Comics, puppets, and green screens oh my! Who says that teachers take their summers off? 2018 was a summer of educator learning as the Bubbler team supported professional development at educator conferences across the city of Madison.
From two marathon days working to empower MSCR youth educators to embrace literacy in their summer school after school care, to the Midwest Arts Integration conference, to UW's second annual Play, Make, Learn convening, we have been spreading the love for maker centered learning experiences for kids.
In the last five years, the Bubbler has become a hub for making & learning. As much as we love running programs in all 9 Madison Public Libraries, in the juvenile detention & shelter, in community centers, in after school sites, in local parks, and in schools... we have realized we can't do it all.
And why should we? With such an incredible pool of eager and passionate educators who support the mission of creative learning opportunities in our community, we can increase our impact tenfold by sharing our practices.
This summer marked a big shift for our team, with our youth services Bubblerarian, Rebecca, spending more and more of her time supporting educators rather then programming herself.
What did we learn? We love teachers! Whether they are tackling how to support social studies curriculums with comics, how to teaching coding through building mazes, or how to engage kids in after school in creative storytelling through puppet making - their energy is contagious. And their collaboration has pushed us as an organization to think about how we better assess and evaluate the learning that comes from creative making environments. (And also how to make the best castles out of stacking cups!)
How do we measure success?
When working with educators, we not only help them think about how making and hands on activities can support their students' learning - we encourage them to immerse themselves in those experiences, too.
When our teachers get lost in a process, when they can express a sense of wonder or excitement in a realization, when they tinker and try (and often have to try again!) they build their own understanding of the value of making.
While hosting a rotation of activities at the Madison Metropolitan School District's Power Up conference, we delighted in the audible "awwwws" of teachers when we called time and asked them the switch stations. Just one more minute with the stomp rockets!
Through their own experiences, educators are able to
reflect on the processes happening in their own brains while tinkering. What understandings they were able to establish or what problems they were able to work through. They begin to envision what these experiences would look like with their own students and develop a vocabulary around developing a Maker Mindset.
Building a Community of Resources
The Bubbler at MPL was built on the idea that our community is our biggest resource - even beyond all the books on our library shelves. By sharing our knowledge, connections, and expertise with educators, we expand those resources even further and build lasting relationships for the future.
Our educational partners expand beyond traditional classroom spaces to after school spaces, community center spaces, and to UW where professors are training the next generation of teachers.
The Bubbler team is delighting in its new-ish roll as "hub" for making & learning in the city, and cannot wait for many more summers of learning to come!