Saturday, July 4, 2009

Oh say can you see?

I like hand crafts. I grew up cross-stitching and knitting more than playing with the toys of the day. I was lucky to have teachers who taught me how to make wall-paper books, Christmas ornaments out of foam balls, and pencil holders out of tin cans.

So I like incorporating crafts into my classroom too. Even if I end up teaching older students, I'll probably make them do some sort of crafty project at least once a year. There is nothing like the development of fine motor skills and a sense of well designed aesthetics with hand crafts.

But not all crafts are created equal. For example, this July 4th gel candle is nice. It's elegant, and useful, and you can gift it to people other than your mother. However, it has a lot of waiting time in between each step. Which is not so good when teaching 30 nine-year-olds how to make it. I also have a suspicion that the gel needed for the candle is quite expensive. It's still a nice craft; just probably not for a public school classroom.

From the same website, this July 4th flag coaster is a better choice. I would actually streamline the process by marking the places of where to stitch for each color. I actually made a similar product in 6th grade. Yarn is cheap. The plastic grid stitch thing comes in large sheets that I can cut myself. The end product is just as useful, if not more so than the gel candle. You can just give the directions and have the students go for it, with a little coaching on the side, without any dead time. Quick finishers can work on the "What To Do When You Are Done" list. This thing can actually go on the list. If the students end up being able to make really nice coasters, you can sell it as a fundraiser. Multi-purposing at its best.

Photos from: Crafts for All Seasons

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