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.
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