"We are living a public life on a global stage, the ones who can express themselves best, will be heard." -Laura Hill, Author The Great Story World Mix-Up, co-creator #whatisschool

Read the books I write with my children.

Sunday, April 30, 2017



#Whatisschool Thursday March 16, 7 PM EDT
Turning Students Into Global Digital Citizens

For the first time in history nearly half the world’s population is under the age of 26.  While that might not seem significant to you to future governments, economies and the environment this shift can have far reaching implications.  Why?  Because only some segments of the population are keeping pace with the rapid technological development transforming our world.  How people collaborate, invent and work together in the future will have a profound effect on future generations.

Carl Sagan once defined an ideal citizenry as people “...with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.”  Change that to define the ideal global digital citizen and you might add ethical connection and contribution, the ability to leverage technology on a global scale, and fostering community through compassion.  And since students today have a duo existence both in the technological world being created and the physical world we reside in, the ability to be a global digital citizen is crucial.

So how can we ensure that there is balance and that ALL students grow up with the opportunity to use their talents to shape the future?  Who will make the rules that govern how technology is used and how reality is blended?  Will it be for the common good or the enrichment of an elite few?

Join me Laura Hill (@candylandcaper) and Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz) March 16, 7PM EDT as #whatisschool explores ways to educate students to be Global Digital Citizens.
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Questions #whatisschool March 16, 2017

1) How can we use technology to connect students with community on the local and global scale?
2) What roles can we create in the classroom to foster skills like project and digital management to build student’s capabilities?
3) How can we use technology to help students form their own critical, ethical questions and research solutions to real world problems?
4) How can we assist students in building Student Learning Networks (SNLs) that allow them to assess and realize their ideas?
5) What strategies can we use to help students become independent, collaborative learners?
6) How can we use our roles as educators, parents and leaders to work with students to build our global digital skills together?



Chat times for around the world are:
Thursday 4pm Pacific Time
Thursday 6pm Central Time
Thursday 7pm EDT
Thursday 11pm GMT
Friday 7am Singapore/WA (Perth) Time
Friday 9am AEST


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Art as Inspiration #whatisschool

Last night at #whatisschool we shared ways to bring your creativity to the classroom.  My whole life has revolved around creative expression and its application to art, movies, television, publishing and most recently education.  As my own daughters move through the scholastic system during this amazing time of upheaval and technological revolution I continually find them, and myself, straddling a line between old and new ways of teaching, learning and expression.  What I am finding is both are needed and necessary to inspire, create and to get great ideas into the world.  Thank you ALL for your inspiration last night #whatisschool, especially my co-host @shift paradigm who also is exploring his own truth through creative expression.  I encourage you all to take a moment to pause today, close your eyes and consider what inspires you.  That one moment of quiet may give you insight and inspiration that will spread like wildfire to those you influence today.  Please support the arts and the dreamers who let their secret thoughts out of their heads for all the world to love, hate, cheer and reject.  It tales strength and it helps us grow as individuals and transformers in our communities.
-Laura



Friday, April 28, 2017

Why Shared Experience Is Crucial To Creative Writing With Students


by Laura Hill

Recently, I've had the opportunity to be involved in chats regarding the evolution of modern education. The focus of many of these conversations are the changes happening in schools through the introduction of technology, and it's creating a lot of excitement. One idea that keeps resurfacing is the shift in student experience from knowledge acquisition to creative expression of thoughts and ideas.  This got me thinking.

As an author,  illustrator and speaker I am creating for public audiences all the time.  The process never begins with methodology though it often ends there.  It starts with an idea that is followed by an experience. 

In my new book, The Boy Who Cried Sea Monster, I needed to find out what it would feel like to be lost on a deserted beach.  And since I write the series with my daughters Ava and Kayla, who are 8 and 11, we headed out to a remote location called Pirate's Cove with no food or water to find out.

 During our two hour walk we explored the shore noting how the light played on the waves and colored the sand in shallow waters.  We worried about how the tide washed away our path becoming so high we couldn't go back the way we had come. We took pictures of the contours of the cliffs and ran our fingers over the smooth sides of driftwood that had been bleached white in the sun.  

We shivered in icy waters, sand grating between our toes and spread our arms to the wind that whipped over sand dunes rising five stories high to meet the sky.  The smell of salt and brine hung thickly around us and we breathed it in deeply through parched lips, wishing for the relief of a sip of fresh water.  By the time we were done we felt ready to write from the perspective of two children lost in a strange land at the edge of the sea.

