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Help! Teaching Sewing In Middle School
I will be teaching an after-school sewing club next year. Any trouble shooting or tips you can give would be appreciated.
nothy lane
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nothy lane  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/4/14 7:56 AM

Next September, I will be teaching an after-school sewing club. I will be buying four used mechanical sewing machines (tight budget but I prefer mechanical so I am not complaining).

I plan to have them make a pencil case, pjs and then a simple top or dress.

If you have any advice, I would love to hear it. I really want to plan this well to offset any problems.

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Nothy
www.aftagley.blogspot.ca

marec
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Date: 7/4/14 8:04 AM

nothy, have you taught middle school before? Or taught in general? I was a science teacher for this age group for 30 years, and have a lot of experience with labs and hands on activities. Kids this age need to DO more than think about a concept. Sometimes it seems as if they are screwing around but learning is really taking place. Make lots of games out of your lessons. For example, when teaching how to use the machine, have them get a driver's license before moving on.

Set up more than can be accomplished in the time allowed.

Don't talk too much.

Give them frequent controlled breaks to process what is being learned.

Allow for "mess around" time.

Show, don't tell.

I miss the excitement of labs, but not the drudgery of grading.

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my blog: http://kf-biblioblog.blogspot.com/
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sewbusy888
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In reply to marec <<


Date: 7/4/14 8:25 AM

marec

your advice is perfect!!!

I do volunteer work with teens and they prefer the doing, keep it fun and enjoyable and keep the talking to a bare minimum.

We had a massive increase in participants when we changed "teachers" after the feedback from our first run of some courses. Generally - no matter how expert the teacher was if the delivery was off the students lost ALL interest.

best of luck

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maria 6705

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Date: 7/5/14 5:26 PM

With high school classes, I used to start with a pincushion, sewn by hand using the back stitch and slip stitch, before starting on machines. These stitches would be useful in finishing later projects, and it gives you an opportunity to present grain lines, pinning, etc. before introducing the sewing machine.
The first sewing machine projects would be simple ones like pillows or bags with a drawstring closing. Easy beginning projects reduce the likelihood of frustration and discouragement.
The most important thing is to make it fun for everyone, including you!

petro
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Date: 7/6/14 6:52 AM

If its a club, I'd go light on 'instruction'. Preferably, they should have something fun to take home asap. Fabric glue and other temporary or permanent fixers might be handy for rapid results.

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http://patternpandemonium.wordpress.com/

thaiyal
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Date: 7/6/14 8:41 AM

I also think learning some basics like sewing a button, hand/machine sewing a popped seam, hemming their pants, hemming their jeans, mending (say, everybody gets a small square with a tear and they have to mend it) etc are life skills ...

I'd alternate a sewing project with a life skill mentioned above.

TGWGWS
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Date: 7/6/14 11:21 PM

Pillow cases are always nice.
The kids will use them every night

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Tina
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I do not weep at the world I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.
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Mel.J
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Date: 7/7/14 2:26 AM

The sewing club that ran at my kids school used to lose needles hand over fist as the kids took their projects home. Perhaps setting up a tiny 'sewing basket' for each child - a pack of needles, an unpicker, a pair of scissors - might be a lesson, and they are responsible for their own tools. They'd probably have to pay for that if your budget is tight, but that might not be a bad thing? Or you could require them to leave their projects at school, which limits the problem of them forgetting to bring it back the next week.

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Mel (Melbourne, Australia)

grey ann
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Date: 7/7/14 7:18 PM

I teach middle school.
Love marec's advice. Forget practical like hemming, sewing on buttons, etc.
Start with a simple project they can take home - pillowcases, pillows (my eighthgraders made those in H&C this year and seemed proud to take them home.)
And have a sense of humor! That goes a long way in middle school.

grey ann
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Date: 7/7/14 7:19 PM

One more thing:

Forget hand sewing. Too slow for this generation!

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