Monday, January 15, 2007

Ednah Anne Rich's book Paper Sloyd For the Primary Grades was published in 1905. My copy came complete with the hand crafted valentine preserved between pages. The green envelope at right was made in my first and second grade woodworking class where we have been doing paper sloyd as a preparatory exercise in developing woodworking skills. These simple things made of paper are the kinds of things that most children don't do anymore. I want to review Otto Salomon's simple theory of Educational Sloyd for just a minute, and perhaps you will grasp on your own why children need to begin their education with scissors rather than with laptops. Education should: Move from the known to the unknown. Move from the easy to the more difficult. Move from the simple to the complex. Move from the concrete to the abstract.

I am no Luddite. I use my Mac a lot. I do writing, accounting, photo editing, illustration and email on it. I use it daily in the writing and publication of this blog. I've even edited my own short videos. But children need to be tying knots, braiding string, cutting snowflakes and paper dolls and learning the full range of technology in order to understand its movement so they can anticipate its direction and be prepared to lead rather than follow or be pushed by the manipulations of others.

There is a well-documented link between math skills and what is called spatial sense, described by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) as “an intuitive feel for one’s surroundings and objects in them.” According to the NCTM’s Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, "Geometry and spatial sense are fundamental components of mathematics education. They offer ways to interpret and reflect on our physical environment through abstraction. They support creative thought in all mathematics"

According to the Standards, “spatial visualization includes building and manipulating mental representations of shapes, relationships, and transformations.” There is no better means than the transformation of paper from its original flat plane into three-dimensional carefully constructed useful objects through Paper Sloyd!

No comments:

Post a Comment