(School) Year in Review: Art Car 2011

As I gear up for summer program, I will be taking a little time to reflect on my past year. My bosses at work have kept me on as a teacher, although I smell the terrifying and exciting smell of change in the air.

On May 22nd, my students (and I) participated in the 2011 Art Car Parade. You can catch some parade pictures here and the winner’s list here. I blogged about the build process here.  The cost of this project: $30.  Re-used lumber, re-used paint.  I even got to reuse the sheet metal screws from my last Art Car project.  I only spent my budget on screws and liquid nails (great stuff).

A project like this, building a mocked-up moving land shark, is a lot of fun.  I get to teach some basic power tool skills, my students have to work as a team and learn some important life lessons: patience, dedication and the realization that sometimes, things are worth doing because they are simply worth doing well.   How does this translate into academics?

Well, I’m not always sure.  My students drafted designs, researched mechanical difficulties in Ford trucks, measured and cut numerous parts.  Will this show up on a bubbled-in test?  No.  According to Texas’s education standards, I may not have taught them anything that can be measured – and therefore, I didn’t teach them a thing.  If I could post a picture of my students gathered around their Art Car and you could see the look on their faces, I think I could change some hearts and minds.  I think I taught them pride in themselves.

Scratch that.  I didn’t teach them pride.  I found a way to allow my students to build pride in themselves.  With their hands, with their minds and with their hearts.  And most importantly, with a smile on their faces.  And I wouldn’t ever want to quantify pride with a test.

Make it safe & keep the rubber side down.