Back at the studio we continued our exploration sharing experiences and perspective while sitting at a huge table covered with butcher block paper. This is our "think tank" where we can write, doodle and record all our ideas.  We were surprised to find that each of us had a very different take on what had happened on our walk.  For us that's a good thing as it brings our heroes, Penelope the science girl and Jilly the magic lover, to life in unique ways.

So what's the point?

In my work I do a lot of creative writing with students.  What I often find is they are frozen by the rules of writing, spending more time trying to fit their ideas into a model than letting them flow.  This makes writing hard.

I use many methodologies to loosen students up, creating equalizing shared experiences, that I feel produce richer writing results than culling from memories, which can be very two dimensional like a photograph.  The detail is there but it is not rich.

Achieving a richer experience doesn't have to be a hard thing.  One visiting workshop I like to do in schools involves staging a sour lemon eating contest. If you've never tried to suck on a lemon wedge longer than your friend, let me tell you it's a very powerful experience.  When students write about this experience they all have different points of view.  Some like it, some hate it, but more importantly they begin to describe the experience from their unique perspective.  This is where the creation magic happens!

What I end up with is twenty different students and twenty experiences all with common threads yet completely unique. Students find it is easy to write because there is so much to talk about;  the smell of the lemons, the taste, the texture.  How the brightly colored, sweet smelling fruits were so pleasant until they were popped into the mouth. The student's emotions are fresh; feelings of fear and the exaggeration of the experience of sucking on a  lemon, the feeling of determination to stay the course until the end. 

I help students express their experience using one of several methods presented electronically or in more traditional forms as each adds value and develops different skill sets. The feedback is amazing and students are surprised at how their peers viewed the same experience so differently.

This type of creation from shared experience echoes the mindset of a technologically integrated society working together to create solutions.

When I began writing a very smart agent named Donald Maass told me that you can't convey your thoughts without knowing the details of that which you write about. I learned the same thing as an art student at Parson's School Of Design where the first lesson was to draw what you see, not what you think you see. 

A healthy shift in mindset is a good thing. Technology lets us choose to use our minds to create and to share ideas in exciting new ways.  And though I use technology often in my work I also use pencils, paper and paint just as frequently.  In the end, however we express it, what we can't replace is the experience of "doing" that makes our writing rich and expressive, a point I believe we should think deeply and often about when discussing creative writing with students.  

It's easier to write about a field of flowers covered in dew when you've plunged your hand into a bucket of fresh cut blooms. It's easier and more believable to write a villain when you've stood in his shoes, acting out what he would say and do.  So why would we hand students a blank sheet and ask them to create without giving them the opportunity to explore?  

It's something to think about.



Laura Hill is an author and producer known for helping children find their voice and talents through creative arts and technology. To find out how you can bring her writing programs to your school email Laura Hill or tweet @candylandcaper. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Technology In The Classroom.




by Laura Hill

Recently I was asked to speak about the use of technology in the classroom. The audience, a group of educators; some who had integrated tech into their class, others who wanted to and many who were still skeptical of the value it would add.  As I reflected on the message I wanted to share my thoughts turned towards the students, children like my daughters who would be the first digital natives to graduate and enter the workforce. What skills would I want then to have mastered? Which ones would they need and which would fall short? What part of their education would gain the most value by focusing on technology in the classroom?

I was somewhat surprised to realize I didn’t know. Sure, I recognize the value of robotics and coding as new economy skills and have enriched my children with opportunities to develop these skills.  I also see the advantages that a global classroom adds.  My youngest has jumped into several of my international chats, done assignments and interacted with educators in other countries via Google hangouts.  Still this didn’t answer the question for me, what do they need in class? After much reflection, here are my thoughts.

Technology is a tool that right now has a lot of sizzle. It’s exciting to imaging the possibilities it adds to teaching methods, student engagement and voice. However, once you get by the sizzle, it is easy to find yourself lost in a sea of apps, programs and subscription businesses models.  I think the first step in using technology is to decide the purpose that would best suit your class, your teaching team or school community and the greater community the school is part of.  Ask yourself these questions:

What am I hoping to accomplish by integrating technology?

Do the skills used in the technologies I am choosing serve the students beyond this application?

What are student benefits beyond mastering this technology?

