I have always been aware of the benefits of combing art and music in the curriculum. I have had the benefit of working with some very gifted teachers in art that created some amazing projects that brought the curriculum to life in ways I never could have imagined. Music teachers have taught me much about the wisdom of using music across the curriculum and been great resources for providing that opportunity. Schools traditionally do many arts and crafts type projects but we rarely have the time, talent, or resources to teach traditional crafts and research their benefits for teaching math and language arts.
Recently I have been researching plastic canvas, knitting, sewing, and crocheting for other writing projects I do. I did not see much of a tie between my blog and the work I have been doing until I started finding blogs that are encouraging parents and others to teach children the traditional crafts. Then I got to thinking about not just the practical life skills that come with knowing how to do these skills but the real ties between skills that are required and learned in these crafts and our struggle to find ways to teach these very same skills to our kids.
The most obvious is graphing. While more books are being printed on teaching and practicing graphing skills the best methods are still finding ways that kids see the practical use of the skill. While researching an article for plastic canvas the graphing implications became obvious since many of their charts are color coded. As children progress in learning knitting, crocheting, and plastic canvas they will need to get better at reading pattern charts which work in a very similar manner as coordinate graphs. I know when I have done counted cross stitch I have actually created more of a coordinate graphing labeling system to help me track. I would suggest teaching the craft first. However, when children have mastered the process, it is not a bad idea to explain that they have also increased their understanding of graphing and demonstrate how.
Sewing is one of the great practical ways to teach measurement. There is a purpose and goal to learn measurement and practical steps to learning it. Kids who want to learn to sew are motivated to learn the math skills embedded in sewing and there are many more than I will list here. The other crafts we discussed also require measurement and with motivation comes mastery.
I can’t tell you how many books and lesson plans are written on this topic. However, crafts provide the perfect motivation and natural consequence lessons on the market. Crafts require a student to be able to follow direction and there generally are natural consequences when the directions are not read, comprehended, and followed.
Cause and Effect:
As stated above the implications are clear. Students can see the positive and negative outcomes of their actions and identify the reasons (cause) and (effect) of those actions.
For other types of Halloween craft ideas to use with children look here.
I’m likely to broaden this into a fuller article later but the gist of it is clear. Teaching craft skills and then showing kids how these skills relate to specific learning goals is a wise choice. Scout groups often choose craft projects as an activity. I know home school groups do as well since my Mom was recruited by a neighbor to teach knitting first to her child and then to a larger group when it proved productive. Parents do have options for teaching their own children. I’m including links for learning plastic canvas, knitting, and crocheting. I’ve also included a links to articles for Fall Knitting and Crochet Projects and Plastic Canvas Halloween projects. Read more here, here, and here.
Learning Plastic Canvas
Knit and Crochet for Halloween
Lion Brand Learning to Crochet
Learning to Knit
Lion Brand Learning to Knit
Picture credits: Teddy BearBarking Dog Designs flickr.comBat noricum flickr.com