March 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Making + Tech + Arts = STEAM | Feedback

The following letter is in response to
Meet the Makers: Can a DIY movement revolutionize how we learn?

Making has been going on in schools for many years in the traditional arts and practical arts departments. By integrating technology into those curriculums, the STEM education occurs—but along with it the arts integration, hence, STEAM education. If the great innovators of our world did not include the aesthetic elements in their “technological” breakthroughs, they would have failed in the marketplace. An innovation must serve a need, solve a problem and, especially in the American economy, look good doing it. I think it bears notice that not all “making” needs to be computer based. The creative thought process in simple crafts can be the backbone to developing the next great “mousetrap.”

Susan Stinson
Teacher, Family & Consumer Science
Southern Regional School District
Manahawkin, NJ

Many aspects of the best maker spaces already exist in school libraries:

• Librarians and media specialists are experts in finding resources and connecting them with kids and teachers who need them.
• Libraries are community spaces that offer learning outside classroom structures and time limitations.
• Libraries model cross-grade, cross-curricular experiences.
• Libraries often incorporate student-led and mentoring experiences.

All these are perfect for schools that are looking to incorporate making and tinkering into their curriculum.

Sylvia Martinez
Coauthor, Invent to Learn
Los Angeles, CA

Babies love photos

Built to Last: Must-have board books for early childhood collections” (July 2013, pp. 26–29) is a great list. I did notice that there were not any books listed with photographs in them, just books with illustrations.

A few years ago, I would not have thought anything about this. However, I work in a public library, and one of the moms who borrows a lot of books pointed out that we should have board books with photographs in them. I have since added a few to our collection and am mindful for such books. So I’d like to suggest books like Global Babies, Who’s Hiding? at the Beach, and Big Yellow Trucks and Diggers.

Vicki Kouchnerkavich
Youth Services Supervisor
Henika District Library
Wayland, MI


Come on, SLJ! What is this? (“Community Angered by Lost Black History Collection,” SLJ, July 17, 2013). Every good librarian knows that libraries, especially, school libraries need to be weeded! I’m hoping that the new Highland Park librarian will replace some of the weeded books with updated and insightful materials about black history as well as assessing other areas of the collection that need to be updated. Meanwhile, I would think that SLJ would have some balanced commentary regarding this issue.

Pam Watts Flavin
Head of Children’s Services
Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.