate, and color!

Below is a video of our fun!
And I invite you to consider joining the project next year with your class too!



Taking The Time To Check

When our network began — pretty much in 2007 — we were a small network, pretty much aware of each others accomplishments, goals, etc.

If you were at a conference, and something was referenced to…..you pretty much KNEW who had said it, who had created it, who had started it.

But as our network has grown quickly and expanded widely the lines have become blurred regarding attribution.   Sometimes accidentally, sometimes deliberately.

This past week, while sitting in a session, a slide was shown with a very recognizable quote (a quote my friend Rushton Hurley said and is known for saying).  Yet, on this slide, the attribution for the quote was given to someone else.


I did not jump out of my seat and demand the slide be fixed — but I went over and talked to the speaker after and asked about that quote.   Turns out….he had seen it quoted out on twitter…..and assumed the person tweeting it was the source.   He apologized, I said no need to…..we had a quick conversation about how easy attribution can be confused and we went on.    He tweeted me later with the corrected slide.

I do not believe that this was a deliberate act of mis-attribution — but I think it is a good example of checking your sources before you share.

And also giving credit where credit is due.

  • If you quote someone, share who you are quoting.  Don’t be vague and say “I heard someone say.”   Take the time to find who that someone was.  And let people know.
  • If you reference an idea, share who created the idea.   Again, if you don’t know, take the time to find out who that someone was.  And let people know.
  • If you download someone’s work — to use with your staff, on your blog, within your google doc, etc…..take the time to find out who that someone is.  And let people know.

In the last week or so — there have been several stories on twitter and facebook regarding people’s work being shared inaccurately.  Sadly, there are stories also of people’s work being stolen.

So when this happens………………

If we, as a network, see something attributed incorrectly, please take the time to correct the issue.

And if we, as a network, take the time to check OUR sources before we share out attribution.

Perhaps, we will educate teachers who then will also educate students on how to give proper credit….where credit is due.




New Learning

A few weeks ago (oh, probably a few months ago) — I won a Chromebook.  Terribly excited — took it home….and it sat in the box.   (1 reason, wifi is horrid at my house, 2nd reason – I am comfy w/ my PC)

But, then my pal, Brent Coley was talking about his chrome book and we decided to have a meet up at a local coffee location and we would tackle chrome book usage.

He taught me how to visit the Chrome store and we started downloading extensions and apps — He shared one with me called EZ Query and he ended up making a video tutorial about this.

Jump ahead to today — and Mark Wagner tweeted out a video available by Jim Sill talking about Google Maps.  Since I am updating ipads today — I thought I would multi-task and learn and update at the same time.

And as I am listening….suddenly I stopped the video and rewound it — he was teaching how to make collaborative maps.  I am at work, on the mac, so I launched chrome, logged on, went to maps, clicked on the area where the white rectangle is, then clicked on MY MAPS, then clicked on create — named the map — and TADA.  I have a map I can now share — OHMIGOSH.

So, I made a map, shared it out with the NOTATDENSI group and invited them to place their mark.

Then, I made another map and started color coding, where I have lived, where I have presented, where I have vacationed.  OH, and then I clicked on each mark to color code based on location.

But then, cuz I am me — I wanted to share this with Jim Sill — but this is not my PC, so I don’t have Paint Shop Pro to get a screen shot — OH, but Brent told me about APPS in the Chrome store — so I went and found an app — Pixlr — took a screen shot, edited it, and posted to twitter.

And now to here:
locationmapThe ability to make maps — not only for my projects (so participants can place their marks) but with students — OHMIGOSH what this will do for STATE REPORTS — I am clapping.

Still learning more about chrome books.

But today I took a lesson learned last week with Brent and a lesson learned today with Jim….and blended them together.

Oh yeah.

Happy Day!