Makerspace at Jones Elementary
For 50 minutes, once a week, H.T. Jones Elementary (JES) students are taking control of their learning in Makerspace. Makerspace emphasizes hands-on discovery to learn, collaborate, and share. During their visit to the space, students are divided into groups to work at stations that include crafts, color therapy, puzzles, games, Legos, geography, and technology. Each group has a leader whose focus is to keep the group organized and working together.
“The idea here is students taking responsibility for their learning by choice,” JES Librarian Kimberly Perry said. “This time allows them to make their own choices and learn collaboration.”
While students play games they learn how to take turns, healthy competition, respect, and strategy.
In upper-level classes, Perry also uses this time to work with students on nonverbal commands. As students enter the library, they are given assignments with only written instructions. One assignment requires students to create short videos following specific guidelines without assistance. This challenges students to pay attention to detail, problem-solve, and be independent, creative thinkers.
“At first students are confused on what to do and require lots of assistance, but over time you can see them read the instructions and begin working on their own,” Perry said. “They are becoming more independent.”
Makerspace is so popular with students that JES allows students to purchase extra time with Jones Bucks. As part of their Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS), students can earn Jones Bucks for their positive behavior to spend on different items or activities. The extra time is known as Premium Makerspace Time, where they can participate in specially created activities such as painting stained glass.
“At my old school, we never did fun things like this,” one JES student said. “We could only grab a book and start reading.”