Students and Campers Love Basket Weaving!
Remember that being properly prepared for the class is everything.
You can't read the instructions for the first time during the class.
You can't run out to the car for more reed when you need it!
But, you knew that!
Here are some handy pointers.
1. Get all of the reed ready ahead of time.
2. Cut all of the SPOKES before class.
3. Wrap the WEAVERS into individual coils. Do NOT cut the weavers.
4. You don't have to have more than 5 coils per student.
(But, that said, it'll be fantastic if you have a helper who can add more coils to the soaking tubs as needed.)
5. Use washtubs to soak the reed coils right on the tables where the students are weaving. They won't need to get
up to get reed, so it'll be the easiest set-up for everyone- teacher included.
We always do a GIANT close-up drawing of the base pattern on a piece of poster board and put it up on the wall. This one is 16x20".
Then, when we begin to describe that first step in the Camp Kit or Kids' Kit- the one that goes "bend the first spoke end down in FRONT of the next spoke and BEHIND the second spoke and to the inside"- you can use a ruler to point where you mean.
Say it REALLY SLOOOOOW. Then say it AGAIN -really SLOOOOW.
Tell them not to worry if they don't get it right away, because you're going to go around to each one, one at a time and help them one on one.
Simple classroom rules: "No one is to 'shout out' to me" "I'm going to come around the room to everyone, and if anyone needs extra help, just raise your hand and I'll come over very shortly." (Make eye contact with anyone raising their hand and nod "yes" so that they know you're on your way.) Don't speak a WORD of instruction until everyone is looking and listening in your direction. If you need to, you can say "I'm ready to begin as soon as you are." Also, tell them that they are quite welcome to speak quietly amongst themselves during the class, BUT they need to stop and listen as soon as they hear your voice addressing the group. Smile while you say all this. Or don't smile. You know your kids. :-)
This may seem a little rigid but it's really important to make the learning climate positive for everyone. I've always felt that if everyone knows the expectations, the class will go a lot smoother.
After each set of instructions, you tell them, "OK: Thumbs up if you understand" "Thumbs DOWN if you don't". If anyone does thumbs DOWN, say "Very good--let's look at this again."
You should always speak very quietly - sorry if that sounds obvious- I'm going on the assumption that you've never taught children before. They will listen more carefully if you speak softly. AND, remember to bring a Sharpie to immediately print name and date on the bottom of each base. Be sure to have them spell their names. They hate it when you spell "Crystal": "Krystle"... And remember to give EVERY child lots of compliments- lots of DIFFERENT compliments. One of my favorites is "Are you sure that you kids have never woven a basket before? Wow! You're all doin' so GREAT!"
VERY IMPORTANT: Before you say a single bit of instruction, remember to say:
Good morning, boys and girls. Ladies and gentleman. Fellow basketweavers. (Your choice. Wink. Wink.) My name is Ms./Mr._____ and I'm here to weave baskets with you today. Before we begin, I want to remind you that we have 8 different children here today. Each one of you is unique and special. So today we are also going to have 8 different baskets- and each one of them is going to be unique and special!"
It'll be a blast. They're going to be so thrilled with their creations, so have fun!
Happy Weaving, Linda Hebert