Monday, December 20, 2010

Wooden Tops are Finished

Today we finished our wooden tops that we made on the wood lathe during Advisory. Each project included a top, a handle and a pull with a leather string attached to it. Here are some photos:

Mr. Wiemers

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Residential Construction

Seventh grade shop construction project:
Mr. Wiemers

Don't Feed the Teacher!

First period seventh grade students thought that feeding Mr. Wiemers sour candy would be a good idea and make a great video. This is the video they produced promoting Zots sour candy:

Mr. Wiemers

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tops, Cutting Boards and Cribbage Gifts

Each of the 16 advisory students made a wooden top with a handle, a cutting board and a cribbage board to take home as gifts.

Mr. Wiemers

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Module #22 and the Carnival Model

We have 21 different modules for the seventh graders to work through in nine weeks (45 days). The classroom is set up in what I refer to as the Carnival Model. This style of teaching is referred to as the Carnival Model because the students in the classroom look like kids at a carnival or kids in the midway of a county fair. All the modules include activities and are self-directed. The students choose which module they want to do. They follow the directions and finish the assigned project. When they are finished they rush off to find another open module to work on. It takes about 3 days to complete each module. So, mathematically it will take the students 63 days to correctly finish the modules, which means they will never actually finish every one of the modules.

Of course, about this time each quarter we begin to loose momentum in the Carnival Model. The seventh graders have done what they personally consider the "fun" modules. They begin to ask if they can do some of the "fun" modules a second time. They also begin to tell me they have finished "all" of the modules. Some students begin to move through 2-3 modules a single day, but really don't produce any working or successful projects. This means they have lost focus. The students have actually bought into a corrupted concept of the Carnival Model and begin to believe school is suppose to be "fun" and nothing more.
To refocus the students I have created what is known as "Module 22." When a student says they have finished all the "fun" modules I take them to Module 22. At Module 22 the student will read the chapters in an old industrial tech book and answer the questions found at the end of each chapter on a sheet of paper. With out exception each student that is introduced to Module 22 quickly remembers several modules that they have not finished. No one ever really does Module 22. Module 22 is designed to reactivate the Carnival Model describe above.

(The 21 modules used in the Carnival Model for the DCG MS shop can be seen HERE.)

Mr. Wiemers

Monday, November 22, 2010

Anna's Acrylic Chess Set

Anna made a complete set of black and white chess pieces on the CNC lathe in the DCG Middle School shop.

Mr. Wiemers

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Advisory: Play-Doh Charades

Two advisory classes combined for some competition in Play-Doh Charades. Students were divided into groups of four and one of them was chosen to be the molder. All the molders met the teacher who showed them a card with a description of what the molders would be quickly creating in their play-doh. Some of the items were a bicycle, palm tree, umbrella, tractor, birthday cake, etc. The first group to shout out the name of the item was the winner. This activity included competition, team building, group work, communication through art, visualization, and, the ultimate goal, fun.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Ultimate Frisbee Highlight Film

New favorite ultimate Frisbee highlight film. Competition day tomorrow in advisory - the game of Ultimate is on for tomorrow:

Mr. Wiemers

Monday, October 18, 2010

Teaching Ultimate Frisbee in Advisory!!

Here are some promotional videos:

Mr. Wiemers

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saying "Good-bye" and "Good Job"

I was cleaning up the polyurethane and brushes at the end of the last class of the day as the bell rang to end class. A student came up to me as the bell rang and said, "Good-bye, Mr. Wiemers." This is not unusual since this has happened every day for two years. This same student never leaves my class with out making eye contact with me and saying to me directly, "Good-bye, Mr. Wiemers." Every time I respond, but I never act like I was expecting it. I always try to respond with no noticeable "tone" in my voice, other than to give the impression I was glad the student was addressing me and I was having a good day.

Today, for some reason, I recalled doing something similar when I was in elementary school and junior high. Every year on the morning of the last day of school my mom would tell me,
"Now, before you come home tell your teacher you had a good year and that you thought they were a great teacher."
Every year I did. It wasn't easy. In fact, I would almost get sick to my stomach. I would spend the last day of school worried about that moment at the end of the day (the last day of the school year) when I would have to move against the stream of kids running home for the summer. I would have to go against the current and walk back into the class room, walk up the the teacher, look them in the eye and initiate a conversation. The conversation would be focused on my evaluation of the teacher. I was going to have to compliment my teacher. This time the student would not ask a question, nor ask for help. I had done that all year long. In this case the subordinate would address their superior by paying them a compliment. Even a positive compliment indicated that the inferior student had made an evaluation of the teacher and had come to a decision:
"You were a good teacher and I had a great year. Thank you."
This was so hard to do. In the early years my voice was timid and shook with fear. But, I also remember that the teacher's face lit up every time. They seemed to actually take my compliment seriously. It was as if my words, my opinion, my judgment was heard and had left a mark. My words seemed to have made a difference.

