Teaching Handwork/Woodwork Online

A COVID-19 E-learning Response Lesson Plan

Today, when I am not washing my hands, I’ll be bowing to children (instead of shaking hands at the door) and thinking of lessons that I can teach online should our school determine that will be needed. I know that some Waldorf schools have already closed and perhaps many more will be added to that list.

My Personal COVID-19 Handwork/Woodwork Response Plan:

  1. Wash my hands a lot. Bow rather than shake hands at the door. Be sure children use wax to thread needles rather than spit.
  2. Bring a “Spring Cleaning” spirit to the classroom. Have each class contribute to cleaning our room. Clean out handwork bags so that they can go home if needed. Wash chairs. Wash walls. Disinfect the scissors.
  3. Determine which classes can just take home already started projects on which to work. Put extra supplies (like an additional ball of wool) in those bags as I teach students this week so they are ready to go home quickly.
  4. Consider a two to three week block that can be taught online for each class/grade that cannot take existing projects home.
  5. Make a list of what materials to send home with children by grade and check supply cabinets. (To Do: Order more crochet hooks.)
  6. Consider what reference material might be helpful. I am considering a knot tying block for fourth grade and some colored knot guides might be helpful for students to have at home.
  7. Consult budget for materials I might send home but would not want back. For instance, a modeling block means that I might send home polymer clay and I would not want that brought back to school.
  8. Prepare a bag of take-home materials for each classroom.
  9. Bring home my school issued laptop and reference books I would want at home for each lesson. Bring home demonstration materials for each lesson. See if my classroom document camera can be linked to my camera for easy at-home demonstrations.
  10. Listen carefully at our school training session this week around Google Classroom and other online learning and communicating platforms.
  11. Find stories to read this week about neighbors helping neighbors and continue to talk about how we help others by taking good care of ourselves.
  12. Find stories to read this week about “looking for the helpers” when we hear troublesome news, like Mr. Rogers.
  13. Keep a calm and positive attitude. This will be an adventure and I am going to learn a lot about teaching!

Let’s help each other out! Post your own lesson plan ideas, steps you are taking in your classroom to keep people healthy and other resources you think would be helpful to your fellow handwork and woodwork teachers.

We are teachers and so we teach.

An Update

So now that a few days have passed I’ve made some tentative plans. I decided to focus my lessons on hands-on projects that use supplies most (if not all) families would have at home and could be done by children of all ages. I also wanted to focus on motor development ideas.

Elementary On-line Handwork

Block One: String Games, delivered electronically with video support, history lesson included which describes the worldwide collection of these games. We will host a “String Off” when students return.

Block Two: Soap Carving, delivered electronically with video support, invite children to submit photos to inspire others. We will host an art show when students return.

Block Three: Streamed Puppet and Storytelling Based on the Twelve Professions (with an emphasis on Fiber and Woodworking Professions)

Middle School On-Line Handwork

I just have 8th grade handwork this quarter and I’ll ask them to do the fabric design and historical research for Batik Stoles for graduation. There is a UNESCO video that goes with this unit so that is easy to deliver online. When they return we will wax, indigo dye and then sew them on machines.

Middle School On-Line Woodwork

6th and 7th will be challenged with a whittling project. I may use this video on how to carve an owl as a start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ9z5lc3gnw

8th will take home their self-directed projects to continue working on them.

If I need more, I’d also like to do units on growth mindset using the book and video “The first 20 hours to learn anything.” I often use this after spring break anyway as I have about 20 hours left with students at that time of year. I could pair that with the idea of students using this unexpected time to complete “passion projects” with a show and tell when they return to school.

Share your ideas in comments right now.

Our community could use your ideas! Share yours in the comments and include links if there are resources you want to make available to others. Share, then try this blog post next: Sharing Ideas for Teaching Practical Arts from Zoom Call.

A Verse for Our Time

We must eradicate from the soul

All fear and terror of what comes towards man out of the future.

We must acquire serenity

In all feeling and sensations about the future.

We must look forward with absolute equanimity

To everything that may come.

And we must think only that whatever comes

Is given to us by a world-directive full of wisdom.

It is part of what we must learn in this age,

namely, to live out of pure trust,

Without any security in existence.

Trust in the ever present help

Of the spiritual world.

Truly, nothing else will do.

If our courage is not to tail us.

And let us seek the awakening from within ourselves

Every morning and every evening.

Rudolph Steiner

3 thoughts on “Teaching Handwork/Woodwork Online

  1. From Cindy:

    This is a most helpful resource. We, in Michigan, are closed for at least four weeks. I will send ideas soon.

    Thank you.

  2. Many of our students need packets sent home. This is challenging . Will let you know how it is working.

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