Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Individualized interest and instruction...

Today, I am preparing for my 5 two hour classes in Des Moines on Friday and Saturday at Weekend with Wood.

I've been reading a book by Mrs. Horace (Mary) Mann and her sister Elizabeth Peabody. Some readers may recognize the name Horace Mann as being one of the pioneers in educational theory. Schools in some cities are named after him, but as with most things educational these days, there may be very little in the school that would reflect Mann's educational ideals. Only those who are truly interested in Kindergarten will recognize the names of the two sisters who played such an instrumental role in bringing Kindergarten to American attention. But these names were important and American education would have been a far harsher landscape without the humanizing and spiritualizing influence of Friedrich Froebel.

Among his contributions were the recognition of the value of music and play and the use of building blocks and other constructive gifts. His Kindergarten method had profound influence in the manual arts movement, and he recognized the potential of young women as professional teachers. But his success around the world came because of supporters who recognized the power of loving relationships in the education of their kids.

Today in the CSS wood shop, my 3rd grade students went to work on the lathe. I offered them "free day," and turning on the lathe was what they chose. The lathe is their new favorite tool and when they finished one turning to their satisfaction, they asked to do another. When doin greal things, individualized instruction is required.They were full of compliments for each other. Like, "That's awesome, Ana!"

As at Clear Spring School, Weekend with Wood will be full of choices, with participants choosing what aspects of woodworking they most want to learn. We learn best when we have chosen an area of learning that fits our interests, and when the teacher is able to make a personal offering to each student.

I have a Clear Spring kid's workbench in the back of the truck and I'm loading books and boxes and various tools needed to teach 3 distinct classes, two of which will be repeated on a second day.

Make, fix and create...

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