Thursday, January 04, 2018

back to class...

Yesterday in the Clear Spring School wood shop, my middle school students helped design our next unit. I showed them short articles I did in 2005 to describe various middle school projects, and they decided the one that appealed most to them would be to make canes and walking sticks for the elderly and infirm.

Middle school students will often choose projects that have meaning and value to their community. (or at least that's what I've observed with our kids) They are also interested in wood turning, so we will spend time between the two. While planning for the coming weeks, my students also helped me clean shop, continuing the work started by my upper elementary school class prior to the holiday break.

Some of my lower elementary school students had gotten tool boxes and tools as gifts over the holidays. That suggests that parents and family understand the value of the hands on learning. My lower elementary students told me that they wanted to work together in pairs on projects. If I were more rigid in my expectations, we would get less learning accomplished, and some of the best days in wood shop are when the children take charge of learning.

In the elementary school at Clear Spring, students and teachers have been trading art cards. Instead of Pokemon cards or baseball cards, the students are making and exchanging art of their own making on business sized cards. Each has a delightful collection of their fellow students' work.

I am planning to make book boxes with my upper elementary school students. Rather than tell more about them now, I'll show a prototype when I get one completed. Children need concrete examples to inspire their creations, and usually want to make the interesting things they have seen others make. These are principles of educational Soyd, conforming to the interests of the child, and relying on the  concrete to illustrate the abstract.

Make, fix and create... Assist others in learning likewise

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