Getting to Know the Program

I am one of the newer Maker Mentors, Olivia!

I came into Maker Jawn halfway through July, my first day was the variety show that Hasreet facilitated with Kaena as producer and Malaysia, Nykira, Isaiah, and Musa as performers. This was a great introduction to the potential of Maker Jawn to empower and excite young people by creating. The turn-out for the show was really impressive, multiple families came and even some passers-by took a look.
What I’ve learned so far is that teaching maker programming is a balancing act. We are pulled in many directions at every moment and we have to be constantly aware of the values we are trying to uphold and the lessons we are trying to impart. This means keeping kids quiet in the library but also encouraging them to express their excitement when their projects are successful. This means pushing the kids to experiment and explore and try things that we don’t know the results of but also keeping a certain amount of control. This means teaching kids library etiquette while allowing them to have fun and learn freely.
Some of the challenges I have encountered have to do with getting a variety of ages to participate in the projects. At Widener, we are doing our programming on the floor of the library, in the back, near the children’s section. This, combined with the nature of some of the projects to look a lot like arts & crafts from the outside, means I attract mostly kids between 7-12 years old. This is not a problem in and of itself but I want to work on making the programming seem interesting and accessible to teens, young, adults, and adults because it is definitely designed to teach them as well.
On slower days at Widener we’ve been working on Musa’s second installment of his Godbrothers series. This is another balancing act because sometimes Musa needs and wants the other kids to contribute and be involved and other times having a room full of amped-up 11 year olds makes it impossible to make any progress. Recently Musa has been doing a lot of editing and script writing for the next scenes we will shoot.

Here’s a link to Godbrothers Part I if you haven’t already seen it:

In my first month with Maker Jawn I have been excited, impressed, frustrated, and inspired and I look forward to whatever comes next!

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