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Profile: tbockman
User Name: tbockman
Forum Rank: Newbie
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Joined: Friday, November 17, 2006
Last Visit: Saturday, November 20, 2021 9:04:29 AM
Number of Posts: 0
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Last 10 Posts
Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2021 9:11:43 AM

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

When You Have Small Classes...

Sometimes a class can be a little too small and it affects the whole dynamic. Smaller classes can go either way. It can be lackluster or it can be a challenging opportunity. Such is the case for my first period. Three students are in this class and we usually get more done than say the 14 student class might.

The reason for this is quite simple and everybody can guess what it is. The teacher has more time to concentrate more energy on each student and that can make for more challenging projects with multiple learning opportunities. Student's have to also be up for that challenge.

So after a slow start to the new school year, one student in this class rises above the others in this regard. Viola is not your average 7th grader. Small of physical stature but large in her motivation to take on unusual and challenging projects, she is making a name for herself among her piers.

After the usual projects that new students make to learn their way around the shop, she showed the interest in increasing the challenge by first coming up with her own design for a ring and necklace stand. Of course I didn't bring the camera in time to catch a photo of that project and in fact, also didn't catch a picture of this one either. Thanks go to her mother for sending me this photo from home.

Viola brought in a small roughly painted chest of drawers that her little sister found at a yard sale and declared that she wanted to make a duplicate. She was even planning to paint it the same way. It requires some parts be cut on the table saw that obviously can't be done at this age. Together we broke down a cutting list and I proceeded to cut the pieces.

I know what you are thinking. You made the whole thing for her. Well, not exactly but I did have to cut these parts to size and make some of the joints. She worked on the sanding, gluing & assembly and also found and executed the designs.

Being adept at finding and manipulating images, then setting and running the laser engraver, she did a great job on the drawer fronts. I showed her how to remove the center flower and replace it on the lathe turned knobs before they were put into the drawer. I told her painting it might ruin the look that she has achieved and she agreed to try out a simple clear oil finish.

That's all it took... Ha! It went home so fast it didn't even have time to dry or for a 2nd coat and even a possible clear coat. This leaves the surface looking dry. It doesn't matter. I think it will last far into the future and she will look back on this with fond memories of wood shop.

That's always been my main goal, to give them all better memories of junior high wood shop than I got. Seriously, it's a wonder how I ended up teaching wood shop with the awful first experiences I had. She is clearly able to put some of the skills she is learning to good use. Good job Viola.

After some thought as I have been writing, I've realized how many other projects have gotten away from me this school before I could take a photo of it and do a little bragging. This project however stands out for not being on the top shelves with our other more regular projects and that has inspired others to follow Viola's lead.

As for me, I'm trying to hold on for 2 1/2 more years before I retire for good. I hate to think that this school may have a hard time finding someone dedicated and caring enough to continue what has been started here.

For now though, I have to get back to work. You see, I also have in my already hectic schedule, an unofficial "ghost" class... of (so far) all girls... who come in on their own at lunch every day. They almost always bring a friend with them (potential new recruits... Ha) and as it gets larger than most of my real classes, it all adds up to fun.

Hey, I have to literally chase them out when their cafeteria time comes around and some of them invariably return after scarfing down the menu of the day. :)

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Topic: Introductions
Posted: Friday, November 12, 2021 10:16:40 AM
Sorry I have taken so long to respond. I was assuming you would see that I often give curriculum away. Here are my posts. The same offer applies to anyone who thinks they can use the curriculum our early group spearheaded. It's a great collection of material to have, with very minimal cost of a stamped self-addressed envelope and a 64GB flash drive although it is beginning to get too large for even that. It can be either what is available in google docs (completely cost free), or by flash drive. Google docs is limited and never tells you when your uploads don't fit if it takes too much space, so it can be a hit or miss. It also doesn't show as well from their viewers. It is much better to have the flash drive and use PowerPoint and WORD to view it.

For some reason our school decided to make our you tube channels age private, but kids tell me they can still access it even tough I can't. Seems strange to be kept out of my own channel so I can't upload anything new. I uploaded some of it here and opened it to public view.

To contact me, remove the (NOSPAM) and this is the updated email address.

Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Saturday, November 6, 2021 11:23:15 AM

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

Ch ch ch changes

It has been a while since I last posted. I think most of my students lost confidence in their abilities while they were doing off campus learning. They really seem hesitant to try new things and they ask for more help than ever. They also seem different in social setting. I don't know if any of you have noticed this at your schools, but around here we have definitely seen a difference in behavior. I'm sure over time this will change, but until then I have to keep encouraging them to try new things and keep moving forward. It has taken forever to get some of them past cutting simple shapes on the scroll saw. I've also had to slow down the cutting board projects since we quickly burned through the wood reserves I stockpiled when we were not here to use it up. This and the laser engraver are by far our most favorite projects. Then I noticed that I can't get onto my own You Tube account. Someone has changed the settings so only children can see it. Seems strange that the channel owner is blocked because he is over 18 years of age. Way over in fact. Ha!

So I put it onto a different account. Now I'm having issues with the video length as it won't accept the ping pong ball shooter since that one is over 15 min. I even did the verification and it still blocks it. Social media sucks!

