"May I have another piece of wood, Miss Dyer?" I was asked this question many times last week. A carpenter friend of mine dropped off two buckets of scrap wood and such for me to use as I pleased.
I put it in the classroom. One of the students who first noticed the materials asked me, "What is that wood for?"
"I don't know because no one one has made anything yet," I answered.
"Can I make something with it?" the child asked.
"Absolutely!" I replied.
"How many pieces of wood can we use?" This question came from a second student who was standing next to a third.
"Three pieces. You each may use three pieces of wood," I answered. I have never been much of a one-piece-each kinda of teacher. I just don't think the notion of getting one shot, making one try - succeed or fail - is a very Montessorian practice.
Before long the classroom looked like a make-shift, woodworking shop.
I took many photos of the work being done and yet I missed so much. One of the projects that was done by many students was name plaques for their rooms. I must have tucked 4 or 5 of these into various school bags.
Two of the boys made rulers and then measured several students before taking them home.
One student made a life-sized painting of herself.
Some painted abstract images.
Others composed beach scenes.
Zoe using her twirling-brush-to-make-waves technique, above. Kai painted a lovely Minimalist beach scene, below.
Dylan painted tubing to use with his Legos.
My friend dropped off another bucket last night. He was generous enough to sand all of the pieces of wood so that the children wouldn't get splinters. When I thanked him he expressed his own gratitude. He said he never imagined children so young would enjoy making things with what he called his scrap. He said it inspired him to do woodworking with his grandchildren. It's all good!!!