I had a full day in the Clear Spring School woodshop, with one class of 4th, 5th and 6th grade students making cutting boards from the same species of woods that they had identified as favorite trees.
The 7th grade students and 9th through 11th grade students began working on arrows, and the first, second and third grade students made desk accessories.
All students were glad to be in the wood shop, for hands down, it is a favorite class at the Clear Spring School.
My teaching colleague Tony asked me whether or not we are all (in our culture) suffering from a lack of sufficient memory. I don't know. Let me look it up on my iPad. OK? Our digital assistants are making memory of facts and concepts an unreasonable burden, when we can save brain cells and just look up what we want to know on our iPhones.Why memorize a poem or carry concepts around in our brains when we have google to rely on? All things are being made easy by technology so we can appear smart within our own delusions of self.
But what about crossing the traditional disciplinary boundaries to enter a state of transcendent consciousness of the inter-connectedness of all things? H. Courthope Bowen wrote the following about Freobel's concept of "connectedness":
... to the young child, as to primitive humanity, all knowledge does, as a matter of fact, come as one whole, and that the subdivision into subjects and departments is a very gradually evolved plan, for the most part wholly artificial, and only adopted for the sake of convenience. Moreover, the very nature of knowledge itself teaches the necessity of connectedness. Facts in isolation, and unrelated to one another, do not form knowledge. Facts have to be compared, classified, organized, connected before they become what we call knowledge. ...Education should be one connected whole, and should advance with an orderly and continuous growth–– as orderly, continuous, and natural as the growth of a plant."One could argue that these days interconectivity (a pseudo connectedness) is provided by google and facebook, delivered through each and every digital device. But what happens when true Frobelian connectedness is no longer present in the heart and mind of each child? Are we each to become dependent on the digital device to feel connected?I asked my students what would happen if a massive sunspot were to take out every digital device on the planet. (Scientists say that this could happen.) "We'd go crazy, one said." But people who have something to do and a way to do it are less likely than most to suffer derangement.
I suggest a visit to the CSS woodshop. Here you will find students fully engaged, heart, body and mind.
Make, fix, create, and invite others to do likewise...