Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chess Board Production (part four)

Here are two bases, one walnut and one zebra wood. The chess boards are not yet attached since I am still considering how well the wood in the bases match the chess boards. I have also made some birch bases. There will be five total chess boards. The drawers need to be built, a bottom designed and some joints and trim inserted into the base for decorative purposes.

Mr. Wiemers

Monday, November 23, 2009

. . . Just Work Hard

Teaching a class of students requires the ability to communicate and convey thoughts, ideas and information. But, if you have ever had a class succeed you will look back and realize that it also took a lot of work, sometimes a lot of physical effort, to get the job done. Yes, education involves innovative ideas, techniques and methodology (whatever that is?), but you will never escape the physical work and sheer time it takes to teach a class. In the end, after all the strategies and interventions, a good teacher will still have to go into the classroom alone and just work hard.

Mr. Wiemers

Students Can Use Cell Phones in Class to Respond

Teachers can create questions or polls on this site for the students to respond to by sending a text message with their response. The results instantly appear on the computer screen.


Mr. Wiemers

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chess Board Production (part three)

The birch and walnut chess board trimmed on the outside with Purple Heart which surrounds the Paduak and Yellow Heart. This gives the kids an inside look at the rain forest (literally, an inside look) and a different perspective. More of an industrial view than environmental view. As always, both are important and must be maintained. There is $$$ Green, and then, there is the other green. The two greens are never really separated. Both greens need each other to be the green they want to be. Try being green with the Green. Economically weak countries are always over run by an aggressor. Or, as many cultures in the past have found out, try being Green with out considering the green. These cultures have become extinct. Well, I wasn't planning on talking about "green," but instead wanted to point out the beautiful colors of the woods from around the globe. So, what about globalism?

Mr. Wiemers

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Triangulation of Education in Cartoon Form

Some people would say the burden of education is on the teacher.
Others say the burden of learning is on the student.
Obviously, both the teacher and the student must put forth effort.

But, in this debate that surfaces every few years with new lingo and a new list of experts, we often forget that in the dynamics of learning there are three corners of triangular education. In one of these corners is the potential to learn. Some great teachers are great simply because they have found the right audience.

Mr. Wiemers

Triangulation Educational Model

I am currently in the process of identifying and structuring the triangulation model of education. Key words and concepts are:

1. Teach (done by teacher)
2. Learn (done by student)
3. Potential (set by limits of realty)

(I will call it the TLP Triangulation Education Model. It can be referred to as TLP-TEM in professional journals. Now, if I can just find that perfect balance of complicating the obvious and over emphasizing the tangents then TLP-TEM might just sweep through the educational world. Wait, I need to get a job at a university and find some research money . . .)

Here is my article:

Any learning environment has unexplored growth potential that is never fully activated, but at the same time it is confined by the student's shadowy limitations set by reality. The three corners of the learning triangle are all powerful contributors to the extent of the educational process. They are:
  • teacher and the instructional process,
  • the student and their freewill (desire, motivation, interest, etc.), and
  • the natural biological and psychological ability of the student.
To ignore this triangular alignment (or, one of it's corners) is to entertain a vain educational view that strains the other corners beyond the point of logical expectations. For examples:
  1. To ignore the importance of the instructional quality will eventually flatten out the student's corner and demand the student do the illogical and teach themselves.
  2. To ignore the importance of the student's responsibility will eventually bring pressure on the teacher's corner which burdens it with an endless series of demands, expectations, strategies and staff inservices that can never replace the student's need to care about their own education.
  3. To ignore the natural ability of the student means the student and teacher will be thrust into an imaginary world that in theory (and, before qualifying statements are unleashed) claims that all students can learn everything.
In the correctly balanced model all three corners must be acknowledged and responsibility assigned and expected. An equilateral triangle must be maintained. Foolish educational theories laced with post-modern values will not only be frustrating for the student, the teacher, the school and the community, but they will prove to be educationally fatal.

Each of the corners has ability to improve its contribution to the educational process. Teacher's can always improve. Always. They can find new strategies, become more acquainted with their subject matter, use different mediums to communicate, bring alongside themselves specialist in techniques or knowledge, ect. Students can find motivation or desire by realizing the importance of education, the satisfaction of education, or simply, the expectation of education. Although, potential, in this theory is a set variable, the opportunity of expansion (therapy, interaction, etc.) up to that set variable from the current available potential is possible.

Mr. Wiemers

Rejected Delivery: Not Everyone Gets an A+ in Shop

We have been receiving lumber (Appalachian Oak #1 Common surfaced to 25/64 straight line ripped one side) for nine years. We receive about 2,000 board feet each year and have turned it into over 1,000 tables among many other projects. Today a delivery of 700 board feet came and the students started to carry it in like students have done for years. And I, like always, began to stack the wood and evaluate the quality of my purchase. The first two boards were less than acceptable, but there is a truck load more being carried in. But, by the fifth and sixth boards I began to wonder about the entire load. I had the students stop bringing in the lumber and went to talk to the driver. After looking through a good part of the load on the truck I finally did what I had threatened to do for years. I sent the entire load of oak back as unacceptable and called my rep at the company. I apologized but the rep agreed we had been getting the same order for nine years and this load was not the quality that we needed.

It was a real life experience for the students to see their teacher reject the work of a delivery man and the lumber company. I guess after all is said and done, not everyone gets an A+ in shop.

Mr. Wiemers

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chess Board Production (part two)

The walnut/birch chess board with initial trim of Yellow Heart from Brazil and Paduak from West Africa.

The chess board clamping in clamps attaching the Paduak wood trim.

Mr. Wiemers

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chess Board Production

Two inch strips of walnut and birch.

Glue together.

Cut across grain. Flip every other one over.

Glue and clamp to make the chess board.

Chess pieces turned on a CNC lathe in the shop.

Trimming the chess board with 18" strips of Yellow Heart wood from Brazil

Cutting strips of Paduak from West Africa to trim the chess board

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mr. Wiemers

Monday, October 19, 2009

Madison Wins State CC Championship

Mr. Wiemers

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ten Tips for Writing a Blog

These tips taken from Mr. McClung's post at this link. I found this very useful for a variety of reasons. Mr. McClung is doing this as a class project. I will use this for my own students who are blogging, but also personally and at school.

1. Make your opinion known
People like blogs, they like blogs because they are written by people and not corporations. People want to know what people think, crazy as it sounds they want to know what you think. Tell them exactly what you think using the least amount of words possible.

2. Link like crazy.
Support your post with links to other web pages that are contextual to your post.

3. Write Less
Give the maximum amount of information with the least amount of words. Time is finite and people are infinitely busy. Blast your knowledge into the reader at the speed of sound.

4. 250 is enough
A long post is easier to forget and harder to get into. A short post is the opposite.

5. Make Headlines snappy
Contain your whole argument in your headline. Check out National newspapers to see how they do it.

6. Include bullet point lists
We all love lists, it structures the info in an easily digestible format.

7. Make your posts easy to scan
Every few paragraphs insert a sub heading. Make sentences and headlines short and to the point.

8. Be consistent with your style
People like to know what to expect, once you have settled on a style for your audience stick to it.

9. Litter the post with Keywords.
Think about what keywords people would use to search for your post and include them in the body text and headers. make sure the keyword placement is natural and does not seem out of place.

10. Edit your post
Good writing is in the editing. Before you hit the submit button, re-read your post and cut out the stuff that you don’t need.

Mr. Wiemers

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mr. Wiemers' Mad BB Skills

Mr. Wiemers

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Luke's Half-Pipe

When Luke came into the shop as a sixth grader he asked several times if he could ever build a small half-pipe for his tech-decks. Today Luke and I put one together quick for him before his seventh grade year comes to a close this week.

Mr. Wiemers

7th Grade Shop Video

These are some of the twenty modules we have set up for the seventh graders. In this video you will see them working and producing projects in the DCG MS shop.

Mr. Wiemers

Monday, October 12, 2009

First Quarter of Seventh Grade Shop

During the first quarter the seventh grade middle school students had the opportunity to work on twenty various modules, or stations, in the middle school shop. Mr. Wiemers has set up these three-day modules over the last few years. Each module includes the production of a project and involves skills that have connections to a career field. The modules include assembly of a lawn mower engine, assembly of an electric motor, project design and cutting on a CNC mill, forming acrylic plastic, residential wiring, design and production of a wooden race car, bending and riveting metal to form a hook, soldering copper pipe, cutting and threading galvanized pipe, soldering components on a functioning circuit board, plastic injection molding, vacuum forming plastic, assembly of a small model residential wall, house design with CAD, video production and upload, podcast production and upload, design and cut an acrylic chess piece with CNC lathe, measuring with a variety of instruments, writing and uploading a blog and small wooden projects. These areas of introduction to technology and industry are followed up in the high school shop program. Each year the class size grows and more projects, modules and opportunities are added. The students develop skills that can be incorporated into other class projects and have an opportunity to apply their reading, writing and math skills in a shop environment. Students are also being introduced to principles of science and math that will be developed in other classes.

We are putting together a video of these modules and will post it later.

Mr. Wiemers

Friday, October 9, 2009

"Pop-the-Balloon-on-the-Pin-in-the-Hat" Game

Yesterday in Advisory we played the pop the balloon game. It was fun, it built teamwork, and we made a lot of noise. The balloon is popped on a straight pin taped onto the bill of a baseball hat. Watch and enjoy this video:

Mr. Wiemers

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Links to 1st Qt. 7th Grade Shop

Here are some links to some of the seventh grader's videos, blogs and podcasts from the first quarter. Some of these links provide an insight into the 20 seventh grade modules that we have set up for them.

Seventh Grade Student Videos processed and uploaded to schooltube from the first quarter:

Seventh Grade Student Blogs from the first quarter:

Seventh Grade Student Podcasts from the first quarter:

Here are some videos that I have posted on schooltube:

Mrs. Phillips' Principal Blog "Life in the Middle":

Mr. Wiemers

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Leader

Here is a poem written this weekend by my 16 year old son concerning the road to becoming a leader:
A Leader

There are life lessons
that you really need.
Things you must know
in order to lead.

Learn to listen
so that others will listen to you.

Learn to speak
so that others might speak to you.

Learn to love
so that someone might love you.

Learn to die
so others will die along side you.

Learn to forgive
so others will forgive you.

Learn to please
so others will try to please you.

Learn to follow
so boys will follow you.

Learn to be teachable
so you will be able to teach.

Learn to laugh
so people will laugh with you.

Learn to work
so they will work for you.

Learn to live
so people can live with you.

You can't show what you can't do.
You can't teach what you don't know.
So learn to learn
so these men can learn from you.

- Zac Wiemers, Junior, age 16
Mr. Wiemers

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Education Week"

Occasionally I will read something in "Education Week" that strikes a harmonic cord with me philosophically. This week (August 26, 2009) Daniel Wolff made some comments and included some quotes that quickened the spirit of education for me in his article "The President's Laugh Line." While addressing the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce the President suggested that we "rethink the school day to incorporate more time." Wolff goes on to quote or summarize comments by Franklin, Lincoln, Ford, and Kennedy to redirect the conversation from "longer school days" to "better use of schools." Wolff writes:
Ben Franklin, writing as Poor Richard, declared: 'A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.' His Autobiography basically argued that he had become a great American, scientist, and political thinker by spending less time in school, not more.

Abraham Lincoln read Franklin, and when he ran for office made sure to portray himself as a largely uneducated backwoodsman. Henry Ford believed too much schooling could ruin a mind. And John F. Kennedy, for all his presidential rhetoric about the importance of education, thought his time in prep schools and then Harvard mostly silly: The socializing was fun, the learning of little to no consequence."
Wolff then comments what would be lost if our students were forced to spend longer days in school: time with parents working two jobs, responsibility and money from after school jobs, time spent supervising siblings, relaxation, time to do homework. I could add many things more that would be lost with a longer school day. I would suggest reducing the things we try to cram into a school day before we make the school day longer. But, that was not the point of this article.

Wolff ends with suggesting a more flexible, alternative solution. A school building, he says, is a major community resource with computers, cafeterias, libraries and sport facilities. "Why not institute a program that transforms our public schools into community centers?" They could be a place for students to do their evening research and homework. I would ask, why are school libraries and school computer labs shut down after school? Why aren't night classes added to assist students who need more help. I say we should reduce the socialistic load placed on schools during the day, restore the vision of education and, instead of lengthening the school day, simply extend the hours the school is opened and equip with man power to teach and assist in the learning process. Men like Franklin, Ford, Lincoln and Kennedy realized that school does not have a monopoly on education. If schools continue to think they have a monopoly on education and that they control the educational process they will continue to deteriorate as an educational institution.

Mr. Wiemers

New Blog for 7th Grade Students

Check out our second addition of the week to the seventh grade shop modules: the Seventh Grade Student Shop Blog. Visit and bookmark this site at


Mr. Wiemers

Friday, August 28, 2009

i-Movie and Schooltube Video Demonstration

The last couple of days we have been setting up and demonstrating how to take video, process video and upload video. This is one of our new seventh grade modules. Our shop program continues to expand and the school continues to grow. Below is one of the videos we made, edited and uploaded during second period today. There are also a few photos the students took.

Mr. Wiemers

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Construction Module

Each seventh grader will be given the pieces for a small residential wall (plates, studs, headers, jack studs, cripple studs and a sill). They will then lay out and assemble this wall using small wire nails. It is a three day project and is included in our 18 station module class set. Today I introduced and demonstrated this module. The students gain insight that can lead to involvement in a high school class or in a career. If nothing else students have an opportunity to see what is behind the sheetrock in their walls at home and understand why sometimes the nail holds in the wall and why other times it does not.

Mr. Wiemers

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Copper and Galvanized Pipe

Today we are introducing the process of attaching fittings to copper tubing and galvanized pipe. We solder copper fittings and then cut the copper tube. The galvanized pipe is threaded for a fitting and then cut with a pipe cutters. We finish the period introducing the students to Garage Band on the computer and prepare them for creating their own podcast. The podcast will be made available online and can be downloaded to their ipods.

Mr. Wiemers

Monday, August 24, 2009

Acrylic Frame, Chess Piece, Electonics

We introduced three more modules to the seventh graders on Friday and Monday:
  1. Acrylic Frame - Prepare and bend acrylic plastic into a frame.
  2. CNC Lathe - Design, set up and cut a Chess Pieces
  3. Electronics - Soldier Components into circuit board.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Korner Kone for Cross Country!

Each year the cross country team takes advantage of the Koner Kone ice cream shop. This year we had 26 runners eat 26 cones.

Mr. Wiemers

Advisory in the Afternoon

I set up a back drop for an afternoon talk show for an advisory activity designed to help the students get to know each other. I had the "stage" set up when they walked in the door. The students quickly filled out an index card with their first name and some things they liked or liked to do. I selected Ann to host the show and read the cards to her as the students were forming a line to appear on stage. Then I gave Ann the cards (even Letterman has cards, plus cue cards. Ann did not have cue cards. We didn't take time to make any.) I quickly reviewed the process of what we were about to do showing the students how to enter and exit the stage and telling them they each had about 30-45 seconds of air time. We have 16 students in our advisory, which means Ann had 15 guests to interview. We did this in one take, straight through with out shutting off the camera. I only cut out about 45 seconds of the film to make it short enough for SchoolTube. We finished our 25 minute advisory period with about 4 extra minutes to watch part of the video with the video camera.

Mr. Wiemers

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day Two: CNC Mill

Today we have seven classes of seventh graders learning how to use the CNC mill. We design a pattern, logo or lettering on the computer to be transferred to the mill. The mill then cuts the image into the plastic. Each of the 150+ seventh graders will get a chance to design and cut their own project. Here are some action photos from second period today.