By Charlotte Mayo March 31, 2019


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Creativity and collaboration are the soul of a makerspace. This year we have had three major art projects. We started the with Piet Mondrian and learning about abstract art, balance, and what outlines contribute to the quality of our art. Our Kandinsky art brought us the knowledge of creating mood and emotion with color as well as the use of concentric circles. These seemingly simple patterns have provided the foundation of our art unit this year and prepared us for pop artist’s James Rizzi’s busy cities.  

Through a spiral review of terms and elements of the art students discovered with their “I spy sneaky artist eyes”  how to apply what they already know to Rizzi’s art by doing compare and contrast of the different artists works.

Once we see the simple shapes we have learned and the magic of the art we already know how to create, we use instructional art to develop steps to create our own art. Students have instructions, but the most beautiful part of their art is the communication that happens on the second day of drawing. Once students have started, they are placed next to someone that is doing something very differently then they are. This allows for additional creativity and high levels of collaboration It’s easy for kids to fall into the trap of doing exactly like their friends, or just following the exact instructions, but when we see the beauty of unique ideas we gain better understanding of each other and develop as better artists!

Other great things that students are discovering during our art project:

  • 3rd grade found that adding detail to our art is very similar to adding detail to our writing. Friends can help us make better creative connections and develop our creative details. I was so happy to see them make a cross curricular connection and seeing the wonder on their faces of how I knew what they were working on in the classroom! Their teacher was absolutely beaming!
  • 1st grade and 4th were so excited to have an outline to see the Alamo and loved creating some serious Texas Rizzi Cities! Proud teachers enjoyed seeing students sharing some interesting talks about the Alamo and remembering facts while drawing.

We all have influence on each other and we become more creative when we share our creativity with others. This is what a school makerspace is all about!

Feb 05, 2019

Welcome back! Makerspace is always busy and I’m happy to report that our students are taking more control of what they are able to learn. We have flipped for self guided art and introduced augmented reality that our students get to create!

Merge cubes are amazing because CoSpaces EDU lets us create almost anything in augmented reality. To unpack the ideas behind this complicated technology we talked about some augmented reality that they have already used- from our Dot Day coloring, or Pokemon Go, or even some Snap Chat filters that they might have done with their families. All of these apps use a camera and put parts of something augmented onto the camera image. They also use a trigger or something that activates the program.

For our creations we used the Merge cube. We showed the example of Merge Cube Explores app to show students what augmented reality looked like. These kids were so cool they could touch the sun! 

Upon completion of our fabulous Kandinsky art I noticed that many of our students hold great passion and promise for their newly developing skills. With this in mind I want to create an art center that can function more student driven. The latest art center was a flip-classroom formatted video. Because students’ were really enjoying the watercolor pencils we kept them, but added to the technique and mixed mediums. This gave some magic to the mix. We used crayons (wax) on paper and then applied our watercolor pencil with a brush instead of using the pencil on the paper. The results are interesting because the wax will not absorb the watercolor and students can create an invisible snowman and make it appear when they add the watercolors. I also chose to do an ice “cube” (3D) to incorporate some math vocabulary.


Students are also still enjoying the Osmos, and some of our other center options from before.

Check out our halls filled with student Kandinsky art! 

Huge shout out to our fourth graders for the assistance in getting all 27 classes (that’s almost 600 pieces of art) up for today!20190201_084239

*Bonus- If you read this entire post and are a teacher interested in Makerspace I will send you links to the lessons including video if you leave your email.

If you are a student/ parent / or co-worker please leave a comment to let me know what you think. I’m always looking for feedback to guide my future adventures.

Until next week, happy making!

The Great Merge of Our Learning

Last week we students worked to complete our Kandinsky art, looked at how 2D and 3D shapes help to form objects, created word towers, and built understanding of parts and whole relationships work with words and shapes. Both art and words help us to communicate a message with meaning.


IPads helped us shape things up with a Tangrams app by adding the Osmos. This lets the camera of the iPad “see” the shapes that students are using to complete a puzzle. The iPad is very precise with where it wants the pieces and students had to be careful to keep steady hands and active minds.

Oh, and look carefully. There are not covers on those iPads. We talked about how that made them more fragile and they are the best kids ever! (I love getting to brag on these sweet kids!)

This word tower was full of powerful words that motivate our students.

Check out these fantastic block cities. The only thing better was seeing the teamwork that they displayed to consider what they would need for their cities and who would build what parts.

Completed artwork is being mounted with every spare minute I find and will be going up in the halls as soon as we can.

I’m so proud of these mighty makers and the challenges that they are willing to take on.

Osmos, shapes, art finishers and lots of building

Kandinsky Art Study

Can you hear color? Walnut Creek Makerspace studies Wassily Kandinsky, an abstract artist who was said to have synesthesia, or could hear art from music. Students examine how the hearing impaired can still enjoy music as a class, get to visit a Kandinsky Art gallery, and then apply their new found knowledge of art and emotions to hands on centers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


3rd grade student art and response, “At my old school we learned this, but we had to do the colors she said. I didn’t do a good job. This time I got to choose my colors and think about the emotions I wanted my art to create.”

