My crew of awesome people was expanded this year when I got tapped to teach with the Digital Innovators of Napa Learns. I met some WICKED smart people who happen to be teachers like me -- or should I say WAY BETTER THAN me, but you get it; they are uber cool. If you live around here and don't know about Napa Learns, you totally should look them up. They are doing amazing things for your community -- one of which is supporting, building and expanding the skills of teachers.
We got to participate in a grant, and thanks to some AMAZING donor's, our school earned a Maker Cart. The Husband asked, "What is a maker's cart?" A legit question if you aren't a teacher. Basically, it's a cart stocked with everything from empty paper towel rolls, hot glue guns, sequins, and even up to 3-D printer materials. It is basically like your cool Aunt's craft closet on steroids.
We met today, to talk about all the cool things that we can do with the cart, and to build our carts. Our school brought three teachers, including me, and three students, including the Girl. Altogether seven carts were built in just under three hours. Each school represented worked on their own cart. We even signed our names on the bottom of the shelf so that everyone will know that we were the ones who built it. If you are a friend of my IRL, there's a cool elapsed time video of the build on my FB wall.
I like building things. I always have. My Dad and I built tons of stuff, and over time, I became the Official Builder of All New Furniture in the house. I remember early in my teaching career when my Dad built these awesome cabinets for my classroom -- and then went on to build them for tons of other classrooms at my school. I imagine they are all still there. There is something terribly satisfying to go from a pile of various parts to a finished THING. I suppose it is the grown up version of legos.
Perhaps that is why I have enjoyed learning to code so much. It is the same principal. You start with a blank page, and piece by piece you make something out of nothing. It works a different part of my brain than teaching or actual physical building, but it is creation all the same.
A good friend of mine, recently showed me this cool website called Instructables -- and it is basically a DIY site for EVERYTHING. I included a link below where you can check it out. It is free and pretty awesome. It IS a place where people can post their projects, so whenever the Offspring look at it, I'm standing near their shoulder. They do NOT need to learn how to build your very own keg. They recently added a new section called "classes" where you can watch videos and learn how to make things. I like to check out the knitting one every now and then because I am largely self-taught and so my technique could use some improvement.
I suppose, in a larger sense, teaching is a kind of Maker Experiment, too. As a school we are striving to build a next generation capable of not only thoughtful problem-solving, but innovative thinking. We are trying to construct a generation that will move beyond our time, and far into the future. Schools are the ultimate Maker Cart.