Please support this crazy dream!

I am trying to make an awesome class for middle school kids.

I’m a teacher who has been working to change how kids learn ever since I started teaching science at an inner-city charter school in 2010. I am currently creating the world’s first “Innovative Arts” class at Pine Island Middle School in MN. For the past few years, I’ve been doing everything I can to work toward my vision and help this class become a success. I have been working toward my vision for this class for a few years now. The vision is pretty epic and it’ll take a few more years to pull it all off. I have put thousands of my own hours and dollars into getting Innovative Arts, Creator’s Co-op, and Puzzle Shift Create started. Please join and keep it going!

Find more details below.

The Goal of Innovative Arts:

Kids learn how to Puzzle Shift Create!

“Puzzle” is understanding how our mindsets and attitudes come together.
A poor mindset will defeat you before you start.

“Shift” is about shifting technology from a toy into a tool. We can harness technology to work faster, learn more, and be inspired daily.  

Kids can choose designer, engineer, entrepreneur, digital creator, wordsmith, or hacker creator types and start creating as one of those creators.

“Create” is to bring to life the creator in each middle school kid. Most schools have activities that let kids be creative in this way or that. The kids do not get to choose how they create, however. Innovative Arts wants kids to become a creator of their own type.

How do I plan on doing this?
It is a good thing that I see kids for four years (5th through 8th grade). First, we earn badges with basic creative skills (basic tools, 3D printing, CNC, vinyl, laser cutting) and develop a creator’s mindset. When a kid is ready, they dive into one of these creator types:

It would be easy to choose one of those creator types and having the entire class work in the same way together. Kids are not invested in projects like these. This is different. Kids develop their own style of creating without limits. It is really up to them. Creating this class has been very difficult and lonely. With a community of supporters, I plan on sharing specifics of the ups and downs with an invested audience. The minimum will be one video update, blog post, or email every other week.

Right now I am working extra duties every day after school and bringing STEM programs to summer reading programs at libraries all around the state. With enough supporters, I will be able to quit these side hustles and produce Puzzle Shift Create with all of my spare time.

My day job

Running the fab lab at our school, (where Innovative Arts lives!) is a full-time job! My day job is packed with helping students get started creating, 3D printing their creations, keeping the CNC machines working, cranking out vinyl projects for the school and student projects, helping special ed students have extraordinary opportunities to create, and more. If I only worked the contract hours, there would be no way to build out the vision that I have for the future. 

I work on developing the Innovative Arts curriculum for hours (almost) every night, weekend, and the past two summers. I am eager to have a community that wants to support and this idea and with whom I can share updates. I also have a busy side schedule taking hands-on STEM programs to libraries all over MN, WI, and IA. Proceeds from your support will help me start up a Creator’s Co-op in which I bulk purchase creation supplies to help more students create. The prices are so low, I hope to sell some of them to other classrooms and reinvest the profits so that we can purchase more, different materials and make even more epic creations. Check out my Instagram account for the progress so far!

Supporters will know what their money is buying! Expect biweekly posts, emails, and/or videos with the current doings! I am still doing extra duties every day and booking gigs in the summer to help fund this project. Once there is enough support, I will be able to devote even more time to it!

If you’d rather help in non-monetary ways, please please connect through social media. I need to develop networks of artists, engineers, wordsmiths, entrepreneurs, digital creators, and people who know and love Raspberry Pis and Arduino.

If you read this far, wow! This is absolutely my passion project and the results so far are so promising! Students and parents are very excited to see this class developed; my dream is to create a whole new school discipline. Math, reading, science, art, social studies, and innovative arts! We can do “school” so much better with today’s technology and this is my best effort to bring that future to light. 

After two years of getting on my feet, the next two years will be an amazing push to create something amazing! Please consider supporting the creators that I teach and this crazy dream!