Trina Deboree
Teaching and Learning

Teaching Blog

Teaching Blog

Teaching activities, ideas, lesson plans, and more. Whether you are teaching in your living room or teaching in a traditional classroom your role in children’s education is crucial. Kids need us to champion for them, inspire them, and love them. This page offers you ideas and tools to utilize in your learning spaces. Happy Teaching and Learning!

Beginning the Year With a MakerSpace Moment In Literature

Back-to-school or the beginning of the year for teachers and students can be an intense time of anxiety and overload! I know for me the first three weeks of back-to-school were all about decorating, getting organized, and planning for the first week. {And who am I kidding? It was more like the first two months!} If you are starting with classroom decor, visit my post 3 Surprising Reasons Back-to-School Decor Matters Big Time.

Now that you are ready to start planning for the year let's take a closer look at a super fun MakerSpace Moment in Literature for the beginning of the school year. Don't know what a MakerSpace Moment In Literature is? Be sure to read all about it here. (Scroll to step 5. Build a Community of Makers and Tie it to Standards for specifics.)

Beginning the Year With a MakerSpace Moment In Literature

I recently purchased an enjoyable book called First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. You can find it on Amazon. {This is an affiliate link, which means I make a very small profit when you use my link.}

Beginning the Year With a MakerSpace Moment In Literature

First Day Jitters is a cute story about the beginning of the year. Mrs. Hartwell (the teacher) is starting at a new school. She is feeling distraught and nervous. {This picture cracks me up! How many times have we all felt like this?!}

Beginning the Year With a MakerSpace Moment In Literature

This story has a clear problem-Mrs. Hartwell doesn't want to get up and go to her new school and solution- Mr. Hartwell convincing Mrs. Hartwell to get up and go meet her new students. {I love how this lends itself so nicely to how we all can feel about back-to-school. Even teachers!!} 

Stories with clear problems and solutions make for an engaging Makerspace Moment in Literature opportunity. Students have the chance to problem solve and be creative.

Beginning the Year With a MakerSpace Moment In Literature

I also think there are some great close read options in this story. Julie Danneberg has several books that feature Mrs. Hartwell. The character of Mrs. Hartwell is introduced in First Day Jitters. If you choose to read First Year Letters (Makerspace Moment coming soon!) and even Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg, you will give your students a compelling opportunity to see how characters change and grow across different stories. {When you are ready months from now, visit the End-of-the-Year Makerspace with Last Day Blues. I know you can't think about that yet!}

Illustrations and asking and answering questions are a good fit for this book, as well. Formulating questions can be so tricky for kids. This story makes asking questions easy because most kids want to know WHY Mrs. Hartwell doesn't want to go to school. Students also often ask HOW will Mr. Hartwell gets Mrs. Hartell to school? So getting kids to ask questions makes a lot more sense to them when there are surprising things happening in the story. 

The illustrations are also detailed and intelligent. Judy Love, the illustrator, helps the author, Julie Danneberg bring her words to life. Having students study facial expressions and small illustrated details, allows them to understand better how the characters might be feeling; which in turn helps students better comprehend the story. 

I love close reading. MakerSpace Moments in Literature are an excellent answer to covering standard and getting kids thinking and building.


After you have exhausted all standards, or you are ready to move on, the creative engineering aspect of Makerspace really comes into play. 

The solution for how Mr. Hartwell could get Mrs. Hartwell out of bed is what you will want to focus. You can offer a specific Cardboard Challenge, or you can keep it open-ended depending on your time, the needs of your students, and your supplies. {Tip: Start collecting cardboard NOW. Amazon orders, text book boxes, and free broken down boxes from your local grocery store are a great place to find cardboard.} 

Here are some examples of solutions that kids can make with cardboard.

Creating the solutions and presenting them to teams or the class can be a fun, hands-on experience, as well as a great practice in listening and speaking standards. 

MakerSpace Moments in Literature can be so engaging! I hope you and your students enjoy this back-to-school learning adventure. 

Happy Teaching and Learning!


P.S. Want to hear when the next Back-to-School Makerspace is coming out? Click below! {Plus, get a FREE Makerspace Moment In Literature.}

A follow up to Fist Day Jitters is First Year Letters {this is an affiliate link} such a fun way to extend your knowledge on the main character, Mrs. Hartwell. The kids can be challenged to create and or improve upon a mail distribution system. All you will need is cardboard and arts and crafts supplies. Here is an example below. (Buttons make an interesting decorative piece.)

Don't forget the Close Reading opportunities!