One of the highlights of the Structures Inquiry that I am currently doing with my students is a woodworking workshop. Each year I invite a person into my class to run the workshop. He prepares the materials for the project I have chosen (this year I chose the windmill). He brings the tools and woodworking tables into my room and he runs the sessions. This year the grade 1 classes joined my class.
The children love this workshop – and I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they they see that they are building something themselves with a hammer and nails. This year was extra special to me because, not only were the girls successfully building, but the parent volunteers were all women.
Two days later, all the classes had tried their hand at building and we were ready for the next phase of the project: painting and decorating. I set aside Friday afternoon as ending the week with a burst of creativity is always a good thing.
The children enjoy this part of the project as much as the building. When they took their efforts home, the windmills were held proudly in their hands. I can only imagine the smiles the structures would bring to the faces of those who admire them.
Once again the woodworking workshop was a success. No matter what grade I teach next year, I know I will include this activity on my programme.
If we were having coffee, I would urge you to come inside quickly. The temperatures have dropped and it is quite chilly outside. On Friday it snowed! I could not believe it as it is April already and Spring should have arrived. Luckily I had not put my Winter boots away because I have needed to pull them on for the last few days.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my body is feeling a bit sore at the moment. The teacher for Sh’bam on Saturday has a more intensive choreography than our previous Zumba teacher and, on top of this morning’s class, my muscles are feeling it. Speaking about instructors, we have a new one for the Thursday Zumba class. I like her. Her classes are high energy and she also does a couple of tracks that are Power Zumba. It can be intense. I think she may lose some people – but gain others. I look forward to dancing with her.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week my class, and all the grade 1 classes, participated in a woodworking workshop. The workshop was set up in my room and we each had a session. The project I chose for the children to do was a windmill. They loved it! They got to build their structure using a hammer and nails. They made an axle and a pulley – it is a perfect way for them to understand the science concepts that I have been teaching them in class.
On Friday, once my room had been cleared, I gave the children the opportunity to paint and decorate their windmills. The room was buzzing with chatter as they worked. Every year that I arrange the woodworking workshop and encourage the children to decorate their windmills, it is a success. The structures are carried home afterwards with pride and placed, I am sure, in a prominent place in their bedroom.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the week did go by quickly – even more so because we had a four day working week. Next week we will be back to normal and will follow our usual routine. All I wish for now is some warmer weather!
In my class we are nearing the end of our inquiry on structures. Children have discovered the materials structures can be made of; and explored simple machines (such as levers, axles, and pulleys). Last week I asked U Can Do It!, a woodworking group, to come in a work on a project with my students.
I chose the windmill to be our project as it has moving parts – thus both the grade 1 and grade 2 curriculum is addressed. The bonus for me is that the workshop is presented in French and the children are exposed to more French vocabulary. During the workshop, the children hammer away and are totally engaged in the activity. The children enjoy this workshop very much – as do the parent volunteers. This is the second year I have asked these facilitators to come in – and I know that I will book them again next year.
The next day, on a Friday, the children spent the afternoon painting their windmills. And at the end of the day? They proudly carried their work home.
This week I am grateful to the people who run U Can Do It. With their help, I am able to expose my students to woodworking – a skill I have not completely mastered myself.
To end our Inquiry on Structures, I organised a woodworking workshop for my class through U Can Do IT, a Candian company that offers a woodworking experience to children. In class during the inquiry, the children had had the opportunity to build with blocks and lego as well as with boxes and recycled materials. With this workshop, they had the opportunity to build with wood, nails and a hammer.
Yesterday morning the presenter came into the classroom and set up the woodworking tables and materials that the children would use. When entering the classroom, the children were excited to begin and struggled to wait until everything was ready. I had chosen for them to make a windmill as in the grade 2 curriculum the students need to be exposed to moving structures. The workshop experience was perfect for them as the children used the vice of a simple machine to build their structure; and made their own example of a pulley. The windmills have moving parts and the children loved that they had made something that could move. My students will be decorating and personalising their windmills today. These are structures that they cannot wait to take home – and ones they will remember making for a long time.
This week I am grateful that a company such as this exists here in Toronto. Through them, I was able to bring to the classroom an experience that I am not qualified to teach. The presenter was friendly and helpful – and one I will invite into my room again.