Wednesday, March 04, 2015

tool boxes and sense of self

I am off from school today due to a pending winter storm.  I had planned to begin a class on box making for home schooled students. But that will be delayed for one more week.

Yesterday in wood shop classes, my first and second grade students continued making their tool boxes. It is amazing to me how much impact these tool boxes can have. Usually my students want to decorate the wood objects they have made and take them home as soon as they are allowed. Decoration is part of the process of claiming ownership. Taking the object home is step number two in asserting their possession of what they have made.

These tool boxes seem to signal a higher level of maturity in response to their work. They have been in no rush to finish them and are in no rush to take them home, as they want tools to go inside. Last week we added tool holders for screwdrivers and other tools to be organized in the box. Yesterday we added holders for pencils, and we began making small tools to enable work at home. We made squares that they can use to mark wood for a square cut. Next week they want to make magnetic nail holders like those we use in the shop. We will also make a sanding block to be kept inside.

A tool box and the tools that go in it are important symbols. They identify the child as one who is trusted with powerful objects, and as one who has an important role in both family and community.

I remain deeply puzzled that there are some who do not understand the necessity that all students:

Make, fix and create...

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