I teach at a predominantly Latino middle school in an inner-city CA neighborhood where over 60% of the adults never finished high school and almost 40% are living below the poverty line. In addition to providing my students with academic experiences, I also strive to acknowledge students' extracurricular interests (and encourage their development) in order to form well-rounded individuals.
Oftentimes, however, the financial and demographic constraints of growing up in a high-poverty area prevent many students from participating in experiences that many of us take for granted. Fortunately, these constraints do not limit their interest: in our first knitting club meeting, we had over thirty students in attendance, from grades 6-8, with boys making up more than one third of the group.
As a regular knitter, my students (and colleagues) often see me working on a project in my downtime. As interest in knitting has grown, both students and staff have asked to start a knitting club.
Knitting not only helps students to develop fine motor skills (which are often delayed in students born into poverty) but also to increase their attention spans, building patience and perseverance along the way. Furthermore, as students learn the different stitches, they can gain a sense of the binary, mathematical nature of knitting and knitting patterns. By applying these habits of mind to a non-academic skill, it lowers the affective filter, thereby increasing the likelihood that these habits will further take hold in the classroom.
We want to learn to knit to improve our handwriting. Knitting will also help our brains function when doing math, and will help us concentrate more. Also, knitting will give us an alternative to playing video games and watching TV. Of course, we will also be able to make our own toys and clothes.
This club will give us the chance to be leaders by leading the meetings and helping other students. We will make a campaign to advertise our club by making flyers and posters and by talking about it with our friends. Also, we can showcase our work in the school lobby.
Knitting will help individual students become more focused. It will give our campus more activities for learning and social interaction. Knitting will also give us a new way to express our creativity. Knitting will make us healthier, because we will be using our brains to create, and not just play games. Also, we can give the items we make to our loved ones or to those in need; we could also sell our products to raise money for our families.
|Red Heart Classic Knitting Yarn Pack of 12 • Nasco||$38.50||4||$154.00|
|Knitting Needles Size 9 • Nasco||$4.10||30||$123.00|
|Size 13 Lion Brand Knitting Needles • Nasco||$4.50||20||$90.00|
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This classroom project was brought to life by Gates Foundation & Think It Up Supporters and 9 other donors.