I am also making some tiny boxes to award as prizes for the box making contests I offered my summer students from the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.There were two classes and first and second place awards in each class. So while there are only four prizes to award that require these small boxes, I will have just a few left over to sell. The lift off lids have been fitted to the bodies of the boxes, and after being routed and finished, small brass pulls will be attached.
In the wood shop at the Clear Spring School today, I began giving a vocabulary lesson to my lower elementary school students, making sure they can identify the various tools they use. They really liked naming tools they knew, learning to spell their names, and learning the names of tools that they did not know. Again, Salomon's advice comes to mind. Move from the concrete to the abstract. Will children not more easily learn that which they can hold and use? When I suggested the vocabulary lesson to them I did not realize how much fun it would become, and they would not allow the lesson to end until we had a long list from the top of the white board to the bottom. We have room still (and tools enough) for another list of equal length.
In 1854, a Swiss statesman named Schwindler asked his countrymen to answer a question.
"How shall instruction in our elementary schools be freed from its present abstract method, and be made more conducive to true mental development?"The question was widely discussed and brought forth a number of intelligent responses. I have the answer for it if anyone was to ask. Do real things that engage the senses, and particularly the hands. The hands form the bridge between reality and mind, making real that which had been abstract. This same applies to all ages, so even when I teach adults, I try to make it hands-on so that they might learn best. But how can teachers make things real for their students? Let me count the ways.... Music, art, field trips, hikes in nature, laboratory experiments, dance, making beautiful and useful things, and making a serious effort to reduce the amount of time spent sitting at desks.
Do the hands really form the bridge between concrete and abstract? Test it yourself and reach out to the real world.
Make, fix, create, and extend to others the power to learn likewise.