Maker Playlist Highlights Perseverance

Creativity is inspired by many elements. In our Wonder Workshop, we hope people’s inspiration comes from the supplies in our space or from our Maker challenges. We try to foster a creative environment and activate all the senses. One of these senses is sound and what better way to activate this sense than by playing  music.

Here is the Wonder Workshop’s Perseverance Playlist. It’s filled with songs that encourage children and adults alike to continue on and not give up on their endeavors or, in our case, their projects. Like one student in our Makerspace said, “If Thomas Edison gave up after his first light bulb, we wouldn’t have this light in this [Maker]space to create this.”

If you’re feeling in need of some inspiration, give these songs a listen.

“The Power of Yet” Janelle Monae

Believe in yourself, work hard, stay focused, and one day you’ll get to where you want to be. That’s the power of yet.

“Try Everything” Shakira

From the movie  Zootopia, Shakira brings the Latin pop beat to this song about trying even though your chances of failing might be high. “Try Everything” teaches our students that you have to try, try and try again to learn and expand your knowledge.

“Fight Song” Rachel Platten

A child might get discouraged from peers or get down on themselves because they might compare themselves to others but Rachel Platten tackles this problem with her anthem to keep fighting.  You have to fight back and prove that you can achieve.


“The Greatest” Sia

The song and music video empowers the child who has creativity and strength. The value of stamina is highlighted and reminds us that is the way to become the greatest. It reminds us to keep going even when times are hard.

“Get Back Up Again” from The Trolls movie

Even though the idea of failure can be scary, this song reminds us that when we get knocked down, we’ve go to get back up again. That’s a big lesson children learn when working on projects-not everything goes according to plan, but you have to keep on trying and you just might surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.


“I Am Changing” Whitney Huston

This song reminds us that it’s ok to ask for help from our friends. It’s ok to start over and change what you’re doing for the better.


About the Author


Maria Renteria, AmeriCorps VISTA 
Maria comes to us from the South Bay of Los Angeles. She has been a Maker since she can remember. She is excited to share this passion with Grass Valley Elementary students because she wants them to create their best memories of school through making like she did when she was little.

Catch Us at Lighthouse Mini Maker Faire

We are excited to announce that we will be at the Lighthouse Maker Faire. Our students will be leading a maker station and there will be demonstrations by our Maker Ambassadors. Maker Faire takes place April 21, 2017, from 10 am -2 pm. Join us for  Wonder Workshop’s first official Maker Faire.

Register here to attend for free.

We hope to see you there and our students can’t wait to share their making knowledge with you.


Our world is what we make it

What is Project-Based Learning and Maker Education?

All of a sudden, so it seems, the terms “Maker” and “PBL” are everywhere in the educational landscape. You may be wondering what each of these terms means, how they are related and how they differ. You are not alone. I myself wondered the same thing as I made my journey into the field of Maker Education and Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning and Maker Education are terms which are growing in use these days. Here are two definitions:

“Project-Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.” —The Buck Institute of Education

Maker Education brings the Maker movement into the school setting to provide students with hands-on learning that promotes creativity, thoughtfulness, a community of learning and sharing ideas, as well as, the idea that each person can create what they want to see or use as opposed to just buying it. Making combines new technologies with old-school arts and crafts and vocational education.

Maker Education focuses on bringing together Science, Math, Technology, Engineering, and Art in a student-centered, creative way. Often times Maker Education happens in a Maker Space:

“… [A] space where kids have the opportunity to make – a place where some tools, materials, and enough expertise can get them started.  These places, called makerspaces, share some aspects of the shop class, home economics class, the art studio and science labs.  In effect, a makerspace is a physical mash-up of different places that allows makers and projects to integrate these different kinds of skills.” –Dale Dougherty, The Maker Mindset, in Design, Make, Play

After having immersed myself in the field of Maker Education and Project-Based Learning for the past two years, my main takeaway is that they are quite similar. They both focus on the creation of projects, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, creativity and have the potential to foster empathy in students. The main difference is that Maker Education has a big emphasis on “hacking” or “tinkering” where you take something that already exists and makes it better or you make something entirely new for the fun of creating it. Maker Education also has a strong tech bent with the inclusion of coding, computer science, and engineering while Project-Based Learning can encompass any and all subject areas.

At Grass Valley, we are combining these two related approaches so that we use the best of both approaches. Our focus is hands-on, project-based learning where students create a product that they showcase at an expo. The Maker Project-Based Learning units can focus on any subject area and integrate a low or high tech component into the end product.

We invite you to check back here often to see where our journey in PBL/Maker Ed takes us.



Paula Mitchell, Teacher on Special Assignment (TSA)
Paula is a 20+ year veteran Oakland teacher who has been crafting, designing and making since she was a little girl. She is delighted that her job as a TSA for Project-Based Learning/ Maker Ed allows her to bring more hands-on, minds-on learning to the community she loves.