Hello all, sorry for the delay on posting! but its been a hectic few weeks of work! Anyway I thought I would use this blog to go through my methods of introducing woodwork to new students and, hopefully, get some advice/encouragement from those of you here to give me some new ways of keeping student interest in my subject high.
Just a little explaination on who, and what I teach then….
I am, as previously stated a woodwork teacher, I have students from the age of 12 to 18. Through this time, the way I try to operate and the way our school curriculum is “kind of” set up, is to give the students as many skills as possible over the course of 2 and a half years before beginning to help students to develop some design skills of their own. – well thats the plan! As this is my 4th year teaching I should be seeing some good results now, however, I changed schools recently and have to start all over again! Which is really painfull for me with my senior classes, in my old school I saw students develop into fine woodworkers with plenty of ideas and working with them was a joy, but the senior students in my new school refuse to even try and look at furniture in their own home never mind researching a project!!! As a result the pressure seems to fall on me to design a project for them from scratch. I am hoping that my approach which worked so well in my old school will reach some of these students!! That way in 2 years or so my current junior students will be an excellent group of seniors. (but dont let my moaning tarnish all my current senior students as that would be unfair!!)
Anyway! Down to business. As I was trying to say before being sidetracked, I begin my introduction to woodworking by trying to get students to make projects which will develop there skills. Each of these projects is marked out of 10 on a score card which has all student scores and projects on it for the year. Some projects can take half a class others can take up to 8 classes.
At the start of the year with my 1st Year class, I take out 1 or 2 senior student projects and a selection of the projects the class will make over the next two years. This helps to motivate students (as if they were’nt already bulging with excitement with the chance of hacking wood with sharp instrument!)
To begin students are asked to mark out a piece of 44mm x 20mm x 300mm. This is marked out in 15mm and 20mm intervals, using ruler and try square. These are in turn graded for their accuracy, it is a very short first project but it allows me to highlight the importance of good marking out.
The next project is cutting across the grain. This is the same project just marked out cut on the bench hook with the tenon saw. Again, each piece is taken and graded. These 2 projects are completed within the first class.
Following this, projects that include cutting to a depth, trenching etc are done, all short and simple. Once I feel the students are beginning to become proficient with the tools to an acceptable level I will begin to make the Broom Holder. This is a good project for pupils as it gets them using the coping saw, plane etc.
Il, stop here for now and come back and edit this post in more detail later, but, here is one of the 1st year projects that is done pre-christmas; the magazine rack it is simple in its construction but gets students to cut accross the grain and with the grain. Drill, countersink, and use the halving joint.