I asked myself these questions and came up with the following:

Global Classrooms
The benefit of establishing a global classroom that allows students to interact with their local community as well as peers and teachers from around the world received high marks. In a global society that will value the voice of those who know how to make themselves heard we are doing a disservice to students if we do not teach them how to interact with others to solve problems, share ideas and get feedback.  The beauty of theses technologies, including Skype and Google hangouts, is they are easy to engage and feel natural in use.  Google also provides the wider opportunity of sharing portfolios, videos, pictures and shared documents on a common platform to further enhance the experience.

Coding, Creation and Robotics
In creation, the building process has changed and now products are being created directly by the idea generators without going through the process of idea->investment->manufacturing.  Crowd sourcing funds, personal creation and push button distribution to a wide audience of millions allows anyone with a great idea to get it into the world.  These basic building blocks allow students to be thought leaders, inventors, creators and need to be part of the learning process. 

Social Media
Creating an internal or external account in which students can interact with peers and teachers 24/7 is crucial and mimics the way adults are using these platforms to work together.  Students who are able to use learning networks to increase their skills, get feedback and support for their ideas will be much more successful when they leave the classroom.

It won’t be long before the students you are teaching enter the workforce and change the nature of technology use simply by being part of the education industry.

It has always been my prediction that we have less than ten years before this time comes.  This notion was cemented two days ago when I spoke to an undergrad student who was commenting on an amazing social studies program his high school instructor had run. She had charged the class with using a Simms creation model to build a city.  Every detail needed to be explained and used to solve one of the city’s many problems including energy resources, layout, domestic areas and profitability of industry and downtown areas.  It was evident from this young scholar’s enthusiasm that he would implement this type of teaching method when he got his degree.
 
You have the chance now to decided how to use technology to better your students and your scholastic community. Don’t let your classroom be one that creates a generation of “lost” students who lack the skills leaving your charge to compete and lead in the workforce that is developing now.  I know it may seem daunting, but the support is there. You no longer have to be the expert, just open the door and see where technology leads you.

-Laura Hill

Laura Hill is the co-creator of #whatisschool, a highly acclaimed international twitter chat that creates a forum for educators to examine and re-imagine the changing role of education. She is an author who writes the Great Story World Mix-Up chapter book series with her own children and speaks to students about how they can play a role in the new economy by getting their ideas out of their heads and into the world.  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Breaking The Mold, Flipped Writing


by Laura Hill

My 11 year-old daughter doesn't think she’s a good writer. This is despite the fact that she has co-written five children's fiction books and two non-fiction books as part of our Great Story World Mix-Up chapter book series.  This also goes against the sentiment of her teachers who say she has a strong original voice, and that of her friends who log onto her blogs to read posts about funny things that happen in school. So why does she think she’s a bad writer?

I have a little insight.  When my daughter gets a writing assignment she is completely focused on fitting her idea into the model the teacher has provided. So if it’s a small moment about an adventure she is dead-set on writing about the most important small moment in the greatest adventure she has ever had.  As she thinks about the mounting choices she tends to talk to her friends, usually suggesting ways they can turn their small moments into great stories.  By the end of the period she has no idea what she is going to write about, is behind in the assignment and is frustrated.  

My daughter's writing problem is two-fold.  Her first problem is that she is a perfectionist and very hard on herself, a personality trait I am constantly puzzled by coming from a "mistakes are great" school of thought.  None of her ideas are good enough to turn into a story. I often remind her of how she helps her friends embellish their ideas, but for herself it just doesn't gel.

The second part of her writing problem is that she is trying to squeeze her idea into the model her teacher provided.  Is it a big idea, is it an adventure, does it have small moments, is it good enough?  It’s painful to hear her rattle off all the ideas she has rejected because in her mind they do not fit the assignment, when in reality they sit quite neatly within the parameters. 

My daughter is not unique. She is suffering from two of the biggest problems facing young writers today, the belief that their ideas aren't good enough and the thought that their ideas need to fit into a model.

Writing is tough enough. An innocent request like writing a small moment can be a huge task when a blank sheet of paper sits in front of you.  Here’s a question to ask yourself, do you remember what you had for dinner last Thursday?  Can you write about the meal, the setting, the dialogue at the table, the texture of the food, the smell and the feeling it elicited?  Maybe you can but chances are it would be tough.

Try this when starting your next writing project.  Instead of asking the students to work in a model give them each a big piece of paper, or roll one out to cover a group of desks.  Then ask them to these five questions, have them answer quickly drawing or writing down the first thing that comes to mind:

1) Jot down something you did this week.
2) Write or draw three things you remember about the experience.
3) Write or draw one sound, smell and feeling you associate with the experience.
4) Write down one thing that was said.
5) Draw a picture of the place where you had the experience.

