I'm working on transitioning this content to my new blog: "Create, Collaborate, Innovate" located at  http://colleengraves.org/.

Hope to see you there soon!

This summer I was asked to present a webinar to Ohio School Librarians for InfOhio. The recording is available here.

I also created a resource list (adapted from a collaborative presentation with LISD librarian, Leah Mann) and year long programming ideas that I will continue to update via this gdoc:http://goo.gl/UUEItu.

RESOURCE LIST for School Makerspace

Webinar Recording:http://goo.gl/QTi36k

Sites I visit frequently:

Free Workshops:

  • Maker Journals: http://www.makered.org/tag/makerspace/ (How great would it be to have a maker journal all year? Or use Maker ed as authentic research? Kids could have to make something in small challenge groups and record all findings and modifications in a maker journal!)

  • Costumes (Even from paper!)

  • Card and board games

  • Inspire kids to invent and create with Rube Goldburg: http://www.rubegoldberg.com

  • Make Retro games: http://www.sploder.com/

Write a Grant for these:

Have people donate:

  • Brushbot supplies: Scrub brushes and Electric Toothbrushes from the Dollar Tree

  • Old car toys (Rocket propelled w balloons), balloons, old car toys with gears or switches, electronic motors for scribble bots (can buy from Radio Shack or get them out of a dollar store toothbrush), wire cutters, wire from phone lines (like old internet cords, etc), alligator clips, old tennis balls, old computers, old electronics, empty/cleaned coffee bags, oatmeal containers, 2 liter bottles, Modge Podge



Maker Workshops Ideas for the School Year (Organize activities around your Curriculum Standards)


Low Tech

High Tech

Cur Connections



LED Origami



Math, Angles, Art


Duct tape projects

Little Bits

-space kit

-synth kit

Snap Circuits

Science, Music



Makedo- make something with cardboard

Frankentoys- make it light up or move, etc with Hummingbird

Great resource here or buy Sugru to make interchangeable toys

Rolly bot- Like Sphero but made with a brushbot




Nanowrimo http://nanowrimo.org/

Interactive book w Makey Makey

English- Story writing

Science- Electricity, conductive materials, circuits


Upcycle old picture books into coasters w Modge Podge

(Find words and make your own magnetic poetry style coasters, or make story coasters.)

LED Throwies

Game Controller Workshop w Makey Makey (from MakerJawn)



Cardboard Mazes w Makedo

Scratch coding  -Use resources from Pursuitery.

  1. Chasing Game Challenge

  2. Maze Game Challenge

-Then make a real Magnetic Maze Combines Makey Makey and Scratch

Take it a step further and build a maze for your brushbot! Let Scratch score your brushbots and hold a competition!

-Logic Puzzle w Makey Makey

Math- X/Y Axis, Equations, Computational Thinking

English- Interactive Story idea changed into a logic puzzle


Unmake stuff Get kids to bring old stuff

Paper Circuits- Interactive Greeting Cards

Science- Electricity, conductive materials, circuits


Make your own Ukelele

Arduino Music Projects




Rube Goldberg Challenge - Motion projects

Wind Turbine Challenge: http://challenge.kidwind.org/

-Animated Poems with Mozilla Webmaker

-Hummingbird robot poems

Paper Circuits -

Makey Makey Maze w Brush Bot






Upcycle a Day for the Month of May! - Coffee bag idea

Raspberry Pi Photo booth

Inventions for math “market”

Math- Market

Science- Recycling, properties of materials

Start simple then build!

ELA: Storytelling, poetry connections

Makey Makey- give kids a bunch of stuff.  What is conductive and what isn’t? and WHY?

Science- Electricity, Circuits, Wind power

Math- Invent something, then sell it at our Community Market- why is your item selling or not?

Scratch Lessons all from Pursuitery https://pursuitery.com/technology/challenge/42/coding-with-scratch-challenge-maze-game/349

Chasing Game:

Intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3goItEqutEo

Tips and Hints: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAYlmCj2W-4

Maze Game

Intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbx1LiWCcxITips and hints: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gezAgBwcV3k


As I enter my third year of Makerspace programming, I find that I’m convinced more and more of the power of #makered.  I’m happy to see as an early adapter, that more and more schools, libraries, and cities have also adopted the idea of “tinkering.” So much so that, President Obama even hosted a Maker faire this week!

