Monday, October 11, 2010

stupid in America?

While we're waiting for "Waiting for Superman" to come to a theater nearby, the need for educational reform in the US is not a new thing. The TV segment above is from 2007.

Some are still wondering how to get a handle on schooling. Either education is shaped by the hands, engaging the hands, utilizing the power of the hands to engage learners, or it is abstract, isolating, and fails to engage learners and shape young lives. I call my own fix the "strategic implementation of the hands." It is a simple thing. Fix, make, plant, sew, sow, make music, make art, make messes, test principles in your own hands, learn, grow, and then proceed to learn for a lifetime.

Today at Clear Spring School, the 4th, 5th and 6th grade students worked on walnut cutting boards. There are a couple reasons for this project. First, the wood invites scrutiny, just as our students are beginning to plan their science fair projects. Craftsmanship is the foundation of science as students begin exploration of material qualities and physical reality. I am interested in getting the students to look more closely at wood, and to realize that by examining it, you can learn its story, where it grew within the tree and for how long.

I also want to use the products from wood shop to reinforce the relationship between school and home. Often children don't know how to respond to the question, "What did you do in school today?" Having concrete evidence of the school experience, invites conversation and reinforcement of important values. By making things that are useful in the home, the student is no longer just a dependent child, but a contributor to the well-being of family and home.


  1. Anonymous5:19 PM

    I bet when the Clear Spring students get home they can answer the question based on things they actually made!


  2. A tangible, take-home-from-school, I-made-it-myself object helps in describing what you did in school. It may tell the parent that you weren't bored. It's nice when kids bring items to school for "show and tell," and it can be just as important communicating in the other direction.

  3. Doug,

    You're a Montessori guide at heart!