What you have done is re-create a rich memory with a subject (1), action (2), senses (3), dialogue (4), and setting (5) for the student to pull ideas from. Now plug in your model by instructing the students to use this memory as a basis for writing a small moment, fairytale, narrative...you get the picture. 

Once students have a rich idea to write about they can easily concentrate on the form.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly your students advance their writing once they have the basis of the story down.  Most stories aren’t grown in a single brain pop, our books certainly aren’t. Instead they are woven like a rich tapestry full of many colored threads with different textures that create the layers of the story. By having the students write the idea quickly without worrying about spelling and form helps shape a stronger story premise full of rich detail, and chances are since they are already thinking about action, senses, narrative and setting, they will add more, effortlessly, with your guidance.

My co-authors
Expressive and powerful writing may be the singular most important thing a student can learn today as they live their personal narrative live, on-line, in front of a global audience.  It permeates technological creation in gaming and programming, explains scientific and mathematical discoveries and communicates the most integral cultural aspects of who we are to a world populace that sees no barriers.

By teaching children to organize their thoughts quickly, efficiently and richly, you are teaching them to express their ideas in a way that will be heard. And who knows, that one student voice may be the one that sparks the next great innovation.  You’ll never know if you don’t try.  I’m counting on you, so are my daughters, so are your students.

Laura Hill is an author and producer best known for helping children find their voice and talents through creative arts and technology. To find out how you can bring her writing programs to your school email Laura Hill or tweet @candylandcaper. 

Unguided Education, a recipe for success



It’s a phenomenon in my neighborhood. Children are guided at school. Children are guided at play.  So many children are engaged in guided after school activities that there are no children out playing on the block.  In the summer most of the children spend time at one or more camps.  This got me thinking.

I always hate when people say, “when I was a kid…,” but when I was a kid I remember spending a few weeks at day camp, sailing lessons and playing softball.  The rest was pretty much filled with endless days of searching for blue claw crabs off the docks by my house.  Early in the morning I’d hop on the banana seat of my bike with a bucket hanging off the handlebars, a ball of string and a crab net.  Then I’d ride down to the local fish store and get a fish head to bait the crabs.  My summers were spent this way, exploring the shore, talking to fishermen, learning to ride the waves, becoming familiar with the local ecosystem.  I remember the thrill and the terror of catching my first eel, which I threw, wriggling, back into the sea along with my pole and all the bait.

The point of this isn’t to walk you down my memory lane, but to jog the memories you hold of childhood summers.  Sure I have bad memories too. The lack of a/c, mosquitos that buzzed my ear all night, the boredom that came along with three months of freedom and culminated in hours of watching the clouds roll by while making grass whistles.

Think back, would you trade those days for ones filled with guided activities?

My guess it that maybe half of you would.  But I think we are missing a huge opportunity with our children when we don’t give them the chance to explore on their own. This year my daughters, who are 8 and 11, have been given a lot of freedom.  It took a huge amount of trust for them to overcome the fear that they lacked the abilities to navigate the world and even more trust for me to overcome the fear that freedom would result in disaster. 

Exactly the opposite has happened. My children are more interested and engaged in their world that ever before.

An old microscope sits in the living room, this year it has been used to examine flowers, spit bug spit and tiny creatures swimming in harbor water. My daughters discovered an ecosystem of thousands of fiddler crabs walking the shore at daybreak. They built forts out of driftwood and walked to town, purchasing ice cream with money they earned dog sitting.  They got an internship at the library using Photoshop to design bookmarks for the adult summer reading program.  They helped me craft and perform book talks for our new story, The Boy Who Cried Sea Monster.




If I relate this to school terms my daughters have spent the summer combining math, science, engineering and english language arts to create PBL projects using discovery and inquiry to formulate conclusions that led to results.  They have been self guided and have gotten feedback from people in different areas of the world on their projects.  They could not have accomplished this had I guided them.

As we move forward with new teaching methodologies, common core and technology, which some students will master before their teachers, I think it’s important to remember that many of these ideas have been here all along.


The greatest thing we can give to our children, our students, is the opportunity to use what they know.  Trust and believe in your students this year and who knows the results may surprise you, they may even change the world.

