I love the Maker Movement. It affords kids opportunities to create and do amazing things. We provide them the tools and the space and allow them to be creative, to put their own spin on learning.
Last year, we hosted our first Maker Fest. We held it at our school and called it the CDAT STEM Maker Fest. It was a fun event, and the maker spirit was really fostered in our students.
This year, we had the opportunity to partner with our city in order to host the Sugar Hill Maker Fest in front of city hall. Once again, it was an amazing experience, and it showed the maker spirit. This time, it included community makers, vendors, food trucks, music, and our fabulous students.
However, what I have realized watching the progression of our Maker Fest is this. We are not just allowing our students to be makers. We are making leaders. The Maker Movement is just as much about character development as making.
Last year, our juniors worked through the planning. As it was our first year, the teachers did a lot of the support work. This year, the now seniors along with some juniors and sophomores continued with the organization of the event. Our students met with city officials, planned the event, worked on advertising, and organized the logistics so the day ran smoothly. Although we as teachers were there and participated, we did not have an active role in the planning. Why? They didn’t need us. The experiences from the year before helped them to learn and grow. Hosting a maker fest helped us to make student leaders.
Tonight, I attended the Datties, our annual CDAT awards ceremony. It was an incredible, well planned, and organized event. It started with a dessert social, then followed with awards for high achieving students, student and teacher superlatives, and our favorite: paper plate awards. The planning has been in the works for months now. But the most impressive thing is who planned the event. The event was an overwhelming success because two young ladies in the junior class made it that way. They took care of every detail. Organized everything from sending out surveys for awards, creating certificates, lining up presenters, and ordering cake. I love that we have an environment where students are encouraged to develop their leadership skills and given the avenue to put the skills into play. We had so much fun tonight sharing stories, eating and laughing with our students, and recognizing everyone’s hard work and unique contributions to CDAT.
So, when you think about the Maker Movement, I want you to consider another scenario. It definitely helps foster the maker spirit in our students. But remember, it can also make our makers into leaders. What can you do to start making leaders in your school? And remember, kids these days are amazing; let’s continue to provide them with incredible opportunities!