This Week In the Classroom: The Simple Bench

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve let y’all into the woodshop at work.  We’ve been building the “simple bench”.  If you’ve been reading this blog long, you know I love building benches – butterfly benches, green benches, small benches and long benches.  My boys have been working off this pattern: And I give them lots of flexibility in said pattern.  We started with three 3 foot lengths of 1×12 stock.  The students then cut their bench seats to any length as I rip the rest of the stock into 3 1/2″ strips for the aprons and 5 1/2″ strips … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: The Simple Bench

This Week in the Classroom: Spring 2012

In the Spring of 2012, I began my third year as a classroom teacher.  I planned on teaching the courses below.  It didn’t happen.  Instead of a woodshop/technology resource, I became a project-oriented classroom teacher.  I taught 6th grade Math/Science & MS/9th Grade Math/Science and took part in two environmental education program periods.  The pace (four classes, no planning periods, co-teaching nearly everything) forced me to create or find flexible curriculum, taught me the value of three week (half a quarter) units and helped me become a stronger teacher.

The breakdown of what I wanted to teach after the jump.

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This Week in the Classroom: What Do Plants Eat? And How Does It Grow Leaves? And Other Teaching Errors

What exactly, is a plant’s food?  And where do the raw elements that make up a tree trunk come from?  Take a moment and think up two answers. I had a student ask these questions on a recent field trip.  The answer given by the speaking biologist to the second question was wrong.  In fact, I’m willing to bet your second answer was wrong too.  Plants convert sunlight into energy, which is analogous to an animal eating sugar.  Then where do the raw elements for cellulose (the stuff in a plant’s cell wall) come from?  Not the soil, as you … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: What Do Plants Eat? And How Does It Grow Leaves? And Other Teaching Errors

This Week in the Classroom: The 2×4 Shaving Horse

In preparation for a walkin’ cane project, I built a dirty looking 2×4 shaving horse.  It ain’t named Trigger, though I might name it Jimmy Stewart.  Whenever I think of the description “long face”, I think of Jimmy Stewart.

I’ll walk you through my build after the jump…

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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.

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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