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showing entries tagged "IDEAS"

April 21, 2016
by: Beth Carreno

The Étude Group's Maker Movement

There is a lot of talk in education these days about “makerspaces.” It seems to be a new buzz word. The reality is that while it may be a new concept for some in the education community, it’s one of the foundations for The Étude Group. While the concepts of making and creating are not new for us, our role in sharing this concept at a greater level with the community is.

Recently, The Étude Group brought Dr. Erica Halverson from UW-Madison’s education department to Sheboygan. Dr. Halverson’s PhD is in Learning Sciences, and she shared her expertise on making and creating as educational tools. She led a parent engagement event, toured the schools, facilitated a professional development session for staff and invited community members, and participated in a community discussion with other organizations that are involved in various niches of the “maker movement” in Sheboygan.

Parent Engagement

Organizationally, we are always looking for parent engagement opportunities that coincide with the student experience. It can be a difficult to find activities that balance information, community-building, fun, education, and all those factors we want integrated into “parent engagement.” The ARTery (at the John Michael Kohler Art Center) provided the perfect location for the group of parents to hear about Dr. Halverson’s work and the learning that has come through play, making, and creating.

This parent engagement was not simply another presentation. It was an opportunity for the group to experience the “making.” Dr. Halverson chose to demonstrate through games. The group discussed what made a game, what was liked about our favorite games, what was disliked, etc. There were a few in the room who simply stated they didn’t like games. Others in the room were REAL gamers!

Our small groups were given a set (and small) amount of time to create a game. Some materials and resources were provided along with limited instructions. This was one of the things Dr. Halverson called “low-stakes stress.” As a participant, it was fascinating (and fun) to be a part of this process with friends and some people I had just met. Everyone gave input, discussed certain possibilities, and ultimately rushed to complete a game that could be played by others in the room.

The rest of the evening was spent leading others in your group’s game and trying the games of others. It was interesting to see group members take note of outcomes and twists in their games and discuss how it could be addressed. Rules were even changed on the spot to improve the game experience! This is another concept discussed by Dr. Halverson: failure. Failure can be one of the best tools for improvement; something often demonstrated in the greatest making experiences.

This night, the underlying questions were “What does it mean to learn and study through the arts? What do we learn?” As with nearly all makers experiences, art-based making experiences result in the value of the product and process (art for art’s sake in this example), but also in the skill building and tool skills (does the maker know how to use a blowtorch?), creativity, problem-solving and innovation, communication, and collaboration. As participants, we were able to better understand the value of learning through making and creating because we had done it, albeit in our low-stakes atmosphere.

Community Stakeholders Meeting

The next day, Dr. Halverson worked with The Étude Group Director, Ted Hamm, to convene a community group that reflected an interest in makerspaces and the maker movement. The purpose of this meeting was to take inventory of each group’s interest and resources and discuss how collaboration could be possible.

Important to this discussion was acknowledging that all creating is not the same. You may hear terms like tinkering, hacking, making, constructing, creating, and playing. Depending on many factors, each one has its place. For the community discussion, we considered three main parts of the maker movement in education:

1. Maker Spaces – the physical environments where the making happens
2. Making Activities
3. Makers – the identities in participation

The result was a healthy discussion about what we are doing, what is possible (including some of the best examples of the maker movement education in the United States), and how we can assist each other. Each organization had at least one of the components from above, but none had them all. The Étude Group has resources and leadership that can be used in partnership with so many community members; many of our community members have space and materials that are waiting for makers.

No final decisions were made, but the commitment to the discussion continues. It’s undecided whether Sheboygan will have a “Hive” (one of the successful networks of arts and maker organizations), a summer program led by The Étude Group and shared with our community partners, a traveling makerspace, or some other collaborative endeavor. However, future community meetings are being planned, and it is apparent that now is the time to continue this great conversation.


Reflection and improvement is a cornerstone component of the work we do with our students and in our profession at The Étude Group. It’s also a cornerstone to “making.” Our staff is reflecting on this experience and how it could become a more conscious part of their classroom efforts. As an organization, we reflect and plan how we can provide leadership in the community discussion about and implementation of makerspaces and for the constant improvement of the experiences we provide our learners. Meanwhile, it’s always exciting to see more research documenting the benefits of the Etude Group’s type of instruction and creative making for learning!

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April 24, 2015
by: Autumn Willard, Étude Studios Intern

Mosaic and IDEAS students explore sustainability

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Mosaic School students participated in a Lexicon for Sustainability event held at the Mead Public Library Wednesday, April 22. IDEAS Academy Botany students curated the event. It was set up like a scavenger hunt encouraging students to read the various art posters and talk to different student speakers. Mosaic Students eagerly looked at the different parts of each piece asking various questions about the ideas presented.

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March 2, 2015
by: Rachel Gunderson, Mosaic Think Tank Advisor

IDEAS & Mosaic Think Tanks host Community Night, March 13th

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IDEAS and Mosaic Think Tanks have collaborated to host a Community Night featuring dinner and a talent show. Dinner will be provided through a cook-off, where students and staff will bring their best dish and serve it up to the guests who will then vote on their favorite. A winner will be announced at the end of the event. Entertainment will be provided by the brave and talented students who are interested in performing for the school. The event will begin at 5:00pm on Friday, March 13th and conclude at 7:00pm in the IDEAS/Mosaic Cafeteria.

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February 14, 2015
by: Kimberly Johnson

Mosaic hosts 4th annual The Étude Group Chess Tournament

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Rows of tables lined with black and white squares, strategizing eyes create a productive kind of quiet on a Saturday afternoon at The Mosaic School. The fourth annual Étude Group Chess Tournament was held on February 14th, 2015 as part of the Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation.

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February 11, 2015
by: Molly King

6th Street Dance, a creative outlet after school

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6th Street Dance started from a vision Molly King had to create space for adult community members to collaboratively make dance. 6th Street Dance has performed at various Sheboygan events, such as Earth Fest and Youth Art Month at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. Now, 6th Street Dance is continuing to meet, but this time, the mission is for young adolescents to be creative.

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January 9, 2015
by: Tad Phippen Wente, Chief Curatorial Officer

Gallery News : January 9, 2015

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Transitions reflect the on-going value of visible thinking How could tattoo design demonstrate understanding of elements in the Periodic Table? How might plants and animals battle to survive...

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