Big News! New gig as Content Creator at Makey Makey

16 years ago I graduated with a BFA in photography, and I loved getting a degree in art. (Read my apology to my art degree here.) Every semester I learned new skills and found new passions. (Like lithography, I almost decided to get an MFA in printmaking after taking that course!) However, I soon realized that I couldn’t really work full time as an artist, so I applied for grad school and got my Masters in Education.

I wanted to work in schools because of the negative experiences I had with teachers as a student. I’m happy to say I was able to spend 15 years in schools trying to let kids know that they came first and that every student has the potential to be creative. (This was my focus an English teacher and as a librarian.)

After my art degree, I was still consumed with learning new skills, and creating things. In the early 2000s I taught myself to sew and created an Etsy shop. As a beginning teacher, I taught myself to knit and even hosted a weekly knitting meet up for a few years.

So it makes sense that I became a maker educator. Making things and learning how things work is part of what makes me tick.

Plu, after writing maker project books with Aaron, and sharing new projects with Twitter and Instagram friends, I realized that my work in schools could continue, even if I am not in a school on a daily basis.

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So it makes me extremely happy to tell you readers that I’m forging a new career path at Makey Makey/Joy Labz. My new job as Director of Community and Creative Content is to make stuff and share it. My daily tasks are to share ideas with the maker community, and create content to help you and your makers grow. Don’t worry, I’ll still be in area schools testing projects and teaching students how to find their inner creativity.

It will just be on a much larger scale.

Speaking of larger scale, here is my first project as a content creator. I hope you have fun making and hacking this oversized Makey Makey! This oversized tool is a great way to teach students how to use a Makey Makey.

This blog will continue to focus on maker projects (Makey Makey and beyond!) and I’ll still be reviewing maker tools for use in schools (Upcoming reviews include: Scratch Coding Cards, Scratch Jr Coding Cards, and various sewing machines for all school levels.) Aaron evens says he’ll be coming on as a contributor and writing about projects he attempts with his students.

 

Makey Makey and Scratch Interactive Word Wall for Elemakers!

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Inspiration

A couple of weeks ago, I started creating a sound word game with one of my favorite Piggie and Gerald books, Pigs Make Me Sneeze. Around the same time, I saw a post from Tom Heck in the Makey Makey Educator group where participants in his workshop  created an invention that helps young students learn new words. It was a serendipitous a-ha moment for me! I could make my own interactive word board so that my kinder kids could be empowered to play the sight word matching game on their own!

Gaining Confidence

It’s been a pretty cool week, I’ve watched some of my kinder kids who are still getting the hang of reading sight words find confidence in becoming self sufficient by utilizing the word wall. Watch them use the sound board to find the right matches below.

Scratch Game

In case you are interested, here is the Scratch Game that I created to play the sounds. I went a little overboard making the words pop-up, but it was a fun Scratch challenge for me to attempt having my word only appear for a short time, and then go back to the Scratch cat.

(Unfortunately, Scratch won’t embed on WordPress, but make sure you go here to check out the game.)

Make Your Own!

I shared the tweet of my kinder kids on the Future Ready Librarians Facebook group and had a lot of librarians ask me how I made this interactive word wall. Maybe I’ve been hanging out with Design Make Teach too much, but I thought I’d throw together a quick tutorial on Youtube. Enjoy!

Last Note – Empower the teachers- empower the learners…

While it is cool for teachers to make their own manipulatives, it is even cooler when students can use these ideas in their own projects. My next step at school is to get my 4th and 5th graders to create interactive literacy games for their reading buddies. One group has shown interest in making sentence boards and another wants to make personalized word walls for their kinder buddies!

Let me know what you and your students Makey Makey with this idea!