Monday, October 15, 2012

one busy week...

Last week in addition to working on 300 wooden boxes, getting the lids ready for laser engraving, teaching at Clear Spring School, taking two days for a photo shoot with Fine Woodworking, making a small cabinet and a box, having the Clear Spring School semi-annual board meeting, we organized a small meeting to introduce A+ Schools to our small community. That may have been the most important thing of the week, for it is proven that children engaged in the arts (including wood shop) are more deeply engaged in learning and perform better at all measures.

In addition to scoring better on standardized tests, students in A+ Schools also develop better creative skills, and traits of character, and cooperation that will serve them in good stead for their long and more meaningful lives.

The highest standard a school can reach is not that of meeting national objectives in the scoring of standardized tests, but that of accurately reflecting and utilizing the strengths of character within its community. That in itself demands the use of the arts in education. Our meeting concluded with several public school board members and public school teachers excited about possibilities. And I hope it also helped to build bridges between Clear Spring School and other local educational institutions.

Where the hands are engaged, the heart follows. The hands present the rationale for the arts. When the arts are a part of every facet of learning, the culture of schools is altered profoundly. Just as students are more deeply engaged in learning when that learning is hands-on, teachers too, are more deeply and creatively engaged.

Paul Leopoulos from the Thea Foundation talked about the silo effect, in which teachers, classes, curricula are isolated from the rest of learning, and thus disconnected from real life. The tragic effect is that students fail to see the necessity for learning and choose to disengage. Today in the Clear Spring School wood shop, 4th, 5th and 6th grade students will use scroll saws to cut puzzle maps of Pangea as they are beginning to study earth science, plate tectonics and the formation of the earth. My high school students will be working on their cigar box guitars.

Make, fix and create...

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