Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A+ Training...

Today at ESSA we will begin three days of A+ Schools training for the staff of Clear Spring School. With this training Clear Spring will become an official A+ School in the Arkansas A+ Schools network. The purpose of A+ Schools is to integrate the arts into the curriculum. We do that and have done that for many years. But being a part of the network may help us to be of greater use to others in the renewal of American progressive education.

We will become the smallest school to attain A+ membership, but as the smallest school in a network of much larger public schools we hope to strengthen our role as an example to others.

Children need to do real things in school to bring their learning to life. The arts assure that real things happen in school. The arts bring connections between various elements of the school curriculum. Can you learn math in history class? You can when the arts have erased the absurd boundary lines drawn between areas of study, and the arts invite collaboration between members of the teaching staff. Want more reasons why the arts are important? The first rule of educational Sloyd is to start with the interests of the child and children love the arts. Doing real things invites greater student engagement, and thus more effective learning.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in having the opportunity to learn likewise.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

heading home...

I am in the airport at Indianapolis waiting for my return flights to Arkansas. Yesterday at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking I had a class of 19 students to explore the inside of a box. What do we want when we open one? To put things simply, we hope to be surprised. At the very least, we hope to not be disappointed.

As with my five day box making class, I began with the principles and elements of design.

One common mistake box makers make is to buy a bunch of the same stuff other box makers buy to fit out the insides of their boxes to hold jewelry and the like. When you do so, other box makers open the box and may know just where you got what. They may be impressed by how much money you spent, but that's beside the point. When you rely instead on your own creative inclinations, not only do you save money (a single brass post to hold a necklace can cost $5.00 or more at a Rockler store), you may offer the viewer something he or she has not seen before. My presentation yesterday was as much about thinking outside the box, as about finding things to put in it.

When I went to a Rockler woodworking store on Friday to scout out what they had for the insides of boxes, the clerk asked, "Do you want flocking?" Spray flocking to line boxes was the very last thing on my mind.

As an alternative you can go to a Michael's craft store and find an endless array of interesting papers that can do the same thing. The colors are much more interesting, and you can choose a texture that creates a sense of "I haven't seen that before."

Some of this reflects the difference between an "artistic" playful approach to woodworking, vs. a craftsperson's effort to color exactly between the lines.

It will be very good to be home in Arkansas.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning likewise.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

inside the box.

Today at Marc Adams School of woodworking I have a class of 18 students interested in thinking and planning inside the box. I'll demonstrate making drawers, dividers and linings and offer a variety of design tips to help box makers make the insides of their boxes as interesting as the outsides.

The photo shows an interesting box made by one of my students a few years back.

My student had a set of Veritas rabbeting planes that he wanted to keep in a special box. The results caught the attention of Lee Valley and was published in their newsletter.

Make, fix, create, and accept the fact that we all learn best likewise.

Friday, June 14, 2019

class conclusion... MASW

We finished our 5 day box making class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking and we set a record of 79 boxes made by students. Tomorrow I have a class on box interiors, and then will return to Arkansas on Sunday.

Make, fix, create and assist others in learning and growing likewise

Thursday, June 13, 2019

day 4 MASW

I'm at Marc Adams School of Woodworking and ready to start day four of classes. A number of my students have read at least one of my books and practiced box making, so we are making great progress.

All the students have several boxes in the works and have learned and practiced a variety of techniques. We all learn best by doing real things and lessons are best absorbed and held fast in the memory when they've been learned hands on.

If the purpose of American education is to teach kids and not to simply restrain them and corral them into conformity, we would allow them to go deep in their learning through the use of their hands.

Make, fix, create and provide for others to learn likewise.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Off to MASW

I am at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport waiting to board my flight to Indiana where I'll teach for 6 days at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. If you want to get good at doing something, do a lot of it. If you want to get even better at it, teach someone else to do it. Teaching requires that you look at things from various angles, and to put what you do in words, which then fertilize the mind and cognitive processes. As my week progresses, I'll have more to share.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning likewise.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

a successful benefit...

Last night we had a very successful benefit for our hands on learning center and have now raised over half of the money for our matching grant of $35,000. First priority will be to turn an oversized two car garage into a new wood shop for the Wisdom of the Hands program. This will involve adding on to one end to create a machine room for materials prep and storage, heat and air, and adding electrical capacity.

The floorplan shows the arrangement of benches, lathes and some tools.

The new permanent home for the Wisdom of the Hands program will provide a place for teaching teachers to teach woodworking.

Today I'll be doing my final packing and preparation for teaching a week at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. I have two classes. The first is a 5 day class on box making and the second is a one day demonstration class on "interior architecture." In that class we will make drawers, dividers, line boxes with various materials, and go deeper into the principles and elements of design.

If you missed the event and would like to contribute, please send your check to the Clear Spring School, PO Box 511, Eureka Springs, AR 72632 or call 479-253-7888 on Monday morning.

Make, fix, create, and adjust education at large so that all children learn through the use of their hands.