This spring the Bubbler team has been hard at work in Madison classrooms - facilitating ongoing professional development sessions with our Making Spaces teacher and librarian partners, and running student workshops in MMSD schools.
On Monday evenings after school, our teacher partners have embroidered protest patches with Maria Amalia Wood; doodled self published zines at Communication Madison with Carlee Latimer and Maggie Denman; and made stop motion animation and green screen videos with Bubbler media instructor Nate Clark and Bubblerarian Rebecca Millerjohn.
"The world of 'making' is so big! And our teachers have finite time to explore. We're trying to be as strategic as we can in sharing new skills and projects that they can implement with their students," Rebecca told us. "For so many of them, Makerspace time is about giving students choice and agency to try something new. We're trying to make it as easy as possible for our teachers to expand the range of those choices."
7 Schools • 450+ Students • 3 Months
However, engaging with new technology or a new expertise often takes more than an hour-and-a-half long PD session. So the Bubbler team hit the road to do projects with seven Making Spaces schools.
At Glendale Elementary School's FabLab, REACH teacher Sara Milewski and librarian Nancy Engle invited us to do stop motion animation workshops with their 4th graders.
"We have a lot of the materials we need for stop motion already," Sara explained. "But it was new to Nancy and I - and all of our students. Nate and Rebecca came in to do instruction with our students, but also with us! Now we are excited it can be an all-the-time choice in the FabLab. We're also excited about partnering in the fall when these 4th graders can act as mentors."
Glendale students made videos about their school motto (in English and in Spanish!) to be shared on the morning announcements.
Perseverance and Success
At Lake View Elementary, we took on a new challenge, making stop motion animation videos with librarian Shannon Furman and REACH teacher Kimberley Besmer's 4th and 2nd graders.
"I've never done a stop-motion workshop with kids that little, but they did great!" Bubbler instructor Nate exclaimed. "There was definitely some frustration, and we had to work on working together, but they were so proud of what they made and wanted to show it off."
Shannon and Kim were so pleased with the result. They are also excited about a project in the fall, this time focused on curriculum integration now that their kids have a foundation of the skills.
The Bubbler project at O'Keeffe Middle School in February was decidedly less techy - teaching basic sewing skills to create adorably ugly sock monsters with librarian Mindy Grant's afterschool maker club.
"It's a really good maker club when everybody is focused but still able to talk to each other and have fun. Sock monsters were really great for that," one 6th grader told us. "Yeah - and nobody was trying to sneak onto their Chromebooks," his friend added.
While Mindy's club has explored different technology, it was eye opening to hear the group of middle school boys explain that sewing and knitting had been two of their favorite activities so far.
Empowering Student Voices
Bubbler media instructor Rob (Dz) Franklin, while having mad skills in audio engineering, also took a low-tech approach when teaching hip-hop and spoken word over 4 days with 4th and 5th graders at Schenk Elementary School.
"Rob introduced our students to a new genre of writing. They were very excited about the openness of what they could write about - their feelings, emotions," said Schenk librarian Sam Skar. "Four of our 5th graders, who are usually not very enthusiastic about writing, were very excited. They loved working with Rob and seeing him do his work and rap."
"I usually work with teens with the Bubbler, but working with the younger kids was awesome," Rob reflected. "It makes me feel like the Lavar Burton of hip hop!