Saturday, June 19, 2010

Each One Teach One...Or Nine

I spent the past week teaching a Sheep to Shawl class at the Living Arts and Science Center in downtown Lexington. I had a fun group of third to fifth graders and we started the week by unrolling a raw fleece, skirting off the icky stuff, dividing it up so everyone had a big chunk and then washing it.

Saint Tim made strainer buckets for everyone. Our bee friend Saint John saves beer cheese (so he's also our cheese friend ;-) buckets for me. If you drill holes in one and slip it inside another, they are handy for all sorts of projects where you need to strain water, soap, dye... They hold about a gallon and were perfect for a school setting. Thanks John!

Tuesday we took our washed wool and learned to card it and spin yarn using wooden drop spindles everyone made and painted to suit. Wednesday we made felt ropes (like thick puffy yarn) and then used Kool Aid to dye them and the yarn. Thursday we made simple cardboard looms and started weaving a mini shawl or rug. Friday, well, Friday was extra fun.

Sherman and B. Willard got to come to school.

B. Willard always just rolls with the punches. Anywhere, anything, anytime. Sherman, on the other hand, was a bit "b-willard"... until the ba-ba rolled out. Food solves all worries.

I had a talented group of kids. It was fun to watch each create their project(s). Good uses of color, texture, technique. I didn't assign any homework, but several wanted to take their spindles and looms home at night to work and came back each day with extra yarn and even finished "rugs". Fun!

On the last day one of the kids drew a (chaotic surprisingly realistic) picture of our farm for me. On the first day I had run a slide show of farm pictures while we were washing and this child remembered every animal...and even added some more. Cats and mice in the barn, check. Sheep and horses, check. Frogs, fish and turtles in the pond, check. Bees, check. Chickens, check. That sun looks right on, yelling at me, eh? ;-). And while we probably don't need any elephants, I can see how a good robot might really help out.

It was a fun week and a really neat experience and I'll probably do another session. If anyone is interested in teaching a workshop in their community, I would be happy to write up my "lesson plan".

Each one, teach one!


Dreaming said...

The kids are so lucky! What an incredible project. They will remember this for the rest of their lives!

Alice said...

The weavings of the children look great and the yarn colors are nice and bright. They were apparently creative with a Sharpie as well! ;-) Great job, Sara!

flowerweaver said...

Yes, that is a pretty good rendition of the farm!

Lori Skoog said...

I have taught weaving to many children and adults! What fun...wish I had had yarn from your sheep! Excellent! Loved the drawing too.

Christine said...

Awesome! I'll bet that was a blast. Shoot, I'd sign up for the class myself.

CathyD. said...

What fun!! Sounds like you did a great job. Where do we sign up for the next class?

tonya said...

What a fun experience for the kids! So nice of you to share your knowledge and talent. (and sheep babies!) I bet they really loved seeing the lambs!

Michelle said...

Glad to hear it turned out so well! You're a great teacher; how could it not?

DayPhoto said...

What a great thing you have done. I agree with Dreaming! Those children will remember this for the rest of thier lives.


Anonymous said...

You are amazing :) I would love to talk to you about your lesson plan. I have been approached a couple times to do workshops for kids. I am so impressed with what you were able to teach them in a week!!! Great job!

Michelle said...

Okay, Sara, I'm going to take you up on your offer of writing up your lesson plan! Please?

I'm not sure I'll have a room suitable for letting the kids each wash their own chunk of fleece; most of the classrooms just have one small sink. I thought we could wash one chunk for them to see the process, dye and then practice hand-carding; I have some mixed longwool roving that they can use for spinning that we may also dye. Do you have directions for making CD spindles?


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