Teacher Resources: TEDTalks on Education

The TED Talks started in the 1980’s as a Silicon-Valley conference focused on software, technology and design.  Now, it’s the destination for smart hipsters and brilliant researchers, visionaries and experimenters to express their passions and become the circus attraction.  I’ve been watching a few of these talks on and off for a year or so.  I don’t have a TV, and these guys are the closest I get to PBS.  While I’ll send you over to their site, http://www.ted.com, know they are on hulu too. On the off-chance the conference is still around when I become a famous and confident … Continue reading Teacher Resources: TEDTalks on Education

This Week in the Shop: Refurbish A Children’s Bike

The 16″ childrens’ bike project has cleared my outbox.  I’m busy in reflection mode with the students, examining all the different parts of our work for ways to improve the product, teaching and quality next time.  I thought the bike itself came out well:

If you’ve followed the blog over the past two months, then you’ve seen some of the progress.  If you haven’t, or are interested in doing this yourself, the I’ll recap the project after the jump.

Continue reading “This Week in the Shop: Refurbish A Children’s Bike”

This Week In the Classroom: Quadracycle In Progress & DIY Wood Bongo Drums

It’s that time of week again – I’ve had some personal living arrangements wetness and have been living out of a dufflebag and a smile.  Reminds me of college, but at that time I didn’t have two in diapers… At … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: Quadracycle In Progress & DIY Wood Bongo Drums

This Week In the Classroom: The Garden & Experiments in Wood

It’s been quite a week here on the range.  My sawing post made Make Magazine’s Blog. Traffic soared.  My father finally subscribed to my blog, which is intensely gratifying.  He taught me most of what I’m passing along. At work, we had some great stuff happen.  The kids worked very hard and made great strides working on the Rose Garden and Apprentice Bike projects, despite early closings, late openings and cold, cold weather. Word came from above that we would delay digging out the entire bed – we’ve gotten roughly halfway and for the moment, we will focus on planting … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: The Garden & Experiments in Wood

How To: Teach Sawing to a Young Student

I have a perfect record in the woodshop.  No fatalities. I have had two injuries though this year (I average about one a quarter or semester).  Both happened due to good sawing habits gone bad. This picture shows my basic hand-saw set up when I cut a board to size.  I’m right-handed and for south-pawed students, I mirror the set up. I would saw about an inch from the edge of the table.  Notice I use a bench hook to keep slips/movement to a minimum and pinch my thumb in so I don’t catch it on a saw (though I’m lazy … Continue reading How To: Teach Sawing to a Young Student

This Week In the Classroom: Computers Ain’t Everything

Took over our conference room to work through some design challenges today.  My students used Google SketchUp to start creating jewelry boxes, art car vehicles and bookshelves. During the Art Car class, I led the group building a 3D model on the big (like 50-60″ screen) TV.  Computers+big screen TV+3d modeling software+we are building a car =  interested, motivated students.  Or so I thought.  I turn around, two students are asleep. I have only three kids on the dang project.   Terrible numbers.  Mendoza line terrible. I quickly got out the sketchbooks and pencils.  More success, more interaction. So, what I … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: Computers Ain’t Everything

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