Saturday, March 22, 2008

Foundations

So here's something that baffles me.

The students in our school get to choose new electives every quarter. During each 9 week quarter, there are three three-week sessions during which selected students are pulled from their electives in order to receive more individualized instruction from their core teachers in subjects they need help in. Great system. It works very well for the students who need extra help.

Because of the way our system is set up, I can have students actually attending knitting class only three weeks out of a nine week quarter. The other extreme is that students may return for more than one quarter and stay with me the whole time. Sometimes they're with me for consecutive quarters and sometimes they're gone for nine weeks (or three or six) and then return to me.

Obviously there are a variety of lengths of time that students can be in my knitting class, however, time in the class hasn't been the key variable in performance. Some just catch on quickly, while others don't.

I've been trying to observe this learning process in order to improve my own teaching abilities. In my observations, the one occurance that baffles me the most is when I have a student (and there have been more than one) who has a very difficult time with knitting. He or she tries daily for the 3-9 weeks that they are with me, but for some reason, the finished product is filled with holes, extra stitches, split stitches, etc. It just doesn't happen for them. Then they leave me for awhile. Then they come back. (Here's the baffling part.) When they return, they pick up their sticks and start knitting at a MUCH higher level than when they left. It's like they've been knitting and practicing the whole nine weeks they've been gone! But of course they haven't. They have no idea why they can knit soooooo much better now than when I last saw them in my class. It's a bit of a phenomenon for me. It has really interested me in the whole learning process. Perhaps we need foundations. Then a break. Then return.

Here are some examples of some knitting from these students. You'll see a variety of abilities here, but for me each one has demonstrated amazing leaps in his or her abilities.






Sorry...no "before" pictures. That might have been embarrasing at the time. Hindsight is always clearer.

3 comments:

Me said...

The only knitting class I've ever heard of before was through libraries and community centers. This one through an actual school is so cool! I love the idea!!!
~ www.freewebs.com/angelasw ~

Anonymous said...

I don't think it would be mean if it demonstrates the process these students go through, it is a form of documentation that shows progress over time!

Anonymous said...

Mrs.Denney
I just wanted to tell you that my knitting got 3 blue ribbons in the fair!I am very proud of myself! Thanks for teaching me everything I know about knitting!You're the BEST (and only) knitting techer I've ever had! Yay!
Sincerely,
the student that knitted the blue and green socks!( I can't put my name)!