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The makeSPACE Blog


True Beginners

There is a particular feeling–sharp, sweet, uncertain, and surprising–that I experience as a true Beginner.

makeSPACE collaborators producing a soundscape at the 2019 Summer Institute.

I feel it when I fumble at trying something new; I feel it when I risk failing.

It is the sensation of terror co-mingled with joy, and I tasted it most frequently when I was young.

Mari as a child, buckin' broncos!

Learning to swim without my arm floaties, my first time riding a horse, singing a solo in the school musical, and my inaugural drive down a real highway in our red ford pickup; each conjured this intense full bodied flood of anxiety, elation, fear, exhilaration, and satisfaction.

With years and experience, I encounter this BIG sensation less often. I’ve settled into the skill sets where I feel most competent and certain. I grow the garden I have already planted, BUT there is something rare and shimmering in the act of cultivating something new.

The future goes out of focus. Questions congeal and dissolve as we navigate a state of ambiguity. As teachers we get to step into our students’ gardening boots and recall how it feels to nurture an unfamiliar seed, to wonder and worry as only true Beginners can.

We invite you to imagine creative routines you can bring into your classroom as seed packets, each containing the potential (if planted and maintained) to produce some brave and vivid new blooming of ideas and competencies in your classrooms.

In our courses, we’ve emphasized diverse creative routines, pulling from different skill sets and artistic modalities.

Our intention is to provide opportunities to experiment with novel classroom practices and find some that resonate or even grow into deeper classroom philosophies. You may find a drawing activity that opens doors to new ways of communication, or a drumming routine that refocuses and invigorates students. Check out the Selfies routine or What Do You See routine to think about making space for students to take easy creative risks together.

No creative routine can promise immediate results, but there’s a distinct possibility that you’ll taste that special complex flavor that comes with trying something new.

Read More from the makeSPACE Team

Our Vision

The makeSPACE story began with a simple vision: to bring creative engagement to classrooms across the country.

More on Reflection

Arts integrated reflection is a core practice in makeSPACE – an essential skill for our teaching partners and collaborators. Check out this blog post for examples of how regular engagement in reflection helps students own their learning and grow their creative resources.

Welcome to makeSPACE

Welcome to the MakeSPACE story. We’re thrilled to join you on this journey into new realms of creative engagement.

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We want young people and their teachers to be fulfilled, to feel agency, and to shape their own lives and the world around them. We want them to thrive within the possible - as the world offers them moment after moment of uncertainty.