Project Based LIFE, Saving The Sea


by Laura Hill

At my house we use PBL every day, in fact sometimes our life is like one big project based learning lesson.  Recently, my daughters and I mapped out a maritime ecosystem highlighting the effects of pollution on the organisms that live in the water and along it's fringe. We then created a chart of pollution fighting solutions, many based in recycling and a list of organizations we were part of, the Ocean Conservancy, Surfrider Foundation and BNL, that would be interested in our project. Finally we brainstormed ways to get our message into the world.  The most intriguing aspect of what we were doing was that it had nothing to do with a class assignment, we were writing our next book.

For us Project Based Learning has a very special meaning because it echoes problem-solving strategies we use in our Great Story World Mix-Up books. This entails deciding which stories to mix-up, creating a global theme then coming up with sub plots that are relevant to children today. For instance, two of our books, Amelia Earhart in the Land of the Lost and Sherlock Holmes and the Minotaur's Maze, address bullying as a subplot.  Both transport readers to an ancient time in which a big problem is occurring, in one global weather changes, the other social prejudice.

What is interesting is how we mix PBL with our writing strategies. We start by developing characters and setting, creating sweeping illustrations of various aspects of each story. We naturally follow the PBL structure critically thinking about how Penelope, our science girl and Jilly, our magic girl will use their talents to solve the main plot problem then determining which elements and supporting characters need to be added to help them.  We consult with experts and do research to align our ideas with fact and then get feedback, which adds a layer of interest and authenticity to our work. 

So what’s the point?

The Boy Who Cried Sea Monster Cover.
Well, in our upcoming book The Boy Who Cried Sea Monster, which is due out this summer, my daughters and I got to explore some themes that affect us very deeply.  We live in a maritime community that is over run with tourists and boaters who pollute the waterway and damage the shellfish population. We have several characters that are outcasts because they have habits that don't fit in with their community's point of view, in this case a pirate and a sea monster.  This echoes problems we have seen recently in our school community. We have characters who haven't developed their communication skills enough to be heard, a tongue twister champion who speaks in riddles and a boy who sounds the alarm at all the wrong times instead of thinking through what he is trying to say.

Now we have an opportunity to make some positive change.  We hope to enlist partners interested in spreading the word about kids who make a difference in their communities. We hope our books bring the effects of polluting our oceans, which cover two thirds of our beautiful planet to the forefront.  We hope that children who read our books will see how powerfully their words and actions can affect others. And we hope to start a Kickstarter campaign to fund a free interactive app that helps children, parents and teachers work together to find their own solutions to these problems.

Our harbor.
PBL is much more than a methodology, it’s a way of life.  It’s an opportunity to exercise critical thinking and community partnership, skills that you as a teacher can bring to your students in unique ways that are unparalleled because of the influence you have on our children.  And it’s a trust, because you spend more quality hours with my child in a day than I get too.  

My co-author daughters.
Be daring, challenge yourself and your peers to infuse classrooms with the "can do" energy of making a difference! You'll find you have a room full of engaged students bursting with ideas, drilling down into their talents and working on some really big problems that may ignite a spark that in turn could change the world.  It's your choice, but I'm relying on you to make a good one...so are my kids.

FTNT: Leonardo DiCaprio is a big supporter of saving our natural world. Help us gain support for Kids Saving The Sea by copying and tweeting the message below TY.


 2h  is a big supporter of Ocean Conservation, Ask Leo to help kids save the sea by



Laura Hill is an author and producer known for helping children find their voice and talents through creative arts and technology. To find out how you can bring her writing programs to your school email Laura Hill or tweet @candylandcaper. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Pushing The Edge with Innovative Educator Greg Curran


They’re moments that catch you unaware, moments that surprise and delight you.  

Join us as we celebrate teachers and innovative ways to be all you can be.  I was honored several months ago when Greg Curran asked me for an interview explaining my position on children, their abilities and the many ways they learn. As he peppered me with questions about how my children best me time and again with ideas for our book series, the creation of #whatisschool, one of the top Twitter education chats of 2014, and my views on learning I realized how much I could offer, and how much I've been given by my amazing PLN.   The interview is posted below I hope you enjoy it!

When students stretch themselves in ways that you’d never have imagined, going far beyond what you thought possible.  In this episode: Challenging our views about young people. We’re letting go of the reins and pushing beyond the ‘we know best’, ‘we’ll show you’ approaches with author, broadcaster and speaker Laura Hill. 


