makeSPACE learning is accessible, effective, adaptable and fun!

makeSPACE institutes offer a variety of opportunities to engage creatively with peers and colleagues.

makeSPACE institutes have always provided opportunities to educators to challenge themselves and stretch outside of their comfort zones. Similarly, they are always opportunities for the facilitators to stretch our own imaginations to plan content that is new, engaging, and relevant. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it changed so many aspects of our lives: where we work, how we socialize, and even the prevalence of sourdough in our diets. The makeSPACE team knew our Institutes would have to change, too.

Going virtual challenged the makeSPACE team’s creativity and resourcefulness to a whole new level, but from the very beginning we resolved to maintain the pillars of all makeSPACE workshops: creativity, community, growth, and joy. The result was a hybrid online-offline event that brought makeSPACE educators together from three states and built their confidence and skillsets in remote teaching.

Over 38 educators representing at least twelve districts joined us for our first online Institute. Over two days in August, we switched between group Zoom activities, breakout rooms, independent tasks on the makeSPACE project website, and offline creative challenges. Afterward, we surveyed attendees about the most effective parts of the workshop. For all past institutes, participants have most commonly cited experiencing creative routines as the most effective aspect, but this time was different. Although still in the top three, experiencing creative routines was eclipsed by collaboration and learning virtual teaching techniques as the most effective parts, reflecting the exigencies of teaching for the 2020–21 school year.

We are so excited to host the 2021 Winter Institute virtually on March 6 from 9am–4pm and believe it will be the best yet, thanks to all the feedback we have received from course-takers and prior workshop attendees. All makeSPACErs are invited! For more information, contact info@makespaceproject.org 

We hope to see you there!

makeSPACE Institutes

makeSPACE Institutes offer an opportunity to dive deep into the world of creative engagement. Throughout the events, participants investigate theater, visuals arts and multimedia disciplines to create and share ideas–and grow together. They are experiential and dynamic. They’re makeSPACE at its core.

In the time of COVID, we’ve adapted our institutes for an online audience. In the future, as public health protocols allow, we’ll look forward to meeting in person for more institutes!

Watch the videos below for highlights from past intitutes!

Highlights from the 2019 Summer Institute.
A group exercise from a past institute.
A theater-inspired exercise from the 2020 Winter Institute.

Why engage in makeSPACE institutes and routines?

We understand the real barriers teachers face when integrating creativity into their classrooms. makeSPACE institutes and routines offer a chance for teachers to explore their creativity in an accessible, effective, and adaptable way. You do NOT have to have any artistic or creative skills to engage with institutes or routines. You just need to have a willingness to try, and a desire to reflect on your experiences.

It is our hope and belief that these two pathways into creative engagement offer teachers a way into the world of makeSPACE!



Read what attendees had to say about past Institutes:

“It was an overwhelmingly positive experience that makes me feel more ready to integrate the arts in my classes, even at a time when I feel like I’m trying to keep my head above water.”

“I will have a much better handle on how to manage breakout rooms than I did before, having experienced them as a student now. I will definitely make use of the collaborative whiteboard—I didn’t know that existed before!”

“The modeling of how to effectively use technology to bring creativity into the learning process. The creators . . . gave me hope for what the oncoming year might look like.”

“I don’t think many of us had high hopes for how well a two-day, online conference could go, but wow. You guys nailed it! Thank you!”

“I want to thank you for creating this safe place and I hope that I can create something similar in my class.”

A few weeks into the 2020–21 school year, we received additional feedback from makeSPACErs who had begun to implement activities and techniques into their classrooms:

“The Summer Institute . . . gave me the experience of being on the student side in Zoom (and having a positive experience) and really helped me do a better job with online teaching.”

“The Summer Institute gave me a lot of ideas for how to interact with students digitally.”

“The way that the Summer Institute was structured was a great model for remote learning.”


makeSPACE Routines

Routine #1


One way to practice mindfulness–that is returning one’s attention to the present moment–is to identify a
‘cue’ that guides the mind to ‘now.’ Cues can be ordinary objects or actions that are encountered several
times throughout a day; for example, tying shoes, taking a drink of water, or seeing a car’s brake lights. When
we encounter our selected cue we pause and give direct attention to that moment or task. This routine offers
practice with mindfulness in a slightly different way, but can have similar outcomes.

Routine #2


This is an opportunity to foster belonging in any group, while also practicing metaphorical thinking and
sculpting. Students sculpt a paper ‘trophy’ for a peer. Working with constrained materials means that
students are invited to experiment with and discover a variety of ways to manipulate the material. Assuming
conditions for creative engagement are set, everyone comes away feeling appreciated for a quality that they
bring to the group.

Routine #3


30-Second Persuasions is an activity that aims to get students talking to each other without hesitation. It asks students to think on their feet, be comfortable filling time, and to organize ideas based on relevance and priority. It also helps students practice persuasive techniques, getting immediate feedback on what resonated for the listener.

Routine #4


This routine engages metaphor making and explores identity formation through a specific metacognitive
challenge. Students are asked to analyze their thinking around one function of their own body.

Routine #5


In this collaborative poetry routine, participants work together to construct unique poems full of surprise.
Good poetry often asks readers to leap from one idea to the next without a clear bridge. The mystery that
links two stanzas is what makes poetry worth reading. This routine provides practice in non-linear thinking
and embraces the absurdity that can happen when we create from a space of mystery.

Routine #6


The Many Uses game is a divergent thinking practice to generate lots of new and different ideas about what
common objects can be used for or become. Additionally, the game can be modified to include an unusual
physical object, and ask participants to imagine what that object could be.

Routine #7


This simple routine is designed for developing media literacy, growing consumer awareness, and practicing
metaphor recognition. As teachers we can outfit our students with the tools to discern and deconstruct the
marketing tricks we are constantly exposed to. When the advertiser’s intentions become more transparent
we get to think before we purchase. Visual Artists use metaphor to build messages about culture, politics,
and personal experience. We can expand our “visual listening” competence when we practice identifying and
contextualizing these metaphors.

Routine #8


This activity presents an opportunity for practicing close observation, and idea generation. The task is to look until one sees some shape or visual story in the image, then look again for a new shape or story. The pausing and looking process supports development of tolerance for ambiguity. Once individuals find a visual story in the abstraction, their task is to communicate what and how they see it in clear enough language to allow the group to see what they are seeing.


Engage Your Creativity!

Reach out to the makeSPACE team today for more information on how to sign up and start your makeSPACE journey!​​
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Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about the current grant opportunity or about the makeSPACE project.

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.