Beyond the Snake..

Blog Post created by mulcasterm on Jul 22, 2016

I have always wanted to learn how to knit. Having a makerspace at our school only increased this desire to learn.


So I tried it. Um...yah....about that.....


I first tried knitting with needles. It took me a VERY long time to learn how to do this (like about 6 months) before I could knit with the right amount of tension and I didn't feel like my fingers were going to fall off because they hurt so much. Even then, I would drop stitches and my knitted square (because that's all I could do) looked like it had been through the zombie apocalypse. I felt dejected and like I couldn't do anything. I needed a confidence booster.


Enter...finger knitting!


Wow. What a great place to start to learn how to knit! And I could get it! It was also great for many of our students in our makerspace who really needed that assurance that they could succeed! (And that they could actually SEE something they produced in a 40 min lunch hour. Ever had the experience of knitting and unravelling, knitting and unravelling... and 2 hrs later you're at the same place you started, albeit a lot crankier?)


Let me tell you...I can finger knit a mean snake.



Once I mastered the simple cable - I became hooked. Finger knitting is actually quite relaxing when you get into it -  (wouldn't it be great to soothe anxieties and/or use for some of our students who always need to keep their hands busy?) and there are a tonne of books/videos you can access to make some pretty cute things!


This morning I decided to finger knit a winter hat (what else should you do on the hottest day of the year!?!). I've actually done this awhile back...and it is HARD!!! Basically,  you have to knit a cable that will fit around your head, then attach them together so they form a circle. Then you need to pick up a stitch from the circle to continue making a "hat form". I always ended up twisting the cable so that my hat wouldn't sit properly. This video explains it best....



While I tried about 10 times to get it right today (I felt like I was back to knitting with needles...knitting, unravelling, knitting, unravelling) I began to wonder what this would mean for my students and what kind of mindset we would have to facilitate when trying something like this. Certainly this was very frustrating - I needed to see and think carefully about what I was doing, what wasn't working and analyze what I really needed to do to MAKE it work (I did eventually, but I think it was pure luck). How could  I use this experience build grit and resiliency in our students? How would I have to preface it? How could I use the students to mentor each other (and me)? How could I get them to reflect on this experience in conversation with each other? And indeed if "literacy floats on a sea of talk" (James Britton) - how can I use this experience to enhance the literacy and digital literacy of my students? How could they write and produce media texts about this experience to convey their thinking?


Here is my shot at documenting my process - what could this mean for the literacy of our students given the opportunity to explore something they are excited about and successful at? This is meaningful making at its best! I'm really proud of what I did! Just take a look at what I did! I can even wear this hat!!! IN THE WINTER! IN A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! (Do you notice a theme here? ...I think I read too much YA fiction)



Sigh...I think it's about time I went back to knitting with needles. I need to build some more character. And some more videos.