Workshop at Springfield H.S. Arts Academy
That’s how many students I taught how to make books last Thursday and Friday at Springfield High School Arts Academy in Springfield, Vermont.
When I was done, I was exhausted, had a throbbing headache, and my feet were smoking. And I would totally do it again in a heartbeat.
The Springfield Arts Academy is based on the premise that integrating the arts into all subjects help to reinforce concepts that students are learning. It’s such a simple, yet potent idea – why don’t more schools do this?
The book structure I chose for my workshop was the panel book, which I’ve done before in other workshops. All of the supplies were put on a cart and we wheeled the “Book Mobile” from class to class. Thankfully, I had an assistant for both days – Catherine. She rocked.
I taught seven periods in a variety of classes – Science, English, History. Each teacher had a different plan of what they were going to do with the completed books. One class was going to use it for student-written poetry and another was working on a global warming unit. I’m hoping to get images of the completed books that are made in each class.
One thing that surprised me was that I had 100% participation in all of the classes. I had a preconceived notion that at least a couple of students in each class would refuse to participate. I am happy to say that I was wrong. All of the students were friendly, respectful, and fully engaged in the project. It was heartwarming.
The more classes I do, the more I realize just how much I enjoy teaching. There’s something so satisfying in watching the expression on someone’s face when they successfully finish a project. And to witness that moment when everything comes together and a pile of materials becomes a book – there’s nothing like it.
I also love watching hands at work. I’ve realized that when I teach workshops, I always end up with a bunch of pictures of the participants’ hands. There’s so much potential and possibility in hands.
One of the students told me that I was the coolest person to come into the school in a long time. I’m embarrassed to admit just how much that meant to me. I guess you never get over wanting to feel cool in high school, even if you graduated years ago.
Oh, one more thing. I was interviewed by someone from the school paper. It seems that the world has finally caught on that bookbinding is news-worthy. Yay!