March 14, 2017

Bishop High School's new Learning Commons

Bishop High School
Bishop, California

From 20th Century Library to 21st Century Learning Commons
(click above to learn more and see the before and after slideshow pictures)

The Bishop High School Learning Commons was designed by a collaborative team that included: school and district administration, Rudolph Construction and D&D Resources sourced all the furniture. GROUPWERK's Doug McIntosh was the design lead for the interior layout of furniture and AV on this project. AV installation was performed by Melzak Media. The school's vision was to take the 1970's traditional library set up and transform it into a 21st century learning space divided into unique learning zones.

January 24, 2017 has moved

Today, I finished merging my K-12 website with my new TLC - The Learner's Cloud website @ If you go to it will now automatically relocate to the TLC site. 

The new is called Directory of K-12 Links and is located within the top TLC menu bar.

The TLC is a collection of content creation web apps, digital media tools and K-12 educational links. These hand-made directories are organized to assist students, parents and teachers personalize their own digital space experience. The criteria for these resources to be a cloud catch for the TLC are:
  • a FREE app, service, tool or link. If not free, the resource is highly recommended (by me);
  • no advertisements, or the advertising from a free service is tolerable;
  • no software install required to a local hard drive; and, 
  • works across devices, operating systems and web browsers.
In revamping three of my previous sites (, Cloud Catch and Digital Media Resources), into this one TLC site, I have added new links, deleted broken links and links turned into for profit subscription sites. I'm committed to keeping the TLC fresh in the months and years ahead as web apps and links go through a constant state of change. I'm also committed to keep all of my web sites in the Groupwerk family FREE of advertising for K-12 education. Enjoy my friends!

January 20, 2017

Groupwerk's TLC - The Learner's Cloud is a collection of content creation web apps, digital media tools and K-12 educational links. These hand-made directories are organized to assist students, parents and teachers personalize their own digital space experience. The criteria for these resources to be a cloud catch for the TLC are:

  • a FREE app, service, tool or link. If not free, the resource is highly recommended;
  • no advertisements, or the advertising from a free service is tolerable;
  • no software install required to a local hard drive; 
  • works across devices, operating systems and web browsers. 
Go to my new site as I'm excited to bring this free resource to people interested in project and inquiry-based learning.

December 7, 2016

IKEA Hack - Makerspace Butcher Block Table w/ adjustable legs and locking casters

For my complete diy step-by-step process for making and modifying this IKEA table for a K-5 Makerspace, go to my Groupwerk website link here -

November 15, 2016

The FAV Directory - Furniture/Audio/Visuals for Learning Spaces

The FAV Directory can be located at

The locking caster wheel as a
 game changer within Learning Spaces
The  FAV Directory is fashioned after Transformative Learning Space Design that embodies the pedagogical change from teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning. Here, the physical learning space itself plays a key role in our students mental and physical well-being and becomes embedded with a school’s overall social and emotional learning plans. Traditional learning spaces designed with a singular purpose are transformed to multi-purpose learning spaces. This transformation from 20th-century to 21st-century learning spaces uses a new lexicon to describe the metamorphosis from -

As classrooms and labs become more flexible and multipurpose, we start to look at the whole space (typically 960 sq. ft.) laid out with groupings of micro learning spaces and micro making spaces. In libraries, we typically have more area space to work with and can craft larger groupings of learning zones.

Please contact me as I would be happy to consult with you on a deeper level as a Learning Environment Consultant. In the FAV Directory, I'm advocating what I call, MobiMod™ (mobile and modular) furniture and A/V equipment to help spark activity and engagement in a variety of learning spaces that provide students a safe nest. You will also notice (with one exception), the absence of the word, desk for both students and teachers. Desks are often associated with a fixed space, whereas mobimod tables and chairs are either personalized or collaborative in flexible spaces.

November 4, 2016

Face-to-Face Learning Space diy Furniture Starter Kit

    1st Grade Teacher Stephanie Rossi, getting her new
    Reading Chair from Astoria Compass Furniture
So, you want to transform your 20th century learning space. Here are three models to follow:

1. Create a basic Action Plan as you start to transform your physical learning space.

A) Start with a short paragraph - Why you are changing your traditional space to a collaborative and personalized 21st century space. Here, you have to connect your physical learning space with your inquiry/project-based curriculum and philosophy.

B) Get your School Principal's buy-in to your plan before you begin. Your Principal (beside you), can be your first potential CHAMPION of your plan to create the transformation.

C) Hone your plan and work the long game to have one or more Champions who are closer to the money funding stream than you are, advocating your change!

2. Go to one or more local Home Furniture stores (that do not sell to the education market). Identify yourself with your school badge and ask to speak with the manager or owner. Tell the manager/owner about your school, your space and your plan. Ask if he or she would be interested in donating either furniture samples that they are about to get rid of or, any overstock items. I recommend that you only acquire newer type furniture that would meet all typical district fire retardant standards. Your Principal will also have a District donation form that the store can fill out for their tax deduction to your non-profit school. And, only except a piece of furniture that will work in your space and yes, use all your social skills in these interactions.

3. As you already know, you may have to start the process of change by spending your own money. I know, but this transformation of your learning space begins and ends with YOU and is a process based on your persistance.