Our Kandinsky art experience helps put emotion in art and let students use critical thinking to see how color impacts a message. So why we may not hear the color we can see that there is a change in what we create with our colors.


The Gift of Making


The makers movement is alive and well especially during the holidays. Parents looking for gifts for the kids that have everything frequently ask “what should I get my child for Christmas.”  The gift of a maker mindset is less expensive than you might think and can help them develop innovation and creativity. Depending on your child’s ability and your supervision any of the following could start providing mind-blowing creations and connections for your mini maker.


Wrapping paper– It sounds crazy, but even when my son was just two, this was one he loved the most. My two have asked for this every year since for seven straight years! Sometimes they wrap each other gifts, sometimes it’s the biggest coloring paper spread all over the hall, but no matter how they use it; they love the ability to create.


Cardboard– It never fails that you get the kids an expensive that they play with for a fraction of the time they play with the box it came in. Quit fighting it and get them some boxes! If you need inspiration on things to make try book at your local library or Instructables.


Tape– All kinds of tape! Kids love this and will be taping everything in the house if you let them, but they will also be learning how to put things together. If you are looking to use less, make that part of the challenge. Start looking for ways that things are put together without adhesives.


Recipes– If you love to cook share your passion. If you don’t try playdough or slime. It’s easy and kids can find ways to build or even ways to make circuits if you get really into it. Adding some LEDs and a nine volt battery and a little wire can get some amazing results. Take a look at these squishy circuits from Makezine.


Tools– If putting things together is starts to get boring, try taking them apart. Some wire strippers, pliers, and screwdrivers can turn that broken toy or electronic into a whole new game.


Any of these along with some general craft supplies of popsicle sticks, hot glue guns, and some fabric can get your children creating and making the entire winter break. Best wishes for brilliant making!

person holding red and white gift box with ribbon bow

Photo by on

Wonderful Christmas Coding

Happy hour of code week! Our students are raving about Dash the robot. Last week we started learning about what the robot does, how to take care of our robots, and how to make robots work. 3rd and 4th grades got to deconstruct old electronics while kindergarten through 2nd students played programmer (road builder with blocks) and robots (cars to run through the program.)


This week we are pushing onward to learn more about coding. Students will learn what programmers do using Dash robots and Blockly app on iPads and writing basic code using an unplugged games. Both will require critical thinking, team work, and step by step in proper sequence to work.

Because I have been asked by a few parents what kind of robots we are using it is the Wonder Pack of Dot and Dash. (I linked to Amazon to give you full product details if they are wanting to ask Santa.)

We love our technology, but the cost of making can be many different things. Keep following and I will post some ideas next week!

If you are in education and using Dot or Dash for amazing lessons PLEASE comment with links to your ideas. We love learning!

Thanks for making!

Ms. Mayo

Inventor Practice


If we are going to ask students to consider themselves inventors we have to take the time to understand the process of inventing.  What better way to know than to practice what you preach?

The questions to move forward

During a class I took this summer we were asked to create something “Smashingly Inventeresting.”  This meant I needed to invent something, new or improved.  The hardest part is coming up with a plan.  Being in the environment helps.  Look around, wherever you are.  What do you think could be better?  How could you get it that way?  What will you need to know to make the idea happen?  (This naturally brings out the researcher.)

My Invention Story

I knew our front flower bed was at a total loss.  I am not a very good gardener, housekeeper, lots of other things I try not to think about because I get sad, but I knew I had a problem with the flower bed.  I wanted something peaceful, a place to unwind.  So, I thought of where I like to relax and came up with my Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  They live on the lake and while I am not very outdoorsy, but I enjoy the sounds and textures.  I considered the space and the supplies needed.  Budget is always an issue. Thankfully we had most of the items needed for the project.


Pallets Hammer Shovels
Stain Pond liner Wheelbarrow
Nails Pump Plants
Saws Rocks Tape measure
Level Glass Liquid Nails

Google Cardboard 360 View:

I also struggled with showcasing this project.  It took me about eight times to do the 360 photo, but Google Cardboard is so cool and I see a lot of uses for it. (Students creating places they love in their community, or local historic sites could become tours.)  I wanted our student to be willing to try and it had to be free.  I really wanted a way to use my 360 photo, my pictures I took during the process, and a narration.  This was harder than I was bargaining for.  YouTube has a way to load 360 photos, but it requires Python, software I don’t know yet and had trouble loading.  I talked it out with a friend and came up with the idea to just screencast the tour.  To pull this off I used:

Google Camera to take the 360 photo (App:

Screencast-O-Matic (

YouVisit ( -This product is close, but doesn’t have narration.

YouTube (
Being a maker doesn’t mean you know all the answers.  It means you are willing to try.  Try to find a better way.  I feel like this challenge was a huge learning experience for me.  I had never used Google Camera, or made a pond.  I’m happy with the end product. Because of my willingness to at  least try I LEARNED.   What will you invent?

*Special Thanks to Linda at Region 11 for hosting iCreate workshop this summer!  It was a blast.