Creating a Makers Club: Just Get Started

Creating a Makers Club: Just Get Started: Some many educators want to wait until everything is perfect to get started with their makerspace club. But the best time to get started is right now.

When I first started my makerspace at Stewart, I had no idea what I was doing.  I just had three bins of K’nex and a vision for what our makerspace could be.  Shortly after we got our supplies, we began 6th grade clubs that met during school.  I started the K’nex club.  The next year we created during school clubs for all grades, so I started STEAM clubs for each grade, which was basically open exploration time in our makerspace.  The next year I helped co-found our afterschool club program, where my Makers Club took off.

Now at Tampa Prep, I’ve started a Maker Mondays club where we have different themed projects each week after school for an hour.  Since we already had a VR lab when I got there, I started an 8th Grade VR club this year during middle school lunch.

At both of my schools, variations of Makers Clubs have been a huge catalyst in my makerspace programs.

Creating a Makers Club: Don’t Wait, Just Get Started

Like starting a makerspace, many educators feel hesitant to getting started with a Makers Club.  Will anyone sign up?  Is it going to be be chaos?  Will administration/the school board/ a parent shut us down?  Do we have enough supplies/funding to get started?

Here’s my advice: Just get started.

Work with what you have.  Does your school have an existing club structure already in place?  Start your club there.  Do you have an after-school care program?  Sign up to work with it and run your club then.  None of these options?  Start a club during lunch, before school, whenever you can.  While there are exceptions, if you look hard enough, you’ll likely find something that will work.

As to supplies, look around the room.  Got bins of LEGOs?  Start a LEGO club.  Plenty of robots?  Robotics club.  Is your school pushing computer science?  Create a coding club.  It doesn’t have to be a huge every-kind-of-tool-and-supply maker program to get started.

More advice on starting a Makers Club

Once you’ve decided to take the plunge and start a Makers Club, you may be looking for more help and guidance.  On Wednesday, September 26th, 6pm EST I’ll be presenting a free webinar with School Library Connection called How to Run an Awesome Makers Club in Your Library.  I’ll talk in more detail about how I started and ran my various Makers Clubs, and there will also be time for Q & A at the end.  It will be posted later on, so even if you can’t make it live, sign up so you can get notifications later.

Click here to sign-up for my FREE webinar

Hope to see you there 🙂


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.

Comments

  1. Did you video your webinar on starting a Maker Space club? I want to try but am a bit anxious. THanks, Maggie

  2. Alyshia Keys-Harris : October 10, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Diana,
    I feel like I hit the treasure trove for Makerspace Startups! Thanks for the crazy amount of energy and dedication I see poured on every post. I am in the process of creating a proposal to my admin for a space for our Makers here in Abu Dhabi. In addition to cutting through the regular administrative red-tape, I have the pleasure of also navigating hard-line cultural and religious practices. On the bright side, If it is accepted, funding is not an issue. On to my question: I’m not sure if you have experienced a situation similar to mine, but I will pose my question in hopes that you have some ideas. The Ministry has adopted STREAM, (added reading for ELLs) and to increase the odds of having this Makerspace come into existence, I would need to show how the students will work with the other Subject area teachers, who are not necessarily interested in facilitating Making. What does the communication look like? How do I send the students to get input from their other STREAM teachers?

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