When we set up our libraries and classrooms, we create procedures to help keep things running smoothly. In the same way, we need to create makerspace procedures that help our students understand how to utilize and participate in our spaces. It can be tricky to figure out the perfect procedures. Here’s some advice on setting up procedures for your space:
Incorporate Student Voice
Makerspaces are about the students. You want to make sure that the procedures you create are student-focused. Meet with a group of your students and brainstorm procedures together. By giving your students voice in the process, they’re more likely to actually follow the makerspace procedures.
Find the Best Solution for YOUR Space
Every makerspace is different. You can’t just copy and paste the procedures from another school’s makerspace and expect them to work perfectly for you. Find what solutions are most successful for YOUR space and YOUR students.
Make It Easy to Be Independent
Try to create procedures that give students as much independence as possible. If they need you to assist them all the time (i.e., unlocking technology, approving items for storage, etc) that takes away from your time working with students on projects and adds frustration.
Teach and Enforce Procedures Early and Often
Create your procedures as early in the year as possible and enforce them right away. The longer you wait to get procedures in place, the more likely students are to create bad habits that will be difficult to break.
Some Procedures to Include:
- Safety – Do students need googles, hair tied back, gloves or other items?
- Accessing supplies – How do students get to supplies, and what are they allowed to use?
- Storing supplies – Where do students put supplies when done?
- Sharing supplies – What happens if another student has something that someone wants to use?
- Damage – What happens if something breaks?
- Clean-up – How and when do students clean up their spaces?
- Project storage – Where can students store in-progress projects?
- Check out my post on our after-school Makers Club, where I talk about some of our procedures.
- My Makerspace Organization Pinterest board has lots of great ideas for organizing supplies
What are some of the procedures that you have in place in your makerspace?
Author: Diana Rendina
Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory, an independent 6-12 school. She was previously the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and learning space design and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace and is the author of Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.
Categories: Blog Topics, Makerspaces/Learning Commons, STEM/STEAM
Do you have any ideas to manage student sign up during lunch periods?
I don’t want Library/Makerspace it to be a punishment nor a reward and I want the system to allow all students the opportunity without a lot of fan fair.
I’m looking for a sign up system that encourages a variety of students.
Any ( and all) suggestions are appreciated.
This is a Middle School.
Do you have the students do any kid of reflection on what they have constructed?
@Carolyn – I had a general lunch pass system at my previous school. Students had to fill out an application (basically saying they wouldn’t behave badly) and have their lunch period teacher sign off on it. After that, they were added to a list of students who were allowed to sign out passes from the admin during lunch. I limited it to 10-15 passes per lunch. It worked most of the time.
@Sylvia – I usually have students reflect through sharing. Students might make a video talking about their project – what went wrong, what they would change etc. They might make a presentation to the group or over a video conference. I never got into written reflections and maker’s notebooks (yet) but that’s a great option too.
I’m learning about the Makerspace movement. I’ve started one this year in our media center. I’m also on the special areas rotation wheel so students see me every other week. My question is do you have a new challenge every time students come? Or do you just have free choice with materials out? I don’t have enough sets for full class usage…only two Makey Makey, two little bits, etc. I have some creation station materials but not enough for 750 students to use over a two week period. I’m just really confused as to how to run it. I don’t Makerspace to be a “play” time. I want students to be creative but also learn something too. I’m a 2-3 grade elementary school. Please help!
Suwannee Elementary School
Live Oak, Florida