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Sunday, August 22, 2021 10:05:59 AM

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

Visit My Virtual Open House

I had to produce a PowerPoint to show at our open house which was suppose to be on my birthday, but it was switched to a virtual open house to minimize adults gathering at the school with the Delta variant flaring up. We don't have a mask mandate. Anyway, we needed to add voice to the presentation and if you are familiar with PowerPoint, the voice sound quality is not the best. I decided to make digital recordings that sound much better, but PowerPoint couldn't import them. So I changed course and opened movie maker, imported the audio and the remade slides (now jpg's) and made this presentation instead. The sound quality is much better, but the slides no longer have animations and the links don't work.

It will have to do. I think the links could have more than doubled the amount of viewing time, so it's probably for the best. I'm not sure if anyone will want to sit through 6 of these from their child's class schedule not to mention parents with several children. I'd be lucky to have anyone visit and sit through this. If I had recorded with a screen capture which I don't have, or used zoom, I could have pizzazzed it up with working links, videos, etc... but it probably wouldn't have made for more visitors. Who wants to sit through that when there are so many other things we all could be doing.

It's now Thursday 8-26-21...

Dear Parents,

Welcome to our first Virtual Open House. I have been teaching Wood Shop for over 40 years and I prepared this video to let you know more about what we are doing in our class. I hope your child enjoys this experience. Feel free to look through any of the other Wood Shop videos available on my channel.

It is kind of funny that my own first experience in 7th grade Wood Shop would not have led me down this career path. It wasn't until high school that all of it changed for me. It is my goal to provide a better first experience to my students so they can feel comfortable using tools and equipment safely and enjoy making use of these essential life skills. Especially since this will not be available anymore at most high schools.

You may also like to know that our class materials are provided through MCK Woodworks, owned by a former (1981) student. Mike Lough has allowed me to access materials before they go into the dumpster. We get to use the highest quality materials at no cost to the school. We are also doing our part to recycle and save the planet.

You might like to visit where I have kept a blog of my experiences at Franklin Phonetic School. It will show projects and detail our shops transformation over the past 8 years.

Thank you for choosing Franklin Phonetic School. Thank you for choosing Wood Shop.


Mr. Bockman

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Wednesday, August 18, 2021 7:50:52 AM

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

Another year older!

We started back 3 weeks ago. Of course it happens every year, we get a little older. I find one of the weird things about the teaching profession is that the kids seem the same, like they don't age past a certain time which is crazy, but when you see some of them years later you can barely recognize them. Especially when they are turning grey. You had my grandpa in class... Ha!

At this school I have been here just long enough now to have the kindergartners that are from my first year here. These are the last kids who will remember the old cafeteria space that the wood shop is now taken over. Maybe I'm making too much of it, but in three years I may be retired for good. Maybe sooner too! There are just too many physical changes at my age that are really starting to get in the way. It all started back in 1960 with open heart surgery.

It's hard to believe I've lived in an age that has had so many medical advances that can keep us alive far past our expiration date. I've just graduated to my 2nd pacemaker. This one is upgraded with a defibrillator. When I told the kids my latest story about why I missed the last week and a half of school last year, I was worried the school would get calls from parents. I was lucky... it didn't happen.

I told them that I ended up in the ER, and they had to give me 100 joules without sedation. It does feel like they say. It reminded me of when I was a kid and I touched a spark plug wire. Yikes! But on this day I folded up like a jack knife knees up, shoulders coming up to hit the knees. Right before that I was told this could have been fatal if I hadn't gotten there as soon as I did. A very expensive helicopter ride later, which insurance is balking at, there was a misdiagnosis and I'm back home thinking everything is better than they thought, which is why the insurance is hesitating... but when I contact my cardiologist, he was livid that they missed it.

The local electrophysiologist had to clear her schedule and immediately put me into a life vest with the built in defibrillator which would go off multiple times a day. It was nerve racking to say the least. It took a few weeks to get what should have been done as an emergency that day.

I told my students about the dangers of me being around the electricity in the shop, and how if I suddenly lay down on the floor, don't touch me just in case of eminent shock, and go get the nurse or call 911. I really don't think it will happen, but we have to plan for what to do in that situation. There are at least two other teachers who are in the same boat. They have both spent time in my shop here and neither went out in an ambulance, so I'm reasonably sure that's not going to happen to me. Cross your fingers.

Well, another advancement I never expected in my life time was being able to use a laser. I remember when I first told students to think about what woodworking might look like in the future, I never thought I would live far enough to see some of the things we get to use in class. I was lucky enough to secure a free laser engraver and most of the time the kids choose to use it to print a cartoon character I've never seen before.

Occasionally I am able to talk them into something a little more substantial. You can find some amazing images on-line that if cleaned up in Photo shop, can really accent a project. This simple puzzle or brain teaser is a great example. I actually used this image on the face of the woodburner to hide some stray burn marks someone found it necessary to leave on the wooden front I've attached to limit the temperature.

Once the noise was removed with photoshop, the image made a wonderful tasteful decorative addition to an otherwise drab project.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2021 9:02:41 AM

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

The Last On-line Assignments (at least hopefully)
For