07 January, 2008

Kids Are Hilarious!

So I went back to work today after the winter break, and I introduced the Close Knit Hugs project to my students. I showed them the website and the example square that I knit last week.

At first, Emily and Megan were interested. Then when I told them that the number of homeless people in New Orleans has quadrupled since Hurricane Katrina (from 2,500 to 10,000), a few more students got interested... but still, all of them girls.

So I just kept talking. I don't know what got into me, but I figured that if I kept talking about the project long enough, a few more of them might get interested. I discussed that we should have a project chair or co-chairs, and had to explain to them that in this case, "chair" did not mean a type of furniture. So I worked a little vocabulary lesson in there. Go figure. I said that the co-chairs would start by writing a letter to the class's parents explaining the project and our pop can drive to raise money for knitting supplies. Haley and Morgan agreed to co-chair the project. Emily's mom, who owns a quilting store that also sells knitting supplies, volunteered to ask her mom for a donation. Awesome.

Then Brandon said, "I have a TON of pop cans to bring in!" That was the first male response to the project all hour.

"Great!" I said. "So, now who wants to learn to knit?"

Tyler and Matt raised their hands. The other boys snickered.

Tyler said, "You know, there are football players who knit. Like NFL football players! It helps their hand coordination."

"You're absolutely right, Tyler!" Of course I had no idea if this is true, but how would they know? At least 50% of good teaching involves acting.

This was the magic bullet. If an NFL player can knit and still maintain his manhood, I guess they thought that knitting would not somehow scar them for life, or turn them gay, or make them the butt of locker room jokes. All these boys started talking about knitting and raising their hands and volunteering to learn how to knit so they could knit a square for an afghan to send to the Gulf.

While they were talking to each other about the project, I ran next door to tell Linda (teacher next door who owns a sheep and spins her own yarn) that I had boys volunteering to knit.

When I got back to my room, the boys who had volunteered to knit were peer pressuring the boys who still weren't on board! In fact, one of them said, "Why don't you want to do it? Aren't you man enough?"

Tomorrow I teach Tyler and Matt to knit.

I'll post some pictures of the class's work as things progress...


Lynn said...

"Aren't you man enough?" LOL Positive peer pressure at its finest!!

Jess P. said...

That's great! I had heard about football players knitting. Also male surgeons, but maybe that's not a manly enough career for these guys! Keep up the good work.

Jenny said...

Good stuff! I think the football player in question is Rosie Greer who played for the NY Giants and the LA Rams.

Amanda said...

I linked to your blog from your ravelry page. I love that you are trying to get your students excited about knitting and all the good that it can do for others. I can't wait to read about how this progresses!

Shayla Myst said...

Tee Hee! My son (now 16) has been knitting since he was about 12. What he would tell his friends (back then) is that if Hagrid knits then so can he. Now his friends just accept that he likes to knit. Another suggestion to show the boys who might be interested in continuing - http://coolboysknit.com/. Good luck!