Baking as making: Final Thoughts


Oatmeal Cookies

Today I baked some cookies. And reflected on what I learned in CEP 811.  Check out this video that shows how baking and making are connected!


CEP 811 has affirmed my thinking about the importance of making and creativity on learning.  I still have questions about what my future makerspace will be, but I now have tools and resources to assist in the creation and integration of this space into the elementary school library.  Thanks CEP 811!

Assessing in a maker environment: a learning process

Scantron Test

Scantron Test

Learning. Testing. Feedback. On-going. Self-reflection. Formative. Summative. Rubric. Exit Slip. Standardized. These are some words that come to mind when I think about the concept of assessment.

Assessment is essential to learning.  When interrelated with curriculum and instruction, constant, appropriate assessment becomes a powerful tool to support student growth and learning (Harada & Yoshina, 2005).  Harada and Yoshina (2005) wrote that “this interactive concept of assessment is part of a larger paradigm shift in which learning and understanding are seen as a spiraling, student-focused process. In this process, assessment becomes critical in reshaping and reordering knowledge through action and reflection” (p. 1).

However, as I’ve read and learned throughout CEP 811, assessment in a maker environment can be nebulous and difficult. Sheridan and Halverson (2014) wrote that “perhaps the greatest challenge to embracing the maker movement in K-12 schools, especially in our current accountability environment, is the need to standardize, to define “what works” for learning through making” (p. 500).  Practically, how will I know that my elementary students are learning in the library makerspace, and how will I help them grow their creativity and critical thinking skills?



As an educator charged with student learning, I am learning how to assess creative problem solving during maker-inspired lessons.  In his blogpost, Wiggins (2012) urged educators to include creativity in the assessment process, and gave examples of rubrics that address this.  He maintained that students first must know the purpose of the creative task (which is not pleasing the teacher, by the way), and then reflect on their process and product in light of this purpose.  “This idea of focusing on impact is actually key to student autonomy, reflected in self-assessment and self-adjustment” (Wiggins, 2012).

Encouraged by Wiggins, I think that rubrics have a place in assessment of creative learning.  Rubrics can provide guidelines for expectations, and opportunities for student reflection.  Additionally, I would use reflection pieces, peer-critique, and informal assessment including exit slips, whiteboard notes, etc. to assess creative learning. I also read about students keeping a notebook of their experiences in a makerspace (Maker Media, 2013).  I think this would be a valuable and engaging tool for students to keep track of their own learning.

Rubrics, self-reflection, peer-critique and on-going formative assessment fits with constructivist learning theory and is supported by the ideas presented by a variety of researchers.  In constructivism, students learn best when they have ownership over their learning and can learn in a community (O’Donnell, 2012). Rubrics allow for student choice and student ownership.  Peer-critique allows students to learn from each other. Isselhardt (2014) compelled educators to make assessment meaningful to instruction.  These types of assessment fit with the nature of creative learning, and will not stifle that process, though the proper form of a rubric is essential.  In his video interview, Gee maintained that assessment needs to be consistent, continual and appropriate, as in a video game (Edutopia, 2010).  By having students record their learning after a makerspace session in their notebook, or leave a post-it with a question or idea learned enables the learning facilitator to monitor the learning process and know where more scaffolding is needed, or where more responsibility can be given.


Edutopia. (2010, July 20). James Paul Gee on grading with games. Retrieved from

Halverson, E.R. & Sheridan, K. (2014). The maker movement in education. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4), 495-465. Retrieved from /content/SS15/CEP/811/SS15-CEP-811-733-97EFZZ-EL-14-204/Halverson&Sheridan_MakerMovementinEducation_2014.pdf

Harada, V. H., & Yoshina, J. M. (2005). Assessing learning: Librarians and teachers as partners. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Isslehardt, E. (2013, February 11). Creating Schoolwide PBL Aligned to Common Core [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Maker Media. (Spring 2013). Makerspace playbook: School edition. Retrieved from

O’Donnell, A. (2012). Constructivism. In APA Educational Psychology Handbook: Vol. 1. Theories, Constructs, and Critical Issues. K. R. Harris, S. Graham, and T. Urdan (Editors-in-Chief). Washgington, DC: American Psychological Association. DOI: 10.1037/13273-003.

Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Conclusion: #MakerEd in the school library is a good thing!

Making      +         Books      =   Learning

Having learned about and participated in the Maker Movement these past few weeks as part of CEP 811, I am convinced that making supports school library curriculum and will enhance the learning of my elementary students and staff.  I have read articles, blogposts, and book chapters, and watched TED talks, educational lectures and other presentations.  I have thought about learning space design, and was reminded of the complexities of learning theories.  I have experimented with maker kits and new software tools.  I even created an infographic here that explains what I have learned throughout this course.

Maker Ed in the School Library

Reference list

Ballard, S., Fontichiaro, K., & Sullivan, P. Think, create, share, grow: Setting the stage for collaborative inquiry [PDF document]. Retrieved from

Halverson, E.R. & Sheridan, K. (2014). The maker movement in education. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4), 495-465. Retrieved from /content/SS15/CEP/811/SS15-CEP-811-733-97EFZZ-EL-14-204/Halverson&Sheridan_MakerMovementinEducation_2014.pdf

Hlubinka, M. (2013, August 21). Stocking up school makerspaces. Retrieved from:

Preddy, L. (2013). Creating school library “makerspace”. School Library Monthly, 29(5). Retrieved from

Sheridan, K. Halverson, E.R., Litts, B.K., Brahms, L, Jacobs-Priebe, L., & Owens, T. (2014) Learning in the making: A comparative case-study of three maker spaces. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4), 505-565. Retrieved from /content/SS15/CEP/811/SS15-CEP-811-733-97EFZZ-EL-14-204/Sheridanetal_ComparativeCaseStudyofThreeMakerSpaces_2014.pdf

Learning Space Redesign: Looks really do matter …

Walking into the library at my elementary school, students and staff are surrounded by bookshelves, a colorful mural, and access to technology.  They are also able to spend time in three zones – a lounge in the fiction section, an open space by the picture book shelves, and a teaching area in the corner.  Currently this windowless teaching space has tables, old metal shelving and an interactive whiteboard.  While working with classes throughout the library, I have thought about this quadrant, and envision more happening here than is currently possible.  Imagine my delight when this week’s assignment for CEP 811 was to redesign a learning space.  Time to put my dreams down on paper – or at least on an electronic equivalent!

Current Teaching Corner

Current Teaching Corner

Current Teaching Corner - Side View

Current Teaching Corner – Side View

Right now, this area of the library is used for large group instruction, small group work, staff meetings and presentations.  Some collaboration takes place around the static tables, but primarily this space fits with the classroom model in which a teacher stands in front and delivers instruction to students. In thinking about the CEP 811 design challenge, I was inspired by The Third Teacher flash card #11 which says “Make it new.  Look at your learning space with 21st-century eyes: Does it work for what we know about learning today, or just for what we knew about learning in the past?” (OWP/P Architects, 2010, p. 57).  Based on what I have learned in this course, I want this library to be a flexible learning space that supports collaboration, creativity and 21st century learning.

For this week’s assignment, I used Sketchup to create a model of my dream for this collaborative space.

New Space - Side View

New Space – Side View

New Space - different side view

New Space – Other Side View

New Space - Top view

New Space – Top View

In this redesign, I would begin with the walls and remove the metal shelving, relocate the class sets of books housed there to another area of the school, and wrap the walls in a whiteboard-like wallpaper.  Students would be able to sketch out their ideas, storyboard digital projects, and take notes on these whiteboards.  They would be able to physically display their learning and get immediate feedback.  Additionally, three flat screen monitors would be mounted on the walls, which would mirror laptops and iPads that students and staff are using.  These monitors would become the hubs of collaboration work stations and small group instruction areas, and collectively would function as a presentation space.

The furniture in this re-design would be mobile.  Tables and chairs would be on casters, and would be easily moved by students and staff.  Students would have the opportunity to arrange the space in a way that best suits their learning.  If groups needed to work on a collaborative document, they could push tables up to the monitor.  If pairs needed to spend time in a quieter location, they could push a table to a different corner in the library.  The space would fit the needs of the users, and would not have a front.

