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Crafty STEM has been rebranded as the Stitching Stallions at my new school. Looks like there will be 20 kids and 2 adult leaders as I had at my previous school.  Rather than last an entire year, this club meets for 9 weeks and then we switch out the kids. So, Labor Day weekend will be spent making samples of potential club activities.  Pom-pom spiders, hand-stitched felt stuffies, a travel pillowcase and key fob will be the make & take projects. We desperately need floor cushions in the media center. This is where the kids can work in small groups to select, cut, stitch and stuff the floor cushions using all of the home dec fabric I was gifted a while back. Or we can recycle some of the summer projects like the owl and monster pillows. A bag would be cute, but I’d use a different pattern.

My library mojo has returned.  I’m excited about going to work.  My desk is adorned with Lego masterpieces made by students during maker space time.  The kids have responded excitedly to the stories and activities we shared this week.  Lots of hugs and smiles when they see me in the hall. The principal is pleased with what I’m doing.  Two great ladies work in the media center with me.  I go home smiling and knowing I made a difference this week.

Will it always be like this? Surprisingly, I think so. I imagine there will be off days/weeks, but I’m in a much better place than I was at the end of May.

I know my new coworkers think I’m nuts to be excited about being at this particular school. It’s an underperforming Title I school in a tough area of town. My friend Enger totally understood when I told her that I’d rather go there than to some of the schools in the posh part of the district. My new kiddos will benefit from what I can share with them…the kids from the wealthy areas who already have every advantage – probably not so much.  I was also able to leave behind a highly toxic work environment and lengthy commute.

Am I happy about the fixed schedule?  Not my first choice. Still prefer the flex schedule, but this works for now. The challenge is having 46 kids in a group. Trying to figure out how to make hands-on activities work for that size group with the resources we have requires some creative thinking. I see half the school for this 4 week period, then do a similar series of  lessons with the other half in September.  I will see each group 20x by the end of the school year. That’s more than I saw the kids from my other school last year. Interested to see if it makes a difference on the standardized tests.

That’s enough for now. The moral of the story is if you are miserable in a job or relationship – GET OUT as soon as you can. Your health and sanity depend on it.

I thought Crafty STEM would fade away once I changed schools.  ‘Tis not the case. Crafty STEM will live on as a modified weekly make & take club at my new school. The maker space centers have been a hit in the library and the kids are definitely interested in working with their hands.  The first day of school left me bone tired and wondering if I’d lost my mind when I agreed to work under a fixed schedule arrangement. Today was much better. I tweaked centers and figured out the schedule. Second grade was a lot of fun. I left feeling like I’d had a good day.

Will have to get creative in how I fund my maker club. The poverty at the new school has had a sobering effect on me. I’ve worked Title I schools, but never one with this degree of poverty (95% free & reduced lunch).  It definitely helps me keep things in perspective. I may try a donor’s choose pitch again this year for some LEDs and general craft materials (like real wool felt).

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