The Talking Stick Blog

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Maker: Make Something?

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Make Something?

Make something? Generate a product every Maker Class? The learning here at Talking Stick is supposed to be process focused and now we must deliver the goods? As it turns out having goals, working together to achieve them (and cleaning up afterwards) plus all the problem solving that entails is a great way to develop processes.

So far we have used a lot of paper. Adam and I looked at each other the other day and were like, oh my, people are going to think that’s the only resource we have! Paper seed bombs, homemade paper, and a map on butcher paper. . . this week we may make a departure and make a marble run out of paper towel rolls! Actually materials we would like to incorporate in the future include various kinds of clay to make leaf impressions, plastic bottles for “time capsules”, and wooden popsicle sticks for a physics experiment.

Having a goal is neat, creating with your hands satisfying, and working as a group powerful. In the rest of the Day Program we have goals too. It is just that they are usually determined by the participants and not preset by the adults. In all of the Day Program, including Maker Class, people are encouraged to make projects their own by changing the direction or adding something previously unthought of. But the expectation in Maker Class is that you will be making what we have planned for you to make with some wiggle room and flexibility but not going off in a completely different direction. The benefits of this? Creativity can abound within set limits, sometimes in ways it would not if there were total freedom. So it is not make this marble run to these exact specifications but it is going to be a marble run and not transformed into a project using paper towel rolls as horns, musical or otherwise. Later the materials can be used to implement other ideas.

In addition to making, we also play physical team building games and enjoy verbal challenges. The wave, where people lie down next to each other and one at a time someone lies lengthwise and the bottom people roll simultaneously giving the person on top the experience of riding a wave. Our verbal exercises have included telling a story consisting of words given on at a time by people going around a circle. We ended up with something funny that actually still made sense grammatically.

The other day I brought out some jenga blocks with questions written on them like “if you were an animal, what would you be” and “If you could push a button and change something about the world, what would it be”. But before I even explained about the blocks, there was a plethora of “I don’t want to do this”. But I went ahead and started and of course, people were really into them.

So far Maker Class has been about establishing group identity, getting to know the different personalities and tendencies of participants, and learning how to focus and problem solve as a group. Oh yeah, and have fun!