Classroom DIY

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Day 17 of #btbc16
Classroom DIY


     The Classroom DIY creation that I have made myself and am most proud of is the Carousel Spinner iPad Thingy that I used for book clubs this year.  That is its unofficial name. 

     I was about to start modeling lessons to get kids ready for book clubs in a few rooms in my school, and one of my favorite things to do is use student video with the kids to reflect and make new goals.  With book clubs, though, it is sometimes hard to do that.  The noise level in the classroom is loud when multiple groups are talking, so just propping a computer up and hitting record in PhotoBooth doesn't end up with quality footage.  I had remembered seeing a video that someone made using a lazy susan and an iPad, but I didn't have a lazy susan.  So, I thought to myself, what do I have in this house that spins?  

     A utensil spinner!  

     Attempt #1: Originally, I used the spinner in a PD with staff members and I didn't have my iPad.  I needed to prop my phone in there, and our music teacher suggested I tape pencils to it, and my secretary thought to cut a red solo cup and prop it in.  Neither were very secure.  So, I borrowed a ruler and taped my iPhone to it, and then stuffed the middle of the utensil spinner with a little plastic pot of gold I had so that the ruler wouldn't move.  It worked, but my phone never has space on it to take videos.  

     Attempt #2: My iPad has a case on it with a stand, so I just put the stand in one of the spinner compartments and it was ready.  I actually felt silly that I didn't think to try my iPad first.  We set the video to record at us, and pressed start.  Whenever someone had something to say, they would just spin it towards them.  When the conversation was over, we pressed stop.  Then, I would just airplay the video to our smart TVs and watch segments of it with the class.  I  only have 1 utensil spinner, so not every group would get recorded each day, but I did move it from one group to the next sometimes.  

     Here is a time lapse video of a book club, with me as a participant.  The person who started recording accidentally pushed time lapse, so we ended up with a nice 13 second video to show how people take turns in a conversation not in order, but as they have a thought that will grow the conversation.

     That's about it!  I made a portable movie studio out of an iPad and a utensil spinner.  I may not be MacGyver, but I was pretty thrilled with it.  Until the stand on my iPad cased broke off...  I'm still not sure what my son did to it.  But, fixing it will most likely be my next DIY project.

     In all seriousness, I thought about not posting today because of the events in Baton Rouge.   A silly book club spinner seems not important enough to write about, but the prompt was Classroom DIY.  And I'm tired of feeling hopeless about our world.  My whole reason for wanting book clubs to succeed this year was to teach our students to have a conversation where we can agree to disagree.  And, you know what, we did.  They had some great, difficult conversations, sometimes about books and other times about historical events.  So, I am going to hit publish.  Perhaps our students will become adults who know how to solve problems through conversation,  not violence.  It has to start somewhere.


  1. Leah, this is awesome, I love it!!! I want to make one!

  2. This is great for book clubs! Thanks for the idea!
    And I agree with your final statement. I have hope that the generation we are raising and teaching will be able solve problems and have kind. That hope is what gets me through some days.