Repurposing and creative thinking were at the heart of week 2 of CEP 811, and it proved to be a challenge for me. Our goal was to visit a thrift shop (or a basement) and find something that could be repurposed to interact with our maker kit to create a prototype of a learning tool or activity for use in our classroom. The interaction portion of the project was what proved to be a stumbling block, but more on that later.
I started my project wandering the aisles of the local Goodwill store. My maker kit, Circuit Stickers, just didn’t seem to lend itself well to anything I saw. Circuit Stickers are designed for use in an artistic type of activity, and most of what I teach in the library is very straightforward. It does not allow for much student creativity. I wracked my brain to find both an activity that could be reworked to be more artistic and an item that could be repurposed to support it. When I found a metal corner shelf that I thought could be repurposed easily to display interactive book reviews, I thought I had it made in the shade. I hurried home and got my creative juices flowing.
I figured out a simple way to use the stickers and reading response questions to make an interactive student review. I thought it could be one of a series of more creative ways for students to present reviews ranging from book trailers made in PhotoStory to comic strips created using Pixton to podcasts recorded in Audacity. The shelf would sit sideways on the shelftop displaying QR codes, comic strips and interactive reviews, as well as providing a storage space for copies of the books reviewed and tablets for accessing online content. That was when I reread the assignment and realized that the repurposed item has to INTERACT with the maker kit. My shelf didn’t interact with anything. Back to the drawing board. I will implement these ideas in my library though because they fit my curriculum beautifully and give my students with different means of expression.
I went thrifting again in my basement, and focused on things that fit the more arts and crafts style of my maker kit. I found a bunch of small embroidery hoops and Aida cloth which got me thinking about the lights shining through the cloth like stars. That was my light bulb moment. In the spring, I teach the mythology behind the constellation stories to my fourth graders. As their assessment, they write their own modern day constellation myth and design the constellation. This activity is typically done on black paper with metallic sharpies, but I got to thinking maybe it would work to use the circuit stickers instead. The change is only one of substitution when looking at the SAMR model which means there is no real change in my learning outcomes from before so the activity would continue to be connected to my curriculum in the same manner as before the change. However, the change is a baby step toward a more integrated Maker culture in my school.
How to create a Circuit Sticker constellation
- Create your constellation myth and design your constellation.
- Cut out a piece of dark cloth the same size as the inside of an embroidery hoop.
- Design a circuit representing your constellation on the cloth. Make sure you place the stickers at the spots where your stars will be in your constellation.
- Place a second piece of cloth in the embroidery hook. Fit the fabric with the circuit behind the piece of fabric in the hoop. Check to make sure the lights are showing through the top fabric.
- Using a silver Sharpie, draw the outline of the constellation on the top fabric.
This short video shows how it should all work.
The lesson plan for the activity, can be found here.
“Enchanted Valley” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Multimodal Elements Statment
The multimodal elements in this post enhance the readers understanding and build bridges. The use of the Goodwill icon helps readers make a connection to the thrift store element of the process and the photograph of the book review represents the initial route that my thinking took in this project. The final video combines still and moving pictures to put together a visual story of how the process should work.