Thursday, May 7, 2015

May-king progress

The spring always gets busy and I've neglected to post on my blog lately!

My reading has slowed down. I hate that but it does happen sometimes. I did finish a fantastic book, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which is a young adult title. I picked it for my month's selection of the book club I belong to with several other ladies. It's young adult, but probably too complex for middle school. 

I also got my copy of The Heir delivered to my doorstep on May 5. This is the latest in the Selection Series by Kiera Cass. I only read two chapters the other night before I passed out. I blame my insanely early wake-up time and longer commute for that one!

In April I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the TLA Conference in Austin. I hadn't been in two years, so it was nice to get to go this year. I went to several sessions I thought would benefit me, which included one about makerspaces.

I've been struggling all year long with the idea of makerspaces. Why do I need to do it? We have a robotics club here at McKamy. They are awesome and did really well at national competitions. I have a book club where we promote reading for fun. So why should I do these crazy things and how am I going to convince my staff and faculty that this is a worthwhile venture?

One of the things I remember most about the session at TLA on makerspaces was that the librarian said, "Don't make it a club. You don't want kids to have to feel like they HAVE to come. Do many different things and let the kids decide to what interests them." After that you build relationships, and then hopefully your faculty will come to realize that what you are doing does indeed have value and connections to what they are doing in their classrooms....

After thinking about it, though, I decided to just jump in. I talked with one of my book club devotees, and discovered she's on the robotics team, and has been to NATIONAL computer programming conferences with her computer programmer mother. So, I enlisted her to help me. What I found most interesting about our conversation was that she said, "That sounds like a lot of fun Mrs. Cox, but you'll still have just plain old book club, won't you?" 

So, after a trip to Hobby Lobby the other night, watching youtube videos of how to tie sliding adjusting knots and scrounging for containers to hold the beads, we had our first "May-ker Morning" in the library today. We made binary code necklaces. It was a small group at first but then it grew to almost 15 kids. As latecomers showed up, the others readily explained to them what to do and how to create their name with beads in binary code. The hard part was tying knots at the end. But even a few figured out how to do that from my demo and helped others. It was one of those great moments you wish you could bottle and then get out again whenever you have one of those days where nothing goes right.

Next week we are going to crochet! Yes, the things I'm starting off with are more crafty than tech-y, but hey, I have to start somewhere and crochet is something I know how to do. I can't wait to see how this grows next school year...

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