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Archive for November 24th, 2008

A Great Day for Kids and Dogs

Monday, November 24th, 2008

The kids across the street were contemplating a snowman today. The snow sticks well but it is not really deep. It’s just above freezing, and this morning the snow came down so quickly you could barely see.

When I came home, the main streets were fine and so was the one in front of our house. However, the side street that our driveway faces, is only 2 blocks long and does not get any traffic or attention. I slid right past the driveway and had to back up to get in properly! Whoops.

It’s not a good day for postal mail carriers (in my area they walk from house to house) or bicycle commuters. The kids maybe make up for that a bit. They are so pleased!


3rd Graders and Knitting

Monday, November 24th, 2008

3rdgraderprojectwithbow.jpgI am working with a 3rd grade teacher in East Lansing’s Red Cedar School (I love that she has a significantly international class, being near MSU family housing). I am slowly working through all her kids, an hour at a time twice a week, until they all get to learn knitting from me.

I’m fortunate that I have a friend who knits who is also going to this school with me. She helps the kids with their “hiccups” while I teach new kids. If I were alone, the new kids would have to wait a longer time before seeing me.

A 3rd grader typically learns knitting one-on-one. They don’t watch and then copy when it comes to fine motor skills. I sit them in a chair, I stand behind them, I put my hands on their hands and we knit together while saying a poem which reminds them of the order of movements. Then I keep saying the poem, let go of their hands, point while they move, then I stop pointing and ask them to say the poem alone.

3rdgraderprojectblueboy.jpgAt that point, I start with another child and they go practice alone. Some kids go on well, and some forget and we start over.

But this age is totally clear about the magic of taking two “sticks” and making fabric with “string.” They love it, they are excited to make very imperfect pieces with me.

I tried a new project with this group. I gave them nine stitches and they knit for a while, then taught them to decrease at the beginning of each row until they had a sort of “house” shape. Then we sew up the edges and they have a small pouch of sorts. their needles are made of dowels which are relatively large in comparison to the yarn, so the pouches are full of holes and not good for much more than maybe a penny. They don’t mind, they just like finishing things.

Here are the first two photos I have of finished projects. One little girl, whose mother knits at home, brought a bow to sew on her project. It looks so nice!

I think I still have 5 kids left to teach, I will hope to get 3 more on Monday. We lose a day together because of Thanksgiving, so some will have to wait until the following week.

I’m sad about that, but what can I do? There is one of me, and they each need one-on-one time, so it will take a while. The teacher and my friend are able to help the kids once they get going. They will keep it running after I am out of the picture.

For the record, just as I was losing faith that I would ever get all the kids knitting, I came into the room and a little boy in the back (who has a hard time staying focused, it seems) saw me come in and exclaimed, “Knitting!”

Then when I was getting ready to go, the kids were in the hallway putting on their coats for recess. And what did I hear, but multiple voices jubilantly reciting the knitting poem out in the hallway!

UP through the Front Door,
Dance AROUND the back,
DOWN through the window,
And OFF Jumps Jack!