4. I'm always casing out WalMart, Target, Ross (or TJ Maxx, Home Goods in your area) or the Dollar type stores. Here are some great starter furniture that I have found at a good discount -

5. Go to IKEA. Don't be afraid, not everything they sell kills your weekend putting it together. Here are some ideas.
6. Make a butcher block maker table with pipe for your Makerspace - see instructions

7. Does your District have a furniture and equipment boneyard? I’ve found some good stuff there!

8. Look for cafe style furniture that will work as a standing table in your learning space.

9. Make a Wafuu (a what) table from a school activity table - see instructions

10. Make a Lego Wall to create a very active wall space - see instructions

11. Start a KickStarter Fund online to buy several Hokki Chairs for example

12. Get your Principal to fund a magnetic whiteboard wall in your library to show everyone, you’ve got ideas and not only that, everyone can come to the Library as a brainstorming place!

Okay, so at least one of these ideas has got to be a winner here for you. Use your persistence and if you need someone to listen to your plan, you can write me at  -

June 28, 2016

The Transformation of a 20th Century Classroom into a Learning Studio

This post is linked from my Groupwerk website, you can click on it here -

Here, a learning studio is a hybrid of a classroom, a studio and a Starbucks® lounge.

For a typical K-12 classroom with a minimum requirement of 960 sq. ft., a learning studio morphs the same desks and chairs into an eclectic layout of furniture and technology. In effect, the 960 sq. ft. becomes a place of unique micro learning spaces.

March 14, 2016

Lego Wall in a MakerSpace

This post is linked from my Groupwerk website, you can click on it here -

Here is an idea I first got from Chip and Joanna Gaines from their show Fixer Upper - The Barn House Episode. In one of the rooms, Joanna builds a lego wall in a child's bedroom using gray 10"x10" Lego plates. My daughter, Shawna McIntosh and Rodger Ashworth both thought this was a great idea for us to build a similar lego wall in the Washington Elementary STEAM MakerSpace.

Learn how to built a Lego Wall as we take you through the step-by-step process including the materials you will need.

October 19, 2013

Caring - Moving from thought to action

At Mission Bay High School this fall we are focusing on one of the IB Learner Profile attributes, Caring - "We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and the world around us."

Today, my brother shared with me this video of 30 dolphins that came aground on a Brazilian beach in 2012. Watch it carefully as the action unfolds on the beach as people start to gather as the dolphins come ashore. First, we see the group move from a passive state, to let's do something. For me, the real and very quiet hero first appears in the right frame at one minute and thirty-three seconds. He is our hero because at one minute and forty-five seconds he helps a man grab the tail fin of one dolphin and together they begin to pull it back into deeper water. Immediately, the rest of the caring helpers follow his problem-solving strategy and they all save the dolphins in a short time.

You may want to show this video to a group of students or anyone without saying much of a set up (like I have done here) and see if they pickup on the subtle man's actions that makes the whole group heroes on a beautiful beach on a beautiful day.

September 17, 2011

Thank you Steve Jobs

Upon hearing the news that Steve Jobs had stepped down as Apple CEO, my heart sank. I like many other people were wishing him the best for his health and that he would be able to continue to run the wonderful company he co-founded with Steve Wozniak.

As a young teacher, Steve Jobs had entered my world championing the The Kids Can't Wait (KCW) program in 1983. The KCW program became a California legislative bill Steve crafted as a corporate donation to provide computers to California public schools. Apple donated 9,250 Apple II computers to California schools. My school, Revere Development Center (for students with severe disabilities) in San Diego, received one of these golden gifts. This event changed my life and charted possibilities I hadn’t even thought of when that first Apple II arrived before my eyes. As my memory serves, we had quite a time deciding how seventeen teachers where going to share this one computer with all our students. Steve’s genius was that students or teachers who had never even seen or used a personal computer would now get that opportunity.

This new computer become part of my imagination and during the 1984 school year I was determined to have an Apple computer in my classroom. As the powers would dictate at that time, I could not convince my school district to fund an Apple IIe for my special education class. So with my own money, I purchased an Apple IIe with a green screen, Duo-Disk floppy drives and 128k of RAM. I had actually wanted to buy the new sexy Macintosh, but Mac software hadn't been specifically designed yet for students with physical disabilities, so I opted for the more adaptable Apple IIe with DOS 3.3 and was enchanted. I literally carted that thing in my car to school and back home many times.

It was during these early years in the 1980’s that many of my teacher friends and I became ‘digital’ in an aging analog school system. The two Steve’s not only made this possible but continually demonstrated their passion to support twenty-first century teaching and learning well before the twenty-first century had actually arrived. (See - Apple Classrooms for Tomorrow ACOT.) Steve Jobs was not just ahead of the curve, his vision inspired many teachers like myself to create our own vision, one that integrated technology into the K-12 curriculum as a process to understanding.

On a personal level, Steve Jobs was born one month before me in 1955 and I just like the fact that he is part of my birth class. For me, he is like a good friend who lent me his tools and with his tools I built; I created a variety of digital content. Steve has that emotional effect with a great many people- the ability to affect how we use technology.

So my friend, I wish you the best and thank you for your passion and everlasting spirit.