Makerspace Class Procedures

As we ramp up into the school year, I thought it’d be a good idea to iterate & #document the procedures associated with Makerspace. It is common consensus among educators that effectively implemented classroom procedures help maximize learning time. For students to follow procedures, teachers must have them clearly spelled out.

While some of the procedures listed below are specific for Makerspace and the unique experiences associated with it, others are tied to school policy or learning that occurs in the briefing room.

Josh from Pixel Press teaches students in the Makerspace Briefing Room.

Josh from Pixel Press teaches students in the Makerspace Briefing Room.

Briefing Room Entrance Procedure

Students arrive to the briefing room, find their Catalyst Sheets on the desk at the front, and then have five minutes to answer the question that is posted on the board. There is a timer next to the question to signal time remaining.  Questions are aligned to our goal of building creative confidence. For an excellent source of creative questions, check out WriteAbout.

When the timer goes off table captains collect the sheets at their table and stack them along the aisle.

The main purpose for this procedure is to allow me time to take attendance.  As a bonus, this gets students writing about something creative every single day. Reading this writing helps with building relationships.

Next iteration: How might I transition this procedure to laptops without the time it takes to unplug & start-up?  This way student writing & feedback could be archived throughout the year.

Makerspace Entrance Procedure

Class starts each day in the briefing room, with transitions to the Makerspace typically happening after 5-10 minutes of instruction.  To prevent a traffic bottleneck, this transition is accomplished with an entrance ticket.  The entrance ticket is a half-sheet of paper with a few questions that either assesses the content of the instructional time or preview the work that will be happening in the Makerspace.  I check over answers as students enter the Makerspace to make sure we are on the same page with project progress.

Examples of prompts on an entrance tickets include:
“Explain your project in two sentences.”
“How might you validate that potential customers are actually interested in your product?” and
“Write a Pixar Pitch explaining the problem and solution your product addresses.”

Next iteration: Could these entrance tickets be collected in a journal?

Clean-Up Procedure

The process of designing an effective Makerspace clean-up procedure could probably be its own blog post. Though our process has been iterated dozens of times, the current form is definitely still in beta.

Sometimes the clean-up procedure isn't the most effective.

Sometimes our clean-up procedure isn’t the most effective.

It works like this:

With 5 minutes remaining in class, an iPad alarm signals students that we are now in cleanup mode. Each student cleans up her area, completes an assigned job that rotates each quarter, and then re-enters the briefing room.

Jobs include tucking in chairs, unplugging the glue gun, organizing our cardboard corral, vacuum duty, tucking in the boxes on our supply wall, managing the supply closet, and even serving as “Briefing Room Bouncer” to make sure jobs have been completed.  We track how much time clean-up takes and work to maximize efficiency throughout the year.

Next iteration: The 5 minute signal requires “immediate clean up.”  Could there be a 10 minute warning signal to prompt students that cleanup is on the way?

Project Storage Procedure

It’s crazy to think that in Year 1 students would simply stash projects on various shelves throughout the Makerspace and hope that everything would be there next time.

Now in Year 3 we have a designated storage closet that is managed by a student as part of the clean-up process. Students tag their projects with name, date, and current status (in progress or complete). Upon arrival to the storage area, the managing student places the project on a shelf by class period.

Next iteration: The supply closet manager has the huge task of storing all student projects.  How might we reduce that workload while storing projects effectively?

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