Inspired by Daniel Pink’s What’s Your Sentence video and activity I had completed as an MAET student, we created an activity for our opening day keynote. We asked our staff to reflect upon the unique talents that they each bring to the team that make us strong and successful.
Then we sent our staff off to create their individual sentences. Many of our staff members hung them on the walls of their classrooms and offices as a reminder of why they are here and how they want to be remembered. At the end of the year, we shared with the staff this video and asked them to reflect upon how they had lived up to that sentence or how that sentence had changed for them over the course of the past school year.
Everyone is a Maker.
At Maker Camp, we explicitly introduced something we called a “Maker Mindset”. We decided that it was important to highlight different parts of a Maker Mindset every week of Maker Camp. Maker Mindset introduced and reinforced qualities and the kind of growth mindset that our students needed to recognize in themselves while making and creating.
Our first Maker Mindset introduced the belief that everyone can be a maker. We knew many of the students came to Maker Camp because they had an interest in making, but we worked on projects that involved a wide variety of topics and skills that could easily have become overwhelming, frustrating and lead to feelings of defeat. We wanted students to understand that they all brought unique qualities with them that made them each unique makers. Creativity, problem solving, techy skills that students commonly see themselves lacking can all be practiced and developed- they are not a prerequisite to making.
Making and creating- along with the ownership and pride in that experience- is inherently part of being human. We have been doing it since the beginning.
As a result, we included our “Super Maker” project to kick off Maker Camp. This project prompted students to create a popsicle stick superhero of themselves, write their name and some of their making strengths. We posted them on the wall and asked students to use the wall for collaboration and support. If you wanted to make a movie, but you did not consider yourself a very good artist- go to the Super Maker wall and find someone who lists drawing or animation as one of their strengths. Ask that person for help or if they would like to collaborate on a project. This was a great way to connect our campers and reinforce the Maker Mindset belief that everyone is a Maker.