Somehow, with my time off this summer, I’ve signed myself up for two MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). One that is part of the National Writing Project (NWP) centered around Connected Learning- #CLMOOC, and the other a STEAM camp- #STEAMMOOC.  I’ve also signed myself up for a Maker Camp at my local PD where I will be incorporating Maker activities into content curriculum (And you thought Teacher Librarians took their summers off!)

The first make for #CLMOOC was a challenge to create a  “How to.”  With all the hype around Makerspaces, I decided to make a super simple “How to Make a Makerspace” in Canva (a tool I’ve been itching to tinker with!)

These 5 steps are simple:


However, these steps do need a little more explaining.  First off, my students are the epicenter of my Makerspace.  When I say let the students guide the learning, I mean let them decide what workshops to focus on. Also, let students lead those workshops!  The great thing about this is that you and I do not have to be experts in Minecraft or duct tape wallets, because chances are, we can find students who knows WAY more than we do on the subject.  I wrote extensively about this in my article in the spring issue of Knowledge Quest.  Which you can access here if you are a member of AASL.

However, you do have to push students to do more than just learn a new skill.  Which is why the second step I suggest is hosting a workshop to teach students how to do something new and then for the third step, create a challenge to see how far your kids can push their learning.  I learned this technique from my librarian friend Leah Mann, who also works in my district.  She sets the kids up with a month long challenge and usually rewards the top Make with an iTunes giftcard.  I hope to institute a monthly challenge next year and then end the year with a Maker faire! (Hopefully across our whole district!) 

The fourth step is a gentle reminder, that while high tech is cool and exciting, low tech is still necessary!  Low-tech tools like making things with cardboard, making binary bracelets (Thanks again @DianaLRendina for hacking code.org's lesson and sharing!)  or even having kids create their own ukuleles, will help you engage an even broader audience and get more kids tinkering. 

As for high tech, this doesn't always mean high price! We spent the entire month of May learning coding and programming for free with tools like code.org and MIT’s Scratch programming. (Which by the way, if you wanna learn Scratch, you should geek out with me by completing some challenges over at Pursuitery.com).  Also, if you missed my coding post, I vlogged about it two episodes ago here.

Lastly, for those wanting more, you can access more sites for free coding, workshop ideas, and resources here: http://goo.gl/ofcIl7 . These resources were created by Leah Mann and myself for the Summer Digital Learning Conference at Region 11 last month.

To end this post, I’d like some communication with my global community.  How do you see yourself incorporating makerspaces? Do you see a difference in STEAM and Makered or is it the same thing with a different name? What steps are missing on my Canva.  Do you have a similar "How to" Please comment below!

Last year we started our Makerspace with month long programming in May.  We did a different workshop every Monday and you can read more in my article in the March issue of Knowledge Quest.  Since we did Maker programming all year, I decided to focus on one thing for May-ker Monday and really go all out.  Students signed up for Code.org's "Intro to Computer Science" and came to the library Mondays after school and Thursdays during Advisory.  We made Binary initial bracelets, created games on Scratch, played banana pianos with Makey Makey, skyped with a game developer, and basically had a ton of fun!

It was great to have a focused Maker workshop every week because I had the same kids come over and over again. The "challenge" of finishing the coding levels kept them coming and kept them engaged. 
I also noticed the kids stayed more focused because I set up stations for them to complete.
Watch my video to learn more and hear from the kids! (Also on Youtube here)
Watch Now:

This explanatory video is for April 17th staff development.

My Makerspace workshops have been slowing down since we are in the throes of testing, and it is upsetting to me because I was sure that my Makerspace workshops on Garageband, Fangirl iBook Authors, and other Mac driven classes would increase participation.  Then the other day I got an email from Teen Tech Week talking about Mozilla's "Teach the Web" toolkit and I realized, maybe I'm having the wrong type of technology workshop?  I opened up "Popcorn Maker" and began making the most ridiculously fun multimedia experience.  Soon 8th graders crowded around my desk to see why "Gangnam Style" was blasting from my laptop.  They helped me look for silly viral videos to add to my "popcorn."  At that moment, I realized that this is the next Makerspace workshop and all I have to do to promote it is share this video with my students at lunch!  (Please forgive the lag time in the video- it is a free tool and therefore not professional quality- but OH SO FUN TO MAKE!)

Update: They loved the Popcorn Maker Party!

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