This redesign fits what I have been learning in CEP 811.  The physical design of a space affects learning (Barrett, Zhang, Moffat & Kobbacy, 2013), so it is important to think about how furniture choices, layout and other features support students creating meaning and building understanding.  According to O’Donnell (2012), feedback, collaboration, agency and scaffolding are keys to learning in a constructivist view of education.   By having furniture that moves according to student choice, space to write down ideas (a natural formative assessment), authentic grouping opportunities, and technology access for scaffolded, personalized instruction, this redesign will promote the learning of the students and staff in my elementary school.

In order to implement this redesign, whiteboard wall covering and monitors would have to be purchased and installed. Furniture would have to be purchased, and current furniture and materials would have to be relocated.  Students and staff would need to be oriented to the space, and collaborative lessons would need to be modeled for the staff. This project would have a price tag of around $13,000, and would need support from the PTA, building administration, SIP team members, district technology staff, and the staff and students of the elementary school.  However, the benefits to the learning of everyone would indeed be priceless.


Barrett, P., Zhang, Y., Moffat, J., & Kobbacy, K. (2013). A holistic, multi-level analysis identifying the impact of classroom design on pupils’ learning. Building and Environment, 59, 678-689. doi:

O’Donnell, A. (2012). Constructivism. In APA Educational Psychology Handbook: Vol. 1. Theories, Constructs, and Critical Issues. K. R. Harris, S. Graham, and T. Urdan (Editors-in-Chief). Washgington, DC: American Psychological Association. DOI: 10.1037/13273-003.

OWP/P Architects, VS Furniture, & Bruce Mau Design. (2010). The third teacher: 79 ways you can use design to transform teaching & learning. Retrieved from

Zap – Wham – Moo: Exploring Onomatopoeia with MaKey MaKey in 5th grade


After reading about learning theories, experimenting with innovative maker technology, and discussing learning with peers for CEP 811, I was ready to create a Maker Lesson Plan.  I believe that an elementary school library is the perfect place to incorporate making into curriculum.  As a school teacher librarian, I am continually collaborating with all teachers on ways for their students to become literate across a variety of media, and providing opportunities for students and staff to learn and apply knowledge in authentic ways.


I chose to create a lesson in collaboration with my 5th grade team’s curriculum unit on figurative language.  This fits with ELA Common Core Standard L.5.5 – Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.  Additionally, the incorporation of technology into this lesson also fits with the ISTE Student NETS standards 1 (Creativity and innovation) and 6 (Technology operations and concepts).The goal for the lesson is to have heterogeneous groups of 5th grade students record sound effects for onomatopoeia examples that they have found either in poems or picture books from the library.  The students would map the sounds to a computer program called Soundplant, and design physical keys, that when touched would produce the desired sound effect via the group’s MaKey MaKey.  These poems and stories would be shared with the class’s 2nd grade buddies, and the 5th graders would have the opportunity to communicate literary and technical learning to the younger students.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 12.41.00 PM


  • Picture books and poetry books from the LLC with examples of onomatopoeia
  • MaKey MaKey sets for collaborative groups of students (boards, alligator clips, grounding pad)
  • Laptops with USB microphones for collaborative groups
  • Soundplant installed on laptops
  • Objects/play-doh for keys.  (Students can also bring in items from home, or draw keys using paper and pencil.)
MaKey MaKey

MaKey MaKey


  • After this lesson, students will be able to record their voices/sound effects using sound recorder on laptop computers.
  • After this lesson, students will be able to attach recordings to keys using soundplant.
  • After this lesson, students will create meaningful keys for their words.

Broader Goal: 5th grade students will use technology to extend their learning of ELA topics, share learning with 2nd grade buddies and think about ways to use technology in the future.

Reading Buddies

Reading buddies in the library


As this is a collaborative lesson, librarian and classroom teacher will remind students of the concept of onomatopoeia.  “We have been studying Onomatopoeia in our ELA time.  Turn and talk  – what is an example of onomatopoeia?” Students will share examples.

5th grade students will already have had exposure to MaKey MaKey – perhaps in school maker space, or during a tech time.  Librarian will ask students to remind each other of MaKey MaKey properties at their tables.  Students will then share out to whole class, with statements such as: “Remember to connect the board to the computer.  You need to have a program open that tells the keys what to do.  Make sure that the person is touching the grounding pad, etc.”

