Tuesday, February 14, 2017

the dirt..

Yesterday my 7th and 8th grade students helped in the garden, as we strengthen the garden fence, and filled the compost bin students and I had made last year. It had been neglected. In fact, the whole garden had been. Steel tomato cages had been thrown aside and trampled, so they will need to be replaced.

In the compost bin, we gathered wood chips and organic debris so it could be properly composted and turned into dirt for the garden beds.

My upper elementary school students worked on the lathe while one, having been dissatisfied with his first attempt to make a pencil holder asked for help in making one where cuts were square and edges aligned. His second attempt was better, and if he will try again, a third attempt will be better yet, provided the level of attention and care increases in the process. Some things on the surface may appear simple and mindless when in reality they are not.

When children are proclaimed wonderful without having been tested by real circumstances and without having earned self-respect on their own and by their own efforts, it can mystify them when things don't automatically work out. It is not unusual for human beings to have a form of magical thinking in which we just do things and expect the world to comply. I remember being in pottery class, having the teacher suggest that clay has to be thin to survive the drying and firing process and then having things explode in the kiln. Was I not listening? I can assure you I had not fully understood, as I had assumed myself so blessed in my creativity as to avoid the actual circumstances of reality. That is the real dirt.

In an age in which we have delivered to us, so many fancy things with the actual environmental and social costs and consequences hidden from view, I have deep concerns. Perhaps the most important objective we can develop in schools is for students to be fully engaged and to learn to care: To care about themselves (honestly earned esteem) and for each other, and for the planet in which we are engaged together.

Today I will be developing a tools spreadsheet... things that need to be ordered for the ESSA wood shop.

Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that others learn likewise.

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