Guest post from AC-T Principal Cody Tibbetts: A New Level of Student Engagement
Last spring, the thought of hosting a Maker Fair at Albert City-Truesdale Elementary began. While reflecting on the 2013-14 school year, Mrs. Erin Olson I and thought back to Grandparent’s Day 2013 where we celebrated International Dot Day for the first time and Mrs. Olson read the book, The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds. The thought of bringing a Maker Fair to AC-T came up. The AEA had done something similar at a district close to us, but this was just with the staff, no students involved. We thought, why not make the grandparents smile with creations from the grandchildren and shock them with the opportunities that AC-T students have? Is there anything better than a smiling grandparent and the looks they make when they are truly amazed? At AC-T, we envision our students not just using iPads/laptops at school, because we want them to use the technology, but we want our students and staff to take the power of technology to the next level be thinking, creating, manipulating, and sharing our creations with the world! I know that our 2014 Maker Fair reached this level and more.
The students, teachers and station leaders were soaring during our 2014 Maker Fair. Way back in April, thought of hosting this event felt like a long shot, but as the day closed in, I thought to myself, “This is really going to happen!” There were comments from teachers like, “Where did you find such an event?”, “The students are absolutely loving this” and “Are we going to do this again, next year?”. Our students were amazed. They were asking if we could do this every week or again in the spring! I really believe that if we would have told them no recess, and they could attend another Maker Fair station, we wouldn’t have been able to contain their excitement. They were like this all day long! We will again start reflecting, not on this school year, it’s a little too early, but on our 2014 Make Fair. Yes, we want to bring a Maker Fair to AC-T again, so our reflection will be more about tying up the loose ends and tweaking the length of a few stations and transition times. Nothing major, because as a whole the entire event was unforgettable! Thank you Prairie Lakes AEA and the AC-T students and staff for accepting a new challenge and finding a new way to energize our building and community! This took student engagement to a whole new level!