Sunday, February 17, 2019

kids' playground

A blog reader from Mälmo, Sweden sent this photo of kids using and making their own adventure playgrounds.

Kids have a natural inclination to build their own character and intelligence through constructive arts. This applies as much to the future tradesman as to the future doctor, lawyer or mother. Give kids materials and tools, observe to assure their safety and get out of the way of their growth.

Today I conclude a two day demonstration class with the St. Louis Woodworker's Guild.

Make, fix and create...

Saturday, February 16, 2019

fit for man nor beast...

I made a presentation last night to a few members of the St. Louis Woodworker's Guild. A brave group, having weathered a snow storm that arrived in the early afternoon. The weather, was fit for neither man nor beast, but they showed up anyway, as did I.

They were appreciative of my three points. The diverse woods that come from our forests are a precious resource and we have a responsibility to share an understanding of their beauty and value. The hands are the most important allies of the brain in the development of character and intelligence. And that we share a responsibility to promote hands on learning as the basic building block for the future success of humanity.

Today I meet with a group of 25 woodworkers to demonstrate the making of boxes.

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

Friday, February 15, 2019

weekend woodwokring

Today I'm headed for St. Louis, Missouri for a weekend woodworking class with the St. Louis Woodworker's Guild.

The guild offers a free evening presentation at Moolah Shrine, 12545 Fee Fee Road, St. Louis, MO 63146 beginning at 7 PM. I'll be showing slides of my work.

Make, fix and create.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Little Free Library

We mounted the Clear Spring School's Little Free Library on a post yesterday adjacent the school's parking lot. With the addition of knobs and a latch, it will be ready for books very soon. The focus will be on children's books, and we left the lower shelf large enough to handle large picture books for beginning readers. It will be a way through which we can share our love of reading with children from the larger community of Eureka Springs.

Today I'm gathering supplies and packing for my trip to St. Louis where I'll teach a two day demonstration class in box making.

Make, fix and create... Plan for others to learn lifewise.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Yesterday in wood shop...

Yesterday in wood shop my first through 4th grade students made pinwheels, an exercise from the old book "Paper Sloyd". My point in having them make pinwheels was to get them more accustomed to using rulers to mark straight lines. Without straight lines, woodworking with hand tools is far less successful.

In my middle school class, we installed the post on which to mount the Little Free Library, finished painting the sign for it, and delivered 22 birdhouses to the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists.

My upper elementary school students began building a foot bridge.

Today in my own shop, I begin preparing for a weekend class in St. Louis.

Here in Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation set up a 10 million dollar program at the University of Arkansas. The administrator was paid $200,000 his first year. The idea of the program was, like the New York Teaching Fellows, to bring new recruits into the teaching profession, and train them on the job while they earn their master's degrees. The program managed a first year recruitment of twelve students, three of whom dropped out. In other words, the director was paid $22,222.22 for each new recruit. The director's salary was only a fraction of the expense.  Go figure. They hope to do better in the coming years.

Make, fix and create... Insist that others have a  chance to learn likewise. Please honor and respect the teaching profession.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

puppies (and kids) must play

Puppies and kids must play. An Arkansas Republican legislator has proposed new legislation that would require every elementary school student in the state to be allowed 40 minutes of recess each day, including out of doors unstructured play when the weather is OK. It is odd to me that legislation would be required for this, as teachers and administrators if they had been trained in child development would have already put such policies in place and would have rebelled against state standards, policies and practices that prescribed otherwise.

In any case, the research tells us that the legislator is right. I applaud his efforts and have my fingers crossed. In Finland, they have more recess time and out of doors recreation time than any other country in the European union and it works for them. When I visited a school in Helsinki, the kids (and teachers) all had their slippers on for indoor school, while those out of doors were wearing shoes. What a very fine thing. Lovely in fact.

Children having adequate opportunity to play offers important benefits to the school environment. Students come in from rigorous play prepared for more rigorous academic engagement. Teachers, too, need the emotional and mental release that happens when kids are successfully engaged in out of doors play.

The photo, once again shows large Froebel blocks used in out of doors play.  In this case, the blocks have been arranged by the kids to serve as an obstacle course with students jumping or climbing, one to another. Perhaps these should also be used in other schools.

Yesterday I had a design class in collaboration with the Eureka Springs Community Center and the Eureka Springs School of the Arts. Next weekend I'll be in St. Louis for a class with the St. Louis Woodworker's Guild.

Make, fix and create. Make space for kids to engage in the real world to enhance their academic learning.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

A trail of blocks

The students at Clear Spring School have found a new use for the large outdoor Froebel blocks. They've set up an obstacle course to climb from one to another. Some are set up at precarious angles to involve climbing. The students adjust the blocks so they can jump or climb from one to another, and pack sand under the corners as needed to make them stable.

Today I have a class on 3-D design at the Eureka Springs Community Center in cooperation with the Eureka Springs School of the Arts. The hours are 1-4 PM. There is room inn the class for late registrants. Show up and we will accommodate. 3-D design will be useful whatever you want to make.

Yesterday a friend passed along an old classic Delta bandsaw to the Clear Spring School for restoration and use in our wood shop. It had belonged to his dad.

Make, fix, create, and plan for others to learn lifewise.