MAKEShift Poetry: What does innovative education mean to you?

By Jenny Burns, Community Coordinator for the Allen Distinguished Educators Program
April 11, 2016

Hands-on learning is fun and valuable for educators too! In early March, the Allen Distinguished Educators (ADE) program announced the 2016 class of ADEs at an awards reception at SXSWedu. To kick-off the event, attendees exercised their creativity through a “MAKEShift Poetry” activity developed by 2014 ADE Scott Swaaley. Engineering meets language arts in this interdisciplinary project in which participants were prompted to create a poem that answers the question: “What does innovative education mean to you?" Participants were then asked to create a figurative representation of their poem using gears and a magnetic board. 
Check out a few of the inspiring MAKEShift poems by event guests and the ADE community:

“an engineering poem”

Dawn DuPriest MAKEShift Poetry Allen Distinguished Educators ADE.png
by 2016 Allen Distinguished Educator, Dawn DuPriest

create – something amazing; enjoy – school; empower – your idea; invent – your passion; discover – a solution; share – your limits; test – models; improve – tools; connect – your future; innovate – life;

“The amazing piston”

by Lindsey Own, check out the piston in action via a Vine by Margaret A Powers

"Scott's Poem"

by 2014 Allen Distinguished Educator, Scott Swaaley

Of all the stars in the sky,
exists but one to catch our eye.
Polaris beams as if to mock,
the shooting star and faint-lit flock.
But maybe all those shooting stars
are fleeting glimpses of efforts ours,
And if we can get it just-right,
Then we can stay that bright, all night.

[with Vulcan’s support we can get it just right, and stay this bright all night]


2016 Allen Distinguished Educator, Jodie Woodruff, brainstorms MAKEShift Poetry ideas with one of her Entrepreneurship 360 students


by Steven Muniz, K-5 Tech Apps Teacher and Tech Integrator at Hillcrest Elementary and Co-Founder and Blogger at EduTechCollective

I once stood in front of my students to teach,
but discovered behind them was the place I needed to be!
Give them the problem and get out of their way by giving them time to think about their ways!


by 2016 Allen Distinguished Educator, Tracey Winey

Resources available
Possibilities abound
The world is waiting!


by 2016 Allen Distinguished Educator, Chris Bartlo

Crafting is a craft unto itself
having the skill
is reflective,

Winding into the new and unexplored
awakening minds
young and old
to an inspired tomorrow

The MAKEShift Poetry project is one of four existing open-source DIY Guides created by the 2014 class of ADEs. The purpose of these guides is to inspire and enable teachers across the nation to bring new innovative projects to their classroom and to help them “break the mold” of traditional education. Stay tuned for more DIY Guides from the 2016 class of ADEs. Sign up for the ADE newsletter to receive the latest updates on ADE grants, awards, open-source educator resources and program news.

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Comments (1)
Jenny Burns
4/14/2016 9:11:42 AM

Allen Distinguished Educators Moderator
These poems are so inspiring! Thank you to all the educators and education professionals who shared :)

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