Laura has two children, Ava and Kayla, who managed to confound her time and time again. So much so that they’re partners with Laura in the Family Business, and have contributed to a significant shift in how she works with young people.That’s not all though, we’re also talking #WhatisSchool, a Twitter Chat that Laura co-founded with Craig Kemp. Plus we have the Lightning Round – where we’re talking Risk, Courage and Edge.  And to bring us home, a young John Lennon goes one up on his teachers in a Not to Be Missed Quote about Life, School and Happiness.



For more Pushing The Edge with Greg Curran visit http://pushingtheedge.org/8




Maker Faire, NY...Mind Blowing Hands On Creation For Teachers and Students


Saturday I took my daughters Ava and Kayla to Marker Faire, NYC. 

I had been introduced to the maker movement several years ago as board president of my local public library at a NYLA conference when a young librarian from Fayettville explained to me how they used 3D printers to connect the scientific and farming communities by creating replacement parts for agricultural machines. I was hooked.  Since then I have been involved in setting up numerous makerspaces at libraries and schools, but nothing I have seen or done was as wild, crazy, wet and fun as Maker Faire.

Being a Maker means taking what you see around you and transforming it into something more.

The day began in the best way possible, the interactive park at the NY Science museum followed by a performance by the EepyBird Mentos guys. Squished against the barrier that separated us from them my daughters and I listened as Frtiz and Stephen revealed the secrets of their Mentos Experiment explaining how coke interacts with the surface of Mentos creating an explosion that can be guided through different size and shape slots for optimum splash.  



We saw lots of amazing things on Saturday that people had built with their hands, spare parts and imagination. My daughters road a kinetic sculpture called Tik Tok The Croc, we listened to a car covered with fish that sang and danced to the Time Warp, there were Ghost Busters armed with Proton Packs, suited men with displays for faces, drone wars, a circus and a giant mousetrap that crushed a car with a metal safe. 




But the genius of Maker Faire wasn't in the seeing, it was in the doing, which was nothing less that sheer fun!

Booths stretched out for what seemed like miles and were filled with treasure troves of hands on making materials waiting to be discovered. We tried our hand wiring LED lights and lithium batteries to make glowing pumpkin faces at Maker State. We stopped by Circuit Scribe where we crafted circuits that functioned by drawing  designs on a piece of paper.  We built and programmed robots to play piano at Play-I and finally landed at OGOBild a company that makes characters that snap together, bendable creatures ideal for stop animation.  And since we're doing clay animation at my house right now, this was right up our alley and we scooped up a bundle.

But the best part of the day didn't come from a vendor's booth, it came from a great, big pile of junk!

When I was an artist studying at Parson's School of Design in NYC, my friends and I would frequently comb the streets for boards, circuits and wire that could be transformed into sculptures and 3D art.   Now my kids were doing the same thing at Maker Faire!  In a Maker Booth piled high with broken computer parts, craft materials old audio tape and glue guns my daughters spent almost an hour making some really cool sculptures. They were on fire with imagination and solving problems of design as they created without models or instructions.  

And that’s when it hit me, isn't this what we spend so much time trying to get the children to do?

Saturday my children were scientists, artists and mathematicians. They were jungle gym explorers.  They were inventors, thinkers and creators discovering new worlds on their own, yet together with thousands of other children who were doing the same thing. 

Sunday, Kayla and Ava wanted to clean out the garage. We filled two boxes with "maker materials" we found as we cleaned. Then we built an animation recording stage against the wall and a building zone right in the center where we began creating giant kinetic scarecrows for a local installation. Next to the B-zone we put an art chest full of scissors, markers, paper and glue and a bookrack filled with all kinds of books for inspiration.  In a few weeks I will add some motors and circuits I have in a box in my closet. 

I don't know if my daughters will be the next great inventors but I do know that a spark has been lit.

I'm going to do whatever I can to help them grow their ideas and get them onto the world. I owe it to them for no other reason than because I can help.  Take the chance with your students this year and help them create.  See where their imagination leads you and how you can tie in the concepts you're teaching to some big maker opportunities.  One that is coming up that we are participating in is the Imagination Foundation's Global Cardboard Challenge. You might lose some instruction time, but just think of all you will gain.  And who knows, a student of yours may become the next great inventor because of a fire you lit in them, and isn't that what teaching is all about?  -Laura





Laura Hill shares her expertise in creating maker spaces that integrate technology, art, science and hands on fun! She has shared this knowledge in her role with public libraries, now she brings the same excitement to schools. To find out more contact Laura at laurahillbooks@gmail.com





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