I recently launched a new blog series, Makerspaces A to Z. You can read all about the letter A here. Thank you to all those who shared their thoughts about this post to the #MakerspacesAtoZ hashtag. Thank you also to those who shared their thoughts about letter B words there, as well. Letter B words mentioned included brainstorm, break, beta, breathe, build, and more!
Letter B for me, represents Boring! Yes….you read that right….B for Boring! Boring does have negative connotations, but isn't always bad, and it can actually be very good. Growing up as an only child, my house was quiet and I was often bored. Being bored forced be to find ways to entertain myself. My mother recently reminded me that I enjoyed taking toys apart and making mud pies. My house and yard became the playground for which allowed my imagination to run wild. At school, I remember similar experiences, having time to play freely, to write creatively, and to explore. However, this is not the same world as it was then. Children have become accustomed to being entertained every minute.
Makerspaces A to Z: Aspirational
Boredom can be a force for creativity.
Many makerspaces are stocked to the brim with the latest and greatest in STEM kits or technology, project ideas, signage, prompts, challenges, decorations and directions. While all of those things can be stimulating, I think it is ok to let kids sometimes be a little bored in our makerspaces, it happens in mine. Sometimes it doesn't matter what you make, just make it. Boredom gives students the opportunity to figure out what it is that they like to do, to direct their own activities without teacher input, and maybe even motivate them to try new things. Given these opportunities, students will begin to become more independent and to take control of their own learning.
I am not suggesting that we welcome students into our makerspace and do nothing for them, however, maybe think twice about handing too much to them too often. Finding the right balance between meeting their educational needs and having no expectations and just letting their mind flow, is the sweet spot we should strive to find. With a little encouragement, boredom can encourage imagination and provide an opportunity for our students’ creative brilliance to shine.
I would love to know your thoughts on Boring! Share your thoughts with us at #MakerspacesAtoZ!
Cross posted at worlds-of-learning.com
Laura Fleming has been a classroom teacher and media specialist in grades K-8 and currently is a Library Media Specialist for grades 9-12. She is a well known writer, speaker and consultant on next-generation teaching methods and tools, and the author of the best-selling Worlds of Learning: Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace for Your School