My goal is to make sure that my makerspace does not have too many rules. I want it to be a fun space where students are free to create without being tied down by rules. I would like to take the same approach that I have in my kindergarten classroom for rules. I started with about five basic rules. I created the rules myself because some of my students had never been to school and I allowed my students to add rules for our learning centers half way through the year. I think it is more meaningful for students to have a say in the rules instead of arbitrarily giving them rules. This coming year, I am going to be teaching first grade and I am going to allow my students to help me make the class rules on the first day of school. For my makerspace, I will come up with some basic rules and then we can add to them as needed. I am really taking to heart what Martinez and Stager (2013) wrote, “Be careful that the safety rules don’t become curriculum. Rules are important and necessary, but they don’t make children safe – careful behavior does.”

I found the Common Safety Rules list that Hlubinka (2013) wrote to be a great starting point. I took her list, then removed and edited some of the items because I am not planning on having power tools for my beginning makerspace. Hlubinka notes, “It seems like every teacher writes their own rules, often adapting someone else’s rules to the idiosyncrasies of his or her own space, and adding more as they go along (and students reveal new rules that need to be written!) Rules work best when they are in your own voice, as you’ll be repeating them often.” The one thing I felt was missing on this list was general behavior expectations. I found the behavior expectations I wanted on the SLO Makerspace Rules and General Safety document (2013). I added to my document a rights, responsibilities and safety guideline section that includes the following:

  • Right to a safe work environment
  • Safety is everyone’s responsibility
  • Right to a clean shop
  • Cleaning up is everyone’s responsibility
  • Responsibility to report misconduct

I plan to send my document home to parents with the expectation that they will review it with their child. I may even have them sign a copy and return it to me. I have attached a sample of the draft of my document.

Ms. Lindquist’s Beginning Makers Rules, Responsibilities, and Safety Guidelines

References

Hlubinka, M. (2013, September 2). Safety in School Makerspaces. Retrieved June 29, 2015, from Makezine.com: http://makezine.com/2013/09/02/safety-in-school-makerspaces/

Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

San Luis Obispo Makerspace. (2013, December 26). SLO MakerSpace Rules and General Safety. Retrieved June 29, 2015, from SLO MakerSpace : http://www.slomakerspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/SLOMakerSpaceRulesandGeneralSafety.pdf

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4 thoughts on “Rules For My Makerspace

  1. You wrote: “My goal is to make sure that my makerspace does not have too many rules. I want it to be a fun space where students are free to create without being tied down by rules.”

    I agree with this not only to help encourage a creative space, but because if there are too many rules students won’t remember them all anyways. I do think it’s important to train students on expectations in the makerspace. I liken it to setting up classroom centers/stations. In my class I introduce one center at a time and as a class we talk at length about behaviors and student expectations for each center. I would do the same for makerspace tools.

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  2. Cherie- That is a good point that rules don’t make children safe the behaviors do. I believe that is important for parents to review and sign the rules as well. You don’t want to many rules especially at this age they won’t remember it any way. I found the Common safety rules as well a good starting point. Nice job!

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  3. I think I used the same quote in my blog this week about rules not making children safe, behavior does. I agree that too many rules would be overwhelming and take the fun out of making. I plan on keeping my rules simple like yours and I plan on having my students help with creating some of them. I am planning on having them make safety posters to put up around our Makerspace as a reminder.

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  4. While I have a long list of rules, I think you’ve hit on an important idea. It’s something I also mentioned, but this discussion has articulated it well. We all need to focus on creating a general expectation of good, safe behavior from students (and anyone working in the space). That is more important than memorizing a long list of rules. Personally, with older kids I like having the slightly longer list so I can point to an exact rule and say, “Remember what the expectation is here.” For little ones though, I think the shorter the better, as long as expectations are clear.

    I really like your letter for parents and the idea of having parents review rules with their children and then sign off on it. That’s a good way to encourage parent interest and awareness, while promoting safety. I also really enjoyed your list of rights and responsibilities. I doubt most students spend a lot of time thinking about their rights, but rights and responsibilities are an important part of belonging to a community. Framing rules from that perspective helps students take ownership and might make students more likely to help their peers ‘remember’ the rules and expectations.

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