Fiber Fun: Teaching at the Middle School

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Well, I did it. I taught my first knitting class to six eager 7th graders. We played some knitting bingo–full of all the weird terms one might encounter while reading a pattern; we started thinking about the basics of needle size and yarn weight; and then, we all cast on. Oh my, what a crazy hour!

The teaching went as I expected: there was only one of me and many of them who needed one-on-one help and advice. But, luckily half of the kids were gone for a make-up test right from the beginning, so I had a head start with the other half. Then, when they were all back in the room, I managed to keep circling and landing and offering a helping hand here or there. The students who picked up the instructions quickly were able to help the others. And so it went! I felt a bit overwhelmed, but those are the moments when I come off fairly cool–or so I’ve been told!

And the very best gauge may be that by the end of the hour the kids were begging to stay and knit rather then head off to their 8th period classes. I’ll take that as a win. Plus, I sent them all home with their own project bag complete with knitting needles and some yarn for a swatch–I hope they play and have fun until I see them next Monday πŸ™‚

And if any of you wise women and men out there have advice on teaching a group of new knitters, I would LOVE to hear your tales, tips, and tricks!

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13 Responses to Fiber Fun: Teaching at the Middle School

  1. Good for you! This was seriously a Good Deed! I used to teach adult classes, but the only kids I ever taught were my daughters. They started, stopped, started again, stopped, and when they hit their 20s they became almost as fanatical as I am. So even if it looks like they’re losing interest, if you’ve just planted the seed, it’s worth it.

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    • lissymail says:

      Thanks!! Yes, I could see all the cogs turning for them and they lit up every time they figured something out. It’s one of my great loves in life and I think that excitement comes through for them (I hope!) It’s lovely that your daughters took up knitting–awesome!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. metaspencer says:

    Very cool that you did this.

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  3. Talya says:

    Don’t teach more than five at a time, if you don’t have an assistant. And don’t expect to sit down. At all. They all will learn at a different pace, so that carefully planned lesson plan will go right out the window. Be flexible.

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    • lissymail says:

      Yes! The class was supposed to have 4 (maybe 5), but as middle schools are wont to do, they bumped me to 6. I am just happy to have so much interest in the class πŸ™‚ I’m thinking of some strategies for breaking up the groups a bit more next week and having some better one-on-one time with 2-3 of them at a time. Thanks for your advice!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Alina says:

    That sounds like so much fun! I taught knitting at my school several times, but not to a group, just to those who were really interested in it. It must be a real challenge to teach a whole group!!

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  5. knittedblissjc says:

    that sounds like it was a huge success! if the kids didn’t want to leave when they had a chance, it means you totally rocked it. Way to go!!!

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  6. chrisknits says:

    The best thing I did to show them not to fear the knitting was to pull the needle out of the sts to show that with good wool yarn your its won’t collapse unless you pull on them. I taught them to place the knitting on the table and slowly thread the needle tip back into the loops. Sometimes the loops will get twisted, so teach them how to recognize a twisted loop. Catching up dropped loops was the most helpful thing beyond the knitting movements.

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    • lissymail says:

      I love this “magic” trick–it’s a great way to convince them that knitting isn’t so scary πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing!

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