Author: Reina Cabezas

As a Bay Area adopted native, it is an honor to become a part of the FabLearn Fellows program and hope to make it family. I came to the Bay from Nicaragua as a political refugee like many of my students and their families today. Sharing that experience of struggle and resistance and designing learning opportunities that help them shape their own counternarratives is in itself an act of resistance. As a 6th grade Maker Educator at Epic Charter Academy in the heart of Oakland's Fruitvale district, I'm lucky to be part of a Design and Engineering department that values honoring those past and present legacies: explicitly making Ethnic Studies a pillar through which we create curriculum. Lastly, as a mother of two beautifully creative teenage men, I pour my heart, mind, and spirit into teaching and learning our way toward an empathetic and compassionate world, reclaiming their space and duty to defend land and life.

Planning Felt Monsters Inspired by Ceremonial Masks

As promised, herein lies the beginning stages of my first Maker project grounded in critical pedagogy guided by the Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) Ethnic Studies framework and the Critical Friends Protocol (CFP) with members of the Radical STEMM Educators of the Bay Area.   Dictated by department logistics, the 6th grade class of 2016-17… Read more »

Decolonizing STEMM: Reclaiming Indigenous Scientific, Technological, Engineering, Math, and Maker Knowledge, Practices, and Inventions

Since January 20, 2017 I’ve been trying to hold on for dear life to that elated sense of progress and hope that swept me off my feet during President Barack Obama’s first inauguration 1. I had just started my first full-time 4th grade teaching gig on 98th and Bancroft in East Oakland, a community highly impacted… Read more »

Play-making: Making play integral to Maker Education

“Play is children’s most serious work.” Edith Ackermann In Loving Memory and Respect   The design team of EPIC Middle School dreamt big.  We evoked as many education buzzwords as we could think of and are still working hard to try to make them work together: game-based learning, the hero’s journey, making/”fablabing”, engineering, design, and… Read more »

The Making of the Ghost Ship Fire

Rooted in legacies of struggle and resistance, the story of the Fruitvale district in Oakland, California exposes the historical displacement and disenfranchisement for intersectional communities of race, class, and gender.  The Fruitvale was named after its beautiful fruit orchards and most poignantly after experiencing the first wave of refugees displaced by the 1906 San Francisco… Read more »