Librarian will introduce objective: “Today, we are going to program the MaKey MaKey to make the sounds that the Onomatopoeia words make in the poem or short story your group will choose.  You will share the book with your 2nd grade buddy, and help them understand onomatopoeia.”

Lesson will be structured thusly:

  1. Divide into class into groups.
  2. Model process.
  3. Each group will choose a poem or a picture book with onomatopoeia.
  4. Each group will choose 5 words to program for the MaKey MaKey.
  5. Students will record sounds using laptops and save the files to their S drive.
  6. Students will open Sound Plant.
  7. Students will add the sound to the key that group chooses.
  8. Students will make keys: They will need to decide what they would like to use as each key.  They will need to think about how they will share this book with their 2nd grade buddies.  How will the 2nd graders know which key to press for that sound?
  9. Connect keys to the MaKey MaKey board.
  10. Connect the MaKey to the computer.
  11. Test the keys.
  12. Practice reading and cueing the sounds.
  13. Visit other groups’ MaKey MaKey projects.


This Checklist will help students keep track of the steps, and allow for reflection on the project.  Classroom teacher and Librarian will also use observation to see if students understand the project.


As the school teacher librarian, I look forward to team teaching with grade levels.  For this maker lesson, I wanted to bring media learning into existing curriculum so that the MaKey MaKey technology just wasn’t a fun factor but provided a meaningful learning opportunity (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).

By heterogeneous grouping of students, collaboration is fostered.  The students will be able to learn from each other and help each other.  As O’Donnell (2012) wrote, “When there is student interaction, there is the possibility of students constructing new meanings” (p. 76).

Through librarian and teacher modeling of how to use the MaKey MaKey and recording software, students will be exposed to essential skills.  Students will then have a chance to practice in a supported environment.  This follows the constructivist model of apprenticeship learning and scaffolding (O’Donnell, 2012).

This lesson has a real world focus.  5th grade students will share a book/poem with their 2nd grade buddies.  They are creating the MaKey MaKey keys for their buddies to interact with the book.  Moreover, the 5th grade students will also function as experts to the 2nd grade novices in both ELA content and technology incorporation.  Perhaps in the future, the 5th grade students could teach the 2nd grade ones how to work the MaKey MaKey, thus continuing the apprenticeship characteristic of dialectical constructivism.

Research has demonstrated that agency is an essential component to personalized learning, motivating students and helping them to construct meaning (Adair, 2014).  In this lesson, students will be able to choose the book to use with the MaKey MaKey, and then have choice over which words need sound effects, how to make those effects, and how to represent those effects in a key.


1. Show students The Squeaky Door retold by Margaret McDonald.  Page through the book with them and model deciding which words to record for the MaKey MaKey.

2. Model recording sounds or sound effects with USB microphones and Sound Recorder on the laptops.  Great tutorial here.

Click on the Start button, type in Sound Recorder and click on it.

Click on the Start button, type in Sound Recorder and click on it.


Click the red circle to start recording.

Click the blue square to stop recording.

Click the blue square to stop recording.

Name your sound your word, and save it in your S0 space.

Name your sound your word, and save it in your S0 space.

3. Model adding sound to Soundplant keyboard.


4. Model creating a key for each of the chosen words.  Remind students of options – conductive objects, play-doh, graphite drawing.

Conductive materials

Conductive materials

Play Dough


Pencil drawing

Pencil drawing

5. Model connecting cables and MaKey MaKey to computer.


6. Test out the words.

7. Remind students to use checklist to keep track of their progress.


Adair, J. K. (2014). Agency and expanding capabilities in early grade classrooms:  What it could mean for young children. Harvard Educational Review, 84(2), 217-242,278. Retrieved from

O’Donnell, A. (2012). Constructivism. In APA Educational Psychology Handbook: Vol. 1. Theories, Constructs, and Critical Issues. K. R. Harris, S. Graham, and T. Urdan (Editors-in-Chief). Washgington, DC: American Psychological Association. DOI: 10.1037/13273-003.

Wiggins, G. and McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design, Expanded 2nd Edition.  Prentice Hall.  pg 13-33.Squeaky Door