CMS Makerspace: The Beginning

I was so excited and honored to be invited to give the opening keynote at the Florida Association for Media in Education‘s annual conference in Orlando last week. It was a great conference — I was able to connect with and learn from some AWESOME Florida librarians! All of my presentation slides, links, and resources can be found on my presentation wiki.

The ideas that had me ready to get back to school and working on a new project came from my friend Diana Rendina‘s session on Makerspaces & Libraries. She’s doing some AWESOME things in her library, and she made the idea of a makerspace something I could wrap my head around. I had been intrigued but intimidated by the idea; she made it seem attainable and fun. So now we’re going for it!!!

I had organized and gathered some crafting supplies in the library over the summer as my first attempt at making something makerspace-ish, but I really didn’t advertise it with the students too much. I’ve had a collection of board games and puzzles for years, so I think the makerspace will fit in nicely with those things that are already in place. What drew me in the most about Diana’s space, and what I know my students will go CRAZY over, is her LEGO wall. So the first thing I talked to my principal about when I returned on Monday morning was the idea of adding a LEGO wall in our library at CMS. He was on board (because he’s the best), and we will be installing our wall VERY soon (I can’t wait to post about it!).

I also wanted to be able to try some of the other cool tools that Diana talked about in her presentation, so I decided to create my first ever Donors Choose project. I was absolutely amazed that my project was fully funded in just a few hours…and it’s because I’m surrounded by wonderful people who support our library. I’m tearing up just writing about it! Donations from my family, friends, coworkers, community members, members of my PLN, and even a school board member came in quickly to make this project happen. Most of the materials should arrive on Monday and I cannot WAIT! MaKey MaKeys, a Sphero, a set of Snap Circuits, LEGOs, LEGO books, and two sets of drawers on wheels for organizing materials are on their way. I’ll definitely be posting more soon as our makerspace becomes a reality. Until then, check out these videos for some of the cool tools that will be part of our new space:

Makey Makey:


Snap Circuits:

8 thoughts on “CMS Makerspace: The Beginning

  1. i would love to chat with you. I have been collecting materials (including Legos! ) for our elem. Library makerspaces. But I’m not sure how to manage them! Our library is very busy with k-5 students and I’m concerned that it might turn into a noisy play space rather than a maker space . Some of my questions are : do I post directions? Do I limit it to during the school day and not before and after school (because of younger siblings and lack of supervision being present) ? Do I limit it to 3rd-5th grade? My mind is spinning! LOL. I would love to pick your brain!

    1. Hi Kris!

      I’m kind of in the same place as you…trying to figure out how we’re going to make this work!
      Here are some of the things I’m thinking (although I haven’t put anything into action yet, this is my plan):
      -Opening the space during students lunch break for free time in the makerspace (although I may have to limit the number of students who can come in at a time).
      -Scheduling class visits where the different resources in the space are set up like stations so students can be introduced to the tools available.
      -Offer “Makerspace Passes” to teachers to use as incentives and have times available when students can use their passes to spend 20-30 minutes in the makerspace.
      -I know that Diana Rendina does a Maker Club where students stay after school and work on projects in the makerspace.

      You may also want to check out Shawna Ford’s blog — she’s sharing what she’s doing in her elementary school makerspace:

      Hope this helps!

  2. I am SO excited about the start of your Makerspace, and I feel honored to have played a part in it. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together – your students are going to love it 🙂

    1. This is going to be so much fun! You’re providing such a great model for a makerspace…I think I’ve looked at your blog 5 million times in the past week!

  3. Thank you so much for constantly sharing. I’ve been researching ideas in order to implement a Makerspace at my school and coming across this article has been a blessing.

  4. I wasn’t ready to expand my Makerspace offerings when you posted this, but it was the first thing I re-read when I was! Thank you & Diana Rendina for being fearless and daring creating such amazing centers of creativity in your libraries! W00t!

  5. I’m in the planning process of setting up a makerspace in our junior library, and have been collecting Lego … but HOW MUCH do I need? I bought a bulk lot on ebay, but there aren’t enough ‘general’ building pieces … any suggestions as to the quantity of blocks to start with?

    1. I had a huge box of my own LEGOs that I started with, then I asked students to donate and I received a good amount from them. That was the perfect starting point for me, and FREE!

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