Friday, October 30, 2009

harvest party

Today was the day of our annual harvest party at Clear Spring School. It is a way to have a Halloween party without having the kids dressed up as power rangers and other characters from popular culture. The games played are designed and hosted by the kids. Parents provide snacks. And the high school kids are tour guides for the youngest.

As usual we had a woodworking activity, taking thin shavings of wood with the plane and then mounting them on a stand as a senseless keepsake. Or rather, I should say "evidence of learning". Some of the kids enjoyed it. Some were busy running non stop, as after a week of rain, we finally had a beautiful day to play outside. Cyrano and Oakley weren't content each making a thin shaving of white pine. They made enough to fill their hats.


  1. Without a doubt there is certainly a lot of inner therapy and learning that occurs when a child is tuning into their arms and hands as they discover the joy of working their piece of wood. I can't imagine a better way to occupy their busy time and what a great idea to make it part of a festival.

    I built a shaving horse about ten years ago for my woodshop class and it amazes me how the kids will sit there, sometimes an hour at a time, without uttering a word as they fill up their bag with shavings. Our students are at-risk and live with wood heat during the winter months so I usually allow one "extra" child into the shop to work the shaving horse if they don't distract my class.

    Pushing a plane, turning a lathe, working a shaving horse, or just whittling a piece of wood with a pocket knife have much more significance in the "complete" development of a child's education than can usually be seen by a casual observer.

  2. It is funny that kids who can't sit still in a classroom can whittle on a stick for an hour or more. Does that tell us more about the kid, or the classroom?