Support Making at Cecil Intermediate School

Susie Lavallee, Cecil Intermediate School

Susie Lavallee, Cecil Intermediate School

Help us work with more schools! Six Pittsburgh-area schools need to meet their fundraising goals on Kickstarter by Monday, November 2, in order to create their own makerspaces and partner with Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. The Kickstarting Making program, a collaboration between the Children’s Museum and Kickstarter, encompasses 10 schools that want to integrate making, or hands-on learning with old and new technologies.  Each of the 10 schools that  meets their goal will receive professional development from the Children’s Museum, design services that provide furniture plans and inventories for custom makerspaces, as well as equipment, supplies and furniture, all in the spirit of MAKESHOP.

Four schools have met their goals so far, so this week we are featuring an educator from each of the six schools still fundraising.  You can learn about all of the Kickstarting Making Programs, and add your support to the campaigns, at www.kickstarter.com/pages/pghkidsmake.  

Read on to learn about one of the educators from a Kickstarting Making schools:

Cecil Intermediate School

Dream, Design, Create and Dream Some More

Seeking to create dynamic project-based learning that features hands-on making and a socially conscious curriculum.

What is your role and how long have you been with the school?

I am a sixth grade reading teacher at Cecil Intermediate School leading the Kickstarter project.  I’ve been teaching for 16 years, and this is my 11th year teaching grade six at this school.  I have a Masters Degree in Instructional Technology.

How do you define making and why do you think it’s an important instructional strategy? 

To me, making incorporates the design process to produce something that can be used to solve a problem.  Making involves working with any number of materials from wood and metal to video production and coding.

How will the campaign provide you with the support you need to integrate making at your school?

With exposed plumbing, brick walls, and industrial lighting, what used to be a middle school storage area will make an excellent makerspace.  But beyond basic lighting and flooring, the room is bare.  The campaign will breathe life into this space.  We imagine students dreaming, designing, and creating with hand tools, sewing machines, and digital resources.

How will integrating making benefit you?  

Reading is complex.  There is no “one size fits all” method to helping children become good readers.  Students who want to gain understanding from written word need to persevere when text is tough.  They need to problem solve and figure out what works for them.  The same is true with making.  They need many opportunities to practice skills.  They need to understand that life is full of challenges that can be solved in multiple ways.

How will integrating making benefit your students?

Kids want to know that their ideas matter, and that they are being heard.  Making will provide the opportunities to grow as learners and as citizens of our community.  They will have ownership over their learning and develop a sense of pride as they create something.

View Cecil Intermediate School’s campaign and make a contribution here.

Rebecca has been a MAKESHOP intern, educator, Teaching Artist and Manager. She's also been a graphic designer, costume shop manager, shoe salesperson, and hair stand-in for Fabio.

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