Making a Makerspace: Planning the Steamworks

This fall, I move into a brand-spanking new classroom.  As part of this move, I’ve been heavily involved in the planning, organizing and logistics of moving my school’s Math & Science program into our new digs.  In the words of a close colleague of mine, what a great problem to have!  Long term readers of this blog have probably noticed a distinct drop off in posts over the past year – well, this massive move has been the main focus of my long-term planning and energy, leaving little left over for blogging or new projects.IMG_6409

That’s about to change.  This is the first of a series of posts on how I’m transforming an empty 20′ x 20′ room into a Makerspace.  I will be posting progress reports throughout the Fall 2013 semester, so keep checking back.  This post will focus on planning out the Makerspace, which I’ve named the STEAMworks. Continue reading “Making a Makerspace: Planning the Steamworks”

Community Watch: Build A Box!

Eight students, six boxes built and finished.  It was a long day in the shop – nearly seven hours with only a few breaks for liquids.  I can  think of a number of great moments: the first box getting nailed together, the last coat of shellac being applied, the look of what-have-I-got-myself-into as the students tackled nearly 40 linear feet of hardwood for the first time.  We captured the moment which stands out most for me in the picture below. Take a good look at the boy in the white shirt.  Take a good look at his smile.  He didn’t get … Continue reading Community Watch: Build A Box!

Why I Do This: Monday Nights

Why I do this is a continuing series of…ahhh…editorials.  If you don’t like ’em, check out my projects!  I do a lot of woodworking here, but I do more teaching in real-life.  Teaching, whether a reader on these blogs, or at TX/RX labs, or at my work, is what I really love.  I’m a self-proclaimed I-might-be-ok-at-some-point woodworker.  I’m a wicked good teacher.  Once in a while, I’ve got to say my piece about the craft of teaching. Just helped put my children to bed. Nothing special, really. Probably the same thing your doing, probably the same thing any number of … Continue reading Why I Do This: Monday Nights

Why I Do This: Well-Being

This is why my school approaches the whole child, stressing social connections for students with neurological differences as well as academics.  You can’t have one without the other as an adult.  Having approached my students like this for three years, I know this:  I won’t teach any other way anymore. A study published this week in the Journal of Happiness Studies shows how children and adolescents get this well-being as adults. In short, social connectedness massively overwhelms academic achievement. The study mined 32 years of data from the New Zealand Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, which followed about 1,000 … Continue reading Why I Do This: Well-Being

Why I Do This: Invest in Teaching and the Return on Adventure

I think we need a new measurement for tracking the success of our maker ventures, a new yardstick. I propose “Return on Adventure” via MAKE | Maximizing Your ROA (Return on Adventure). There’s been much discussion of the value, in dollars and sense, of a good teacher, via What is a Good Teacher Worth? – I’m a builder of things.  As a child, I built models and dioramas and train sets and miniatures.  In college I built poetry and plays, papers and rhymes.  I built a piss-poor set of ethics also, but that’s a different post.  Now, I build furniture at  … Continue reading Why I Do This: Invest in Teaching and the Return on Adventure

This Week in the Classroom: Math Effect 2012

My job description will change a little this year: I’m a full-blooded, fully functioning math/sci teacher.  Less woodshop, more classroom projects.  And speaking of classroom projects:   You can recognize a school that gives more than lip service to hands-on learning. Within its walls, you will find the arts, woodshop, theater, music and laboratory science. All of education within those walls will be experimental rather than set, leading to unknown outcomes via Wisdom of the Hands: lip service…. Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Math Effect 2012