This Week in the Classroom: Quality from a Student

Finished only one true project this week in the shop.  Instead of trying to complete projects with the students, I slowed down and tried to focus on the journey, and focus on quality.  What does it look like in my shop, and do I  facilitate it, or do my students discover it for themselves?  What does that excellence look like?  What qualities does it have so I can hopefully repeat it, scale it and explain it? First – basic skills.  I had two demonstrations of excellent basic skills.  This happened early Monday morning, a harbinger of things A square cut … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Quality from a Student

This Week In the Classroom: New Tools and Old Tools In the Shop (It’s Not What You Think)

Just got the best new, free tool in the woodshop today.  It looks like this: It’s a printed out (thank god the paper-waster nazi wasn’t around) version of the ENTIRE trilogy of Mission Furniture and How to Make It published by Project Gutenberg via Popular Mechanics from 1910.  The students flip through it and find examples of furniture they like.  Mission furniture has a good chance of becoming my “house” style.  It’s a book of dreams, I tell you. This is a photo of our lumber processing center mid-process.  We bring in old lumber, this case a pallet, and set … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: New Tools and Old Tools In the Shop (It’s Not What You Think)

This Week In the Classroom: Progress in 2011

What a  student-driven,  project-based learning  can result in: The joints look remarkably tight in this photo, and the stain quite even, but don’t be fooled.  This is about as rough as work gets.  (Not including the Clock, which may be finished and rejected this week…)   It was the first attempt at an entire project like this by the student.  He cut the wood from the original 1×11, sanded the parts to his specifications, measured and attached the handle without major intervention by the teacher.  Pretty darn good for a nine-year old. Here’s the first piece of “indoor quality”, or rather, … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: Progress in 2011

This Week In the Classroom: Curriculum Plan for Spring of 2011

Good week for struggles and not-quite-there-yets in the woodshop this week.  Three projects left the floor complete.  The first, chalkboard that has been wind-blown, vandalized and otherwise destroyed three times.  We’ll see if it sticks this time. The other two projects I failed to take a picture of.  On Mon or Tues, I’ll put up a picture of those two projects.   I spent a majority of my time this week networking with the community-at-large and negotiating class objectives with other teachers.  I have a few interesting classes being put together: Two Art Car themed classes. One focuses on building … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: Curriculum Plan for Spring of 2011

This Week In the Classroom: What Am I Supposed to Make of This?

What exactly am I to make of this? It sits in the outdoor storage area at work.  What should I turn it into?  My co-workers grabbed it on a supply run I wasn’t invited on. Oh, and the bikes have been delivered, well some anyways, for the chop class.  Eventually we will get them in shape to participate in this parade in May. Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: What Am I Supposed to Make of This?

This Week in the Classroom: The Butterfly Bench & Butterfly Growers

I missed Monday and Tuesday this week – my wife was in the hospital with a parasite.  Luckily, the parasite left on his own and we’ve named him Jack.  Jack is our second son, born on Sun 13 at 5:30am.  A whopping 8 lbs.  A beautiful boy. But this blog is about woodshop & teaching.  Looking over the 3 and a half days this week, the students accomplished many things. First, they braved the cold – it’s 40 deg here in Houston and while it didn’t put me out much, my student’s had a difficult time with the weather.  Especially … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: The Butterfly Bench & Butterfly Growers

This Week In the Classroom: Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It

In the spirit of my saw guide, I had the opportunity this weekend to build a few jigs for future use.   In about twenty min, here they are: From front to back: A bench hook, which I consider a necessity for students to learn to saw by themselves. A wooden speed square – just a 45 deg. right triangle with a hook on the end. A shooting board – which I have to learn to use.  It’s used to cut 45 degree angles in a piece of wood or for a block plane to smooth end-grain in mitered cuts.  I … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It

This Week in the Classroom: Mobile Base (The Volleyball Court)

Two weeks ago, my colleague and I had an interesting revelation.  While installing a basketball hoop, we had extra cement.  I had a shovel-ready stimulus bill waiting for him.  It looked something like this: Which looks exactly like it is (brilliant statement there).  It’s a empty tire (the rims lost to another project) with a wood bottom/plug.  The metal thing in the middle is some sort of salvaged structural bracket which can hold a two inch pole of PVC or galvanized piping.  Two eyebolts/lag bolts can be cranked onto the pole in order to secure it to the base.  Being … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Mobile Base (The Volleyball Court)

This Week in the Classroom: The Endtable Project

This fall, I became a full-time woodshop-esque teacher in a private school for students with neurological differences. It’s been a wild ride. My first order of business has been to outfit and carve out a woodshop on the campus. As we don’t have much access to electricity, I’ve been concentrating on hand tool mastery and supplementing projects with my personal shop tools. We also have made a commitment to use recycled materials when possible. Every piece on these tables is recycled: the bases and top supports are pallet lumber, the center posts are salvaged studs or oak used by oil … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: The Endtable Project