The Harbor School now has a brand new makerspace up and running for its students, thanks in part to a professional development series at KID Museum. Head of School Leah Musico shares our belief that “like classroom learning, the most meaningful professional development happens through hands-on experiences, collaboration, and personal reflection.” With this in mind, we collaborated to design a highly engaging, four-part program for Harbor School teachers.
– The first session presented an overview of maker learning, introduced design-based thinking, and discussed creative ways to implement design challenges in the classroom. The teachers came up with their own shorthand phrase for the design process: Explore-Create-Iterate.
– At the second session, KID educators went to Harbor School and showed the faculty what design-based thinking looks like in practice. They presented lessons to three different classes, while teachers observed and took notes using a specially designed observation tool.
– At the third session, Harbor School teachers and KID educators reversed roles, with the teachers delivering the lessons and the educators using the observation tool to provide feedback.
– For the fourth and final session, teachers and educators gathered once again at KID Museum to review the maker learning philosophy, share lessons learned in the classroom, and reflect upon potential new applications. They also did some skill-building around several coding platforms for early childhood.
KID educator Amanda Puerto Thorne said she was really able to see teachers’ confidence grow: “It was evident that the teachers had taken to heart everything we had talked about. I could see all of the creative ways they had implemented the design thinking process in their classrooms–stepping back and letting kids take the lead.” In one classroom, students chose to build a maze for their class pet, a gecko. In another classroom, kids designed solutions to stop the school dog from stealing their pizza.
Musico has called the professional development program “spot on” and extremely helpful for her faculty. “We can’t thank [KID Museum] enough for the effort to design an experience that was just right for our needs!” You can read more about their experience firsthand on The Harbor School blog: Making and Design Thinking at The Harbor School | Every Kid a Maker; Every Teacher a Learner.