Monday, October 22, 2012

Wood Shop Skills

When I was in 8th grade, I took the coolest class in school: Wood Shop.  After being terrified by stories of sawn-off fingers and hair being caught in drills, I proceeded (with caution) to make a CD rack, a penguin puzzle, a jewelry box, and a few other little wooden cut-outs.  I felt pretty awesome.  

In later years, I would put these skills to use once more as an artist, building cradled panels to paint on and making frames for my paintings.  Not as cool, but still highly useful.

This past summer I had a chance to bring my woodworking skills to a higher level, thanks to a local festival for which I'm one of the organizers.  I'm in charge of the little kids' activities, which take place on an island in the park.  I wanted to step things up a notch this year, so designed a bridge/castle entrance, a turret, and a dragon.  After getting most of the materials donated by one of our sponsors, I was ready to go!  

Mostly.  I knew how to use woodworking tools on a smaller scale, but needed to learn the ways of the larger tools.  Thankfully, I am blessed with a dad who has every tool imaginable and mad skills with all of these tools.  My dad showed me how to use the tools I needed on the castle parts, and I took off on my own for the dragon.  These photos tell the rest of the story:

My Dad, showing me the ways of the saber saw (and an
awesome shadow of an imposing drill)
You can't see it well, but the dragon is
drawn out on the plywood here.
Safety first!!
In process
The dragon all cut out - I decided to make it
into a corn hole bag game as well as a
decoration - the kids had to "defeat the
In the midst of making the dragon and castle, I went on
an African Safari!!!  ...In Ohio.  This is my favorite photo
from the trip of my favorite animal.
Just thought I'd share.
Blue and yellow make...the perfect color for a dragon!
The castle parts and the dragon in process 
Dragon completed!
The castle completed after using a plastic bag
to make it look more three-dimensional
(and awesome).
My initial sketches next to the completed and installed
Dragon on the left and turret on the right on the island
Castle entrance and the dragon at the end
of the bridge on the island

The new additions to the island were a big hit!!  I even received the Spirit Award for my enthusiasm for the festival!  (I was nominated by other organizers of the festival.)  I'd like to thank my wood shop teacher, my's truly an honor just to be nominated...    

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Game On!

Have you ever found yourself in this scenario?  You're substitute teaching and it's MEAP testing day.  The kids finish the test quickly, and you find yourself with almost two hours to fill and nothing to do!!! What now???!?!?!?

OK, so maybe this isn't a very common scenario, but it's one in which I found myself today.  I've had similar experiences with subbing, where it'd be really great to just have a few games that require no equipment and not a lot of space to play to fill some time.  Today I found a great resource.  In an effort to both have easy access to these games for myself and share them with others, I'm going to link some of the games here.  I hope you enjoy!
Another great resource (link)

**Some of these games also make great party games!!**

Buzz Fizz - (I've also played this where doubles are "buzz" numbers, ie: 11, 22, 33, etc) - a counting game where you need to be paying attention or you're out!

Exciting Life Awards - A creative way to get kids interacting with and getting to know each other.

Gifts For the Journey - Kids pair up and have to remember things about each other, and then share them with a new partner.  If you forget something, you're out!

Grab the Finger - MUCH different results than "pull my finger..."  An active game where kids have to keep their finger from being grabbed while trying to grab their neighbor's finger.

Group Hug in Motion - Move as a group in different directions as directed by a leader.

Here I Sit - Could be dangerous, but gets kids moving!

Line Up - Kids line up according to height, eye color, shoe size, etc.  There's also a version where the kids do this blindfolded!

Rock Paper Scissors Tournament - I did this with 18 kids and it was very fun, but also very quick!

Sit Down If - have eaten chocolate today, etc.  Last one standing wins!

Snort - A game in which players - yes - snort at each other!  There's also a game in which players Moo.  Really loudly.

True or False - Players have to guess whether a statement you make is true or false, and are eliminated as they guess incorrectly.

Two Truths and A Lie - A classic, where players have to figure out which statement is a lie and which are true.

Wink Murder - Another classic!!  The "murderer" winks at people who, after waiting a few seconds for the murderer to move away, "die" in dramatic fashion.  The inspector has to find the murderer!

Would You Rather - Popular with kids and adults!!  This website has some great scenarios, too.  With a large group, we split the room for each option and then I had a few kids from each side defend their choice.  It was really fun!