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Learning through a Maker’s Lens</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/nisce”>NISCE</a>
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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.
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”
My school spends a lot of time, energy and financial resources on project-based learning. In my experience, teachers use project-based learning as a catch-all term for anything from make-it-take-it projects which last twenty minutes to inquiry-driven, rubric-graded, long-term explorations. Calling the former project-based learning is lazy and misdirection. Creating incredible experiences for students with the latter definition is exhausting and rewarding. Most of the time, a teacher must follow a middle course. This is one of those projects. We started off by designing and building pantographs. If you don’t know anything about pantographs – check out the video below. Also … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Pantographs
Applied Math Made Easy, a hands-on, application-heavy curriculum designed by a pair of teachers from Wisconsin, has a number of great math labs and activities. Using worksheets to convey directions and learning, the curriculum utilizes a conversationalist tone and “interactive reading” (their term, not mine) to let students learn middle school to high school level mathematics – about a 9th to 10th grade range. I’ve co-taught with teachers who’ve used this curriculum and I can say this: it works. Incredibly well, when your students can read, understand and follow instructions at a high school level. I don’t teach those kids. So … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Rulers & Frames
A little while ago, I ran a book review on One Block of Wood. I recently made a pair of bookends using Ms. Tolstrup’s plans out of salvaged pine and live oak. Hope you enjoy the looksee. Read a good book this week. Especially books on pirates! Make it safe & keep the rubberside down. Continue reading This Week In the Shop: One Block Projects – Book Ends
The good folks at TX/RX Labs invited me back for another weekend of teaching woodworking. This year, I’ve asked to build some Christmas gifts. We are building the Simple Tea Box – and I’m sending one to the winner of my “First to 30” likes raffle on WoodshopCowboy’s Facebook Page. So like WoodshopCowboy on Facebook, sign up of for a class at TX/RX Labs… …and make it safe & keep the rubberside down. Continue reading Come Build the Simple Tea Box @ TX/RX Labs Dec. 1st
Why I do this is a continuing series of education..er…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
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? – NYTimes.com. 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
As my students have become more competent with tools in the past few years (and cripes, does it feel weird to say years…) I’ve gotten the chance to think: what would be really cool to do next? What would be just flat out awesome? Here’s my answer: wood & lino prints designed by the student, for the students work. My summer crew churned out about 30 different wood projects and many pieces deserved something special. In the third week, I took the plunge and bought $80 worth of tools. We spent the next few weeks cutting as many designs as we could and experimenting … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Block Printing & Stamps
Here’s a few shots of a project build I did a few months ago. The challenge was to build a recycling container from completely recycled materials. I picked up some nice crepe myrtle branches and immediately saw a V shaped stand with a small basket to collect recyclable goods. To bad we never did finish it. We got all the way to the crossbeam. Spring break came with all the lassitude of a wilted Texas flower in August. We never stood a chance. Eventually, I snookered a student into repainting an old cabinet door into a chalkboard sign. Then I parked … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Swingin’ Chalkboard Signs