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Sewing lessons to teach math and literacy
Anyone try this?
Changma
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Date: 10/15/13 6:40 PM

I know some of you are teachers ( hi, wendyrb) so perhaps you can help me think this through.
I'm a NYC teacher. We are required to have an extended period several times a week. In my school, that translates to 37.5 minutes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. High needs students are supposed to attend, with a maximum of 10 (regular ed) students per teacher,; this year I am lucky enough to have a kindergarten teacher with me and 11 students. We now follow common core standards, with the drive to make students "college and career ready".
I have been toying with the idea of using sewing as a basis for providing real-life experiences, embedding math and literacy lessons into the sewing lessons. Fractions, addition, subtraction and multiplication can be tied into pattern adjustments, fabric and notion calculations, etc., including experiences with math word problems. Literacy relates to reading and explaining directions, discussing directions and changing them, finding easier ways to make a point, opinion pieces ( the pattern is hard, easy...), and a reflection.Two projects-one for charity, one for themselves. One half of the class can work hands on one day, while the other is doing calculations/adjustments or reviewing directions; to be switched the next day.
I would need sewing machines, threads, notions, and fabric andpatterns- this I could write up as a proposal for Donors Choose, a program that matches donors with teacher requested supplies.
So, what do you think-does this sound feasible? I am approaching the principal tomorrow with the idea, but if you have any comments or suggestions, I am eager to hear them. I just feel that these lessons will go a long way in getting my kids to understand that they are learning things for a reason, that they can have a successful something to show for it.
Thanks in advance.
-- Edited on 10/15/13 7:03 PM --

lamstu
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In reply to Changma <<


Date: 10/15/13 7:43 PM

I think this is a great idea! Everyone wears clothes every single day, and not too many people ever stop to think: How is shirt this made?

Some other advantages or benefits of your proposed module
- creative expression
- hands on learning, practical applications can make (sometimes) abstract math more understandable
- hands on learning is more fun!

Best of luck with this inspiration - please keep us updated on the progress!!

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lamstu

annie11
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Date: 10/15/13 7:43 PM

I'm so glad to see this thread! I think it is a fantastic way to teach. I've done this after school with groups of 5th graders and groups of 6th-8th graders. We took a very simple tote bag, measured the exterior, measured the facings and seam allowances, and added the measurements up to create a base pattern. Our sessions were one hour, and it took 5-6 sessions to complete.

We also made vocabulary lists using sewing terminology. Words like scissors and piece are challenging to spell! You can do a whole lesson on sewing machine parts and how to thread one.

Surprisingly, the 5th graders that I worked with were much more attentive and interested than the middle school group. They even wanted to come back during their lunch hour to do more!

What ages will be in your group?

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Changma
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In reply to annie11 <<


Date: 10/15/13 7:53 PM

4th grade, mostly 9 y/o, boys and girls. I think they would love it, as they're trying so hard to learn, but so much of the work has been ratcheted up beyond their level. Hands on is surely the way to go with them.

Love the vocabulary idea, too.

Miss Fairchild
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Date: 10/15/13 8:50 PM

I'd like to add:
Color combinations
Color tones, shades, tints, etc.
Complementary colors
Fabric types (a polyester is definitely different than a silk!)
Color wheel

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beauturbo
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Date: 10/15/13 9:59 PM

Maybe, but I think all the sewing machines should have things like the markings on the stitch plates or set up of stitch length and width there either marked out and measured and listed by stitches per inch or instead more mm by metric system, as to have a bunch of machines all mixed together instead, with both different ways of measuring anything, might get a little confusing.

Also, even though you could teach literacy with the machines, by talking and writing, I think for most sewing machine instruction books for quite a while now, English was not the lst language where the machine was made in the factory, so sewing machine manuals are kind of even famous for badly written instructions sometimes, just since they have had to be translated a few times down even sometimes.

sewdoggie22
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Date: 10/16/13 0:23 AM

Maybe they'd like to make a quilt using scrapes. It would teach them how to measure squares, rectangles etc. and easy sewing to begin. Also color tones and matching.

The tote bag is a good idea also. It is exciting for kids to learn by making something useful. I applaud the idea and wish you good luck.

EleanorSews
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Date: 10/16/13 0:40 AM

It's a very good idea and perfect for Donors Choose. I'm a big supporter between my dd and my nephew's SO.

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SandiMacD
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Date: 10/16/13 5:44 AM

I watched a Sewing With Nancy show where she interviewed educators using sewing machines in schools. I believe the machines were part of the school's library system and checked out by the teachers for various classes.
The process taught skills in science, math, problem solving and team building. Quilts were used to teach history, story telling and of course, art.

Kids traced drawings of animals, pets and faces and cut them out for blocks. Fabric pens and quilt patterns were also used.

One school started a program of sewing on loose buttons, hemming and mending tears as community service. Students could drop off items or learn how to do the repair. Some classes made items for partnering with PTA fund raising and taught entrepreneurship and business concepts. Others held held mock sales in the classroom.

Its great to see sewing make its way back into schools. I hope carpentry and mechanics return someday as well. I see TV shows now featuring children cooking! How wonderful to see a Jr Project Runway.
For too long we have seen children left to their own play, let them be a child, don't make them work. Yes, playtime is valuable but I think these types of endeavors- teaching young children life skills for things like cooking, sewing, carpentry, home management, etc brings opportunities they won't discover if left to their own play patterns.
-- Edited on 10/16/13 6:32 AM --

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SandiMacD
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Date: 10/16/13 5:53 AM

As far as donations- you might also want to check your local sewing guilds. Many times they get and store donations. One program our American Sewing Guild (ASG) partners with is called Charity Sharity. Its a clearinghouse concept that redistributes our donated items.
Our chapter newsletter has a relationship with our retailer advertisers. Last week we received 30 yds of fabric from one of our advertisers. It will be distributed back into a local organization that needs it- or a community service project, perhaps both. ASG is a non profit organization with an educational mission. Our members are very committed to meeting the needs of their communities.
-- Edited on 10/16/13 6:06 AM --

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