After the last day of school I would always have to walk home alone since by the time I got my nerve up to actually enter the room, speak with the teacher and leave, the other students were long gone. I still remember the feeling, the emotional high, as I walked home. I did not understand everything, but I knew I, a mere student, had made an impact on my teacher. The teacher felt good about themselves because I said something to them about themselves. This was indeed strange territory for a young student to be treading on. It was like drinking from a cup in another dimension or speaking into a parallel universe.

Eventually my voice did not quiver and I knew, before I spoke, I was about to say something that would leave a lasting impression.

Mr. Wiemers

Friday, October 8, 2010

Eighth Grade Adventures in Staining

Mr. Wiemers

Ugg Boots

Today's blog deals with my keen sense for fall fashion. This week the temperatures were slightly cool, but still in the 70's. These temperatures sent a fashion signal through out our middle school causing a large number of 8th grade girls to simultaneously break out their Ugg boots on Tuesday this week. I noticed the first pair of Uggs in the shop during first period. More Uggs appeared in second period and by third period I knew the 8th grade girls had begun a mass movement into their winter apparel which is now being worn in early fall.

After having said all this, I do want to note that by Wednesday the Ugg season seemed to have gone into a stall. From my perspective, as somewhat of a fashion expert, this retreat from the wearing of Uggs in early fall may have been caused by the uncomfortable over heating of the feet by the time the students were dismissed from school into the warm fall afternoon. I anticipate a second wave of Ugg appearances will occur when the first cloudy sky produces a snow flake.

Mr. Wiemers

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Epidemic of Spilled Stain

We have built and stained 100-160 mission style oak tables with eighth graders every year for 10 years. During the first nine years we spilled 2 cans of stain, total. This year (or, yesterday and today) we have spilled 3. Three cans in less than two days, compared to 2 cans in nine years. So, in 10 years we have spilled 5 cans of stain. 3 of those 5 were spilled during the last 24 hours!! Why? How can this happen? It is a continuous focus of my instruction that is accompanied with advice concerning how to avoid this huge mess, this huge waste of time and the destruction of the clothing of the students near ground-zero. Notable changes that may have led to this epidemic could be:
  1. the character of this 8th grade class??
  2. the scheduling of this class earlier in the year (1st quarter) instead of later in the year when the students are older???
  3. larger class size which crowds the tiny shop????
  4. the presence of 130 other end tables crowded in the shop to dry instead of being in the hallway?????
  5. the fact that I purchased the stain for the students this year instead of having them pick out their own stain with their parents assistance and their own money??????
  6. the failure of the school district to cover this issue during a teacher inservice???????
  7. my failure to write "don't spill the stain" as a learning target or as an ICDP????????
  8. the Tea party movement or the Obama administration?????????
  9. my fear of spilled stain and my abnormal focus on not spilling stain which draws unnecessary student attention to open cans of stain??????????
  10. stuff like this is what it is...clean it up and get another can of stain!

Mr. Wiemers

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Antler Drawer Pulls

A couple of eighth graders cut up an antler to create their drawer handle on the mission style oak table.

Mr. Wiemers

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Advisory Group Photos Jumping

Mr. Wiemers

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

2010-11 Advisory

Mr. Wiemers

Friday, April 23, 2010

DCG MS Track Meet

Mr. Wiemers

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mikala's Lathe Project

Mikala made a pop bottle out of walnut and birch in sixth grade shop class today.
Mr. Wiemers

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wooden Truck Project

This will be our advisory project for the next six weeks. It will be a challenge, but it will keep the 8th graders occupied for their final days in our middle school. If all goes well each of the 16 students will gain some experience and they will each get to take home a pretty cool looking antique truck made from walnut, oak and birch wood. We may even see it displayed at their graduation party in about four years! (Click photo for a larger image. We will be using the larger image to see the details as we build this 16 inch long truck.)

Mr. Wiemers