Monday, April 15, 2013

road trip...

Today, the 4th 5th and 6th grade students at the Clear Spring School left on their spring road trip. They loaded into cars driven by parent volunteers and are headed for Hot Springs and later to the Crater of Diamonds State Park where they will use tools made in wood shop as they attempt to strike it rich in the only public diamond mine in the world... A state park were you can dig at your own risk and actually find real diamonds. While learning about the world, they also learn a great deal about themselves.

Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski, in their new book Leaving to Learn, How Out of School Learning Increases Student Engagement and Reduces Dropout Rates, discuss the value of road trips to engage student learning and suggest the website, as a source for planning information. The great roadtrip has been a part of Clear Spring School tradition for many years, but I was not familiar with that site. I am finding Elliot's and Charlie's new book to be a simple presentation of much needed reality in education, addressing what it takes to keep children interested in learning. Page by page, it offers a commonsense approach to a renewal in American education. It is a short book so  I plan to devour it thoroughly and then pass it along to other teachers at the Clear Spring School.

Our Clear Spring School kids begin their travel in 4th grade, and by the time they reach high school like the kids shown in the website, are veteran explorers with many states and adventures behind them. At any age, travel is one of the great ways to get kids out from behind desks and to allow them to learn from real life. At school today, my high school students are finishing the last of our box guitars and taking them home to begin practice.

Today in the woodshop, I've almost finished making inlay for boxes. I have a new simple technique in which I can make walnut banded and linden banded assembled veneers in the same gluing operation.

Make, fix and create...

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