Thursday, January 16, 2014


Making a wooden  t-rex for the study of dinosaurs
Yesterday my first, second and third grade students began making dinosaurs. On Monday and Wednesday I began administering a vocabulary test/scavenger hunt in the wood shop to grades 4 through 9. The idea is that I want students to use tool words when telling me their ideas and proposed problems solutions. It is quite common for teachers to assign vocabulary words and ask students to go to their dictionaries, learn what they mean and how to spell them. My goal is much simpler and more direct than that. I want them to speak clearly and informatively when in the wood shop. And they know that I'm not asking for something with an abstract purpose, but for something that has direct use.

The students made a game of it, and had fun. I have two full pages of tools in two columns and check lines alongside each. The idea is that when a student identifies a tool, proves to me that he or she can tell what its for and finds it on the sheet, I mark my initials alongside. We will do this at least one or two more class periods. Whatever a child decides to do in his or her adult life, unique vocabulary will be required for that field. And practice in the assimilation of vocabulary is a reasonable exercise that extends the range of wood shop and shows its usefulness in the development of verbal skills and understanding.

On another subject, I've begun making a stationary plane for making grooves in box sides for the sliding lids of Froebel Gift Boxes. I ground the blade from tool steel and will make the body of the plane today in the wood shop. This particular plane is one that will be mounted in the vise and instead of taking the plane to the wood, the wood will be passed over the plane.

We just have today or tomorrow for the APSC judge to offer her ruling in the AEP/SWEPCO application to run an unnecessary, unwanted and overly destructive power line through my local community. Our fingers are crossed that the case will be over this week. If she rules in favor of the power company, we will be working immediately on an appeal and the whole thing will go on for months when I would much rather be in the wood shop.

Make, fix, create... and teach others to do likewise.

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