our work

makeSPACE offers educators a scaffolded approach that demystifies the arts and invites authentic creative engagement for learning.

Metaphor and reflection are central to arts-integrated meaning-making. Course participants practice these and other creative resources using a variety of visual, gestural and audio experiences. All courses are rich with examples of arts integration from across grade levels, content areas and art forms. Engagement with adaptable creative routines supports development of students’ creative habits and fosters their sense of autonomy, belonging, and competency.

Join us in creative play alongside other educators in a thriving professional learning community.

makeSPACE Courses help participants learn about and cultivate creative strengths inside (and outside) the classroom.


Foundation Course 

The online Foundations for Creative Engagement course invites participants to explore these questions through their own creative process: What is creativity and How am I creative? How can I foster conditions that support student creative engagement? What is the role of artistic practice in learning? How do I begin to make space for student creative engagement?


“As an English teacher, metaphor was always just another content area to deliver during the year. This class has helped me see how it can be the entryway to deeper, creative, and engaging thought and understanding. It will be a foundational part of my future classes thanks to this course.” - makeSPACE teacher



How can your students explore and represent complex concepts such as photosynthesis, democracy, metaphor, or algebra using only their bodies? In this course, we will delve into how theater and embodied learning can increase access to the curriculum and learning objectives in your classroom. It offers culturally responsive strategies that invite all students to engage, regardless of previous experience or proficiency in theater arts. Everything is scaffolded carefully, starting with the very basics of warm-ups and theater games. You will learn to design and facilitate theater-integrated lessons that support cognitive and affective learning targets. No theater experience is necessary! This is truly a foundational course that will support you to build the confidence and skills necessary to get your students out of their seats and into a collaborative, embodied process.


"Frankly, envisioning how I could implement tableaux and some of the other theater arts strategies in my classroom once we are back to something resembling "normal" has been one of the biggest motivating factors for me to want to keep teaching. I can't wait to see how my students respond, and I feel like it is going to bring a lot of energy and playfulness to my classroom and make learning more personally meaningful and transformative for my students (and me). " - makeSPACE teacher


Music and Media

Participants will develop tools for analyzing sound, practice approaches for active listening, experiment with story finding, and explore rhythm making routines. We will attend to ideas like perspective taking, curiosity, gratitude, and resourcefulness; engaging in creative routines around the concepts. This course lays the foundations for our 200 level work of generating rich, multidimensional audio and video content in a classroom setting. Participants will develop tools for analyzing sound, practice approaches for active listening, experiment with story finding, and explore routines for making rhythm and melody. We will engage in creative routines that explore concepts such as perspective taking, curiosity, gratitude, resourcefulness, and student voice. This course lays the foundations for our 200 level work of generating rich, multidimensional audio and video content with students in a classroom setting.


"My most memorable moment came when I was making my MadLib song and my family was laughing so hard... pretty soon they all wanted to join in and my daughter wanted to record HER version of the song because I was doing it all wrong! HA! She did it beautifully but wouldn't let me keep her recording. I thought is was perfect that the activity drew out so much engagement from my kids. Proof that rhythm and song has a place in every person's existence!" - makeSPACE teacher


Visual Arts

Imagine students making found-object sculptures as an exploration of a complex concept. Their whole bodies are engaged. Their hands are connecting one material to another and they’re using relevant vocabulary to sort through ideas. As their minds play inside structured uncertainty, understanding finds form. Thinking and feeling become visible. Course participants practice 2-D and 3-D visual arts routines designed to prepare students with creative thinking, behaviors, and attitudes that support meaning-making through a variety of visual arts processes.


“Integrating arts into the classroom is like soaking in the hot tub, listening to jazz, after a long night of chaperoning your teenagers at a heavy metal concert.” - makeSPACE teacher


Advanced Arts Integration Design

This structured practicum supports integration of strategy-specific skills from the Theater, Music & Media, and Visual Arts courses into any teaching context. Teacher participants grow competency with designing and implementing quality arts integration by engaging in their own action research process along with a cohort of their creative colleagues. With the guidance of online materials and resources, teachers ideate, design, implement, and reflect together. This scaffolded process supports teachers in creative experimentation with new strategies and offers them tools for observing the effects at the student level. Like all makeSPACE courses, it invites playfulness, risk-taking, observation and reflection.


“Participating in the action research has given me a confidence in implementing arts in my lessons. I am more aware of the creative resources of my students and now instinctively integrate routines in my classes. I also have grown in my own confidence and creative risk. I find I build lessons incorporating creative resources and routines on a regular basis. I have a greater appreciation of art in general; I see students through a new lense of creative experiences.” - makeSPACE teacher-researcher.

makeSPACE institutes

makeSPACE institutes

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

Virtual Winter Institute 2021

The theme of this virtual training was the transformative power of story for learning. Guest artists brought indigenous storytelling traditions in various forms including hip-hop, theater, and beadwork. Teachers practiced storymaking in those forms as well as through digital drawing, gesture, and mapping.

Here’s what participants said about it:

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

“I felt like I stepped out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways I haven’t in a really long time. …my anxiety would normally have been flared up so badly during some of the activities, and I didn’t feel it the last two days. I was okay with embracing the silly – maybe because everyone was – but it was a great moment.”

Virtual Summer Institute 2021

Over 38 educators representing at least twelve districts joined us for our first online Institute.  The main objectives were to practice adaptation as a creative resource and to promote social and emotional wellbeing among teachers and students through creative practice. Members of the makeSPACE community presented ‘the Secret (Creative) Lives of Teachers.’ Teachers engaged in online and offscreen creative challenges.

Here’s what participants said about it:

“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.”

“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.”

makeSPACE routines

makeSPACE Routines are theory put into practice. They represent the culmination of our collective creative work. Preview the following routines to get a look inside the work that we do.

Daily Exceptional Image


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.

30 Second Persuasions


Routine #2

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


on vulnerability

“The Foundations course especially got me thinking about students who struggle with creativity. Every year I ask students to be vulnerable and creative and every year I get my share of blank stares! The Foundations course gave me practical tools, especially for reticent students, to be able to unlock and encourage their creativity. By adding some simple practices and reframing some of my own thinking, I have noticed an increase in student engagement and depth of insight.”

makeSPACE Teaching Partner

Drawing by makeSPACE Teacher Michael Dodson

Contact Us

Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about the current grant opportunity or about the makeSPACE project.