Our co-op had its Spring Open House, and is Officially Over. Our class once again had a display table at the Open House, this time highlighting crochet:
from which you can see the fascination with the amigurumi bunny egg cozies (free pattern on the Lion Brand site, but you must sign up for a password to access it). Some of the kids made DOZENS of these, putting them over plastic Easter eggs with little treats in them, then distributing them for Easter. Then, one of the girls (the one with the largest army of bunnies) developed a sudden fascination with the crocheted roses at PlanetJune, and suddenly EVERYONE was crocheting roses.
Many items had been given away in the course of the year, and some of the kids opted to not display their stuff for whatever reason (given that Annabeth's amigurumi hamster wandered off in the course of the evening, probably in the clutches of some little kid, you can understand the reluctance to display some of the really cool stuff)(we eventually found the hamster in the lost-and-found).
The one suggestion I'd make if you're teaching middle-to-high school kids crochet or knitting -- besides bringing in magazines and books for project inspiration, take along a laptop or tablet and connect them with Ravelry or somesuch so they can browse free patterns. Given some of the content on Ravelry, you might want to browse with them to steer them away from some of the weirder stuff (for example, don't type in "american girl" and expect to only get innocuous pictures of stuff for dolls -- the phrase is used for other things, too). That's how the student ended up on PlanetJune -- she'd been looking through the author's book, saw the site address, looked it up online to see if the author had a pattern for a llama (she does, but it isn't free), and ended up finding the free pattern for roses.
By the way, the Totoros in the pictures were mine. I'd taken them along in case we didn't have much to put on the table -- I never know what the kids will think to bring, or if several will forget to bring anything at all. Another tip: lots of times they forgot their projects when they came to class, so it was good to have extra yarn and hooks so they could make some little something (roses! bunnies!) during the class time.
So, I'm glad that's over. Really, I've always thought I would loathe being a middle school teacher, and although I liked the kids in the class, I still feel that way. Too much drama.
We thought this would be the end of our co-op experience, but we've decided to sign up for a couple of classes next year. Thalia will be taking Kinetic Physics there -- the teacher is a mom who was a mechanical engineer and is an excellent instructor. Annabeth wants to take the Shepherd's Life Science -- I've no clue about the program, but she thinks it will be grand. And when I asked what they wanted me to do, get this -- they want me to teach 3rd-5th grade science! YES -- the same grades as the Junior Girl Scout badge book! AND they have no preconceived notions of curriculum, so I have carte blanche, sort of.
Seriously, talking to the other moms, I think we're going to do Physical Science and maybe a little Botany. And the emphasis will be on things that are too messy, too smelly, too BIG to do at home. In other words, we're going to be throwing Mentos in diet coke, making Ooblek, cooking red cabbage for a pH indicator, and generally having a weekly science camp. If you have any gotta-try-it ideas, let me know.