Thursday, December 21, 2006

To really learn something, teach it

Recently, while doing my short unit on teenage depression in the classrooms, my students had the opportunity to see me knitting. While they watched the video portion of the lessons, I knitted. Many of them expressed an interest in learning to knit, especially boys. We're talking seventh grade boys here. You know, creatures that don't usually want to stand out from the crowd or go out on a limb, or do anything that might be cause for teasing or ridicule. Thirteen-year-olds.

One young man, a starter on the basketball team, has been particularly insistent about learning. "When are we gonna knit?" "I still want to knit!" "How about tomorrow? Can I come and learn tomorrow?" So guess what? Today I brought some extra needles and leftover yarn and got J- started knitting.

I cast-on 50 stitches for him, showed him the knit stitch and coached him thru it a few times. And then... the light bulb went on... and the stitch was made and passed to the other needle... Success!

J- was knitting!

I was teaching someone to knit!

In one class period he made three rows of garter stitch which I think was pretty darn good for a beginner. J-'s stitches started to become more even and he's talking about wanting to make hats after our holiday break. He also wants to get a few more guys into my office with us and I have a feeling I will have a line at my door when we come back to school in January.

What I learned:
~Teaching knitting to someone is harder than learning to knit on my own.

~Knitting, or just giving kids yarn and needles to play with, might be a valuable counseling tool.

~Giving kids needles to play with might be dangerous. Hmmmmm. Maybe during the break I'll stock up on cheap plastic ones instead of the cheap aluminum needles.

~J- is going to be a great knitting ambassador.

Now I have to go wrap gifts and figure out how to teach the purl stitch after break!


Anonymous Liz (the other) said...

How cool!

I realized I never told you who taught me to 4th grade teacher. Everyone would make garter stitch squares in their spare time. Eventually she stitched the squares all together and made an afghan to give to the local nursing home. Maybe you could get the kids interesteed in a community service project, blankets for babies, homeless etc.

In retrospect, I think this is such a cool thing, you do something creative with your idle time, and give to someone who doesn't have as much as you. Oh and good OT/fine motor skills too.

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 10:40:00 PM EST  
Blogger g-girl said...

oh that is awesome that you taught a 7th grade boy no less to learn to knit! And I totally agree, to really know that you've learned something, is to be able to teach it.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007 at 9:24:00 PM EST  

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