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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Residential Wiring

Today I introduced residential wiring to the seventh grade. They will be doing a wiring module during their 9 weeks in the shop.