Checking out a Makerspace

What an awesome day!  This week I travelled to Papamoa to check out some professional learning with Paula Jamieson and her team about their school Makerspace -Whare Wahianga.  This was well worth it, if you get the chance to visit do!  The team at Te Akau Ki Papamoa were very welcoming and willing to share their resources and their journey.  Here's a few hightlights/takeaways..

The Space

The Makerspace at TAKP (Te Akau Ki Papamoa) has been purpose built complete with flexible moveable furniture created in conjunction with Woods Furniture and plenty of resources.  The space was setup by Paula and each class gets to visit the space regularly throughout the year.

Makerspace Table with moveable bins at TAKP
It was so good to see furniture options that are working and definitely gave me inspriation for what might work in a different location.  I love the large table with large bins under it what a great idea for any space, not just a make environment.  It's on wheels too how cool is that?

But it's not about the space or the furniture what happens in the space is all related to what is happening in the classroom.  Where possible, Paula loosely relates each session to the themes that are currently running in classrooms.  Students then finish and follow up on what they did in the Makerspace when they're back in their classrooms. 

What happens in the Space 

Photo from Pixabay
Each session is also related to a picture book.
Paula has shared a massive list of the books she's used in the space on the Whare Waihanga site... I definitely added quite a few to my wish list, a teacher can never have enough books!  During the session we worked in small groups to brainstorm ideas for a variety of books.  What a great way to start planning.  I've done this before and often use a picture book when I'm relieving especially if there isn't a teacher plan present.  It's actually very easy to relate parts of your day back to something you've read together and was even easier when we worked with small groups of teachers so many ideas came from this part of the session.

Useful Resources

Among the large amount of inspiration I took from the day were these little beauties,  if you're in New Zealand they're in the toy isle at your local Kmart or you can buy them online here.

Smartphone Magnifier in TAKP Makerspace
If you haven't already played with a magnifier on a smartphone or tablet getting hold of one of these is a must.  Here are a few photos my son and I played around with last night... can you guess what they are? (answers at bottom of the post)

The activity in the photo above had a range of items to look at through the magnifier, rock salt is a great one as were the natural flowers, seeds etc.   Even looking closely at fabric, wall coverings, carpet proves interesting for students.

Te Akau Ki Papamoa is a 1:1 iPad school and they're great at sharing resources they've created for their learners and teachers.  If you haven't already check out their courses on iTunes U (requires an iPad/iPhone).  The oral language, writing and reading books are particularly useful if you're starting your journey with devices in a classroom.

One of the first things students learn when they come into TAKP is how to take a quality photo.  Photos are a big part of recording and reflecting on learning both within Whare Wahianga and their classrooms.  What a great skill to develop with students from the get go.  They also use Seesaw throughout the school such a great tool to have at your disposal especially for younger learners.  The students that shared with us during the session had taken some great shots of the process they'd used in their learning and were able to use the photos to help them to clearly articulate what they had been doing and why.

I could probably write plenty more about the ideas, inspiration and affirmation I gained while being part of this professional learning but I would highly recommend if you get the chance you go and experience it for yourself.  Huge thanks to Paula and the team for inviting us into your space.

What's been magnified answers... Top printing from a board game box, Middle left finger print, Middle right top of a soft rocket toy, Bottom left school hat, Bottom right soft toy snake