Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happy Birthday Mr. Comenius...

If John Amos Comenius was still alive, he would be 425 years old today as he was born March 28, 1592. If you wonder about boys and learning, and how they learn best, or about the arts and why they are important in schooling, use the search function at upper left and type in Comenius. He was considered the father of modern pedagogy, invented the first picture books, and knew a lot more about learning than most educational policy makers of today because he took the time to directly observe children first hand. He could be considered the start of a long line: Comenius, Pestalozzi, Froebel, Cygnaeus, Salomon, Dewey and Montessori.

Children actually haven't changed all that much in the last 425 years. But their toys may leave less room for imagination. Give a child a stick and it will be an umbrella one minute and a hockey stick or light saber the next. Most of our toys today, including all the high-tech wonders, have all the creativity built in that the engineers can muster, leaving less for the children to imagine themselves.

Last night I was interviewed for a documentary film on Kindergarten and its direct relationship with Educational Sloyd. Today the film crew will join me at the Clear Spring School wood shop before traveling on to St. Louis and Louisville for additional interviews.

On another subject, I received my first look at the layout and proposed cover for my new book on making box guitars. Part of the process is for the editors to lay out the first chapters to see how the book is going to work with the intended design. What do you think? You may leave your suggestions in the comment section below.

The book is arranged chapter by chapter according to the specific parts of the guitar.  Chapters include making the box, carving the neck, decorating your guitar, adding frets, adding electronics, installing tuners and tail pieces, and the all important bridges and nuts. Each chapter offers a variety of choices. As a special treat for those more ready to go off the deep end, it shows how to make a uke. The book was inspired by a guitar making project last year with my students at the Clear Spring School and my hope is that the book equips the reader to make decisions and exercise creativity that excede my own.

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


  1. So is it still a guitar if it only has four strings? Or is it a cuatro, the Mexican version?

  2. Mario,
    Calling it a cuatro sounds reasonable. Would the three string version be a treo?

  3. It might be a tres, and there's a stringed instrument named that. But strings are out of my area of expertise. I play with the noisemakers.


  4. its a well explained article wooden guitar is one of my favorite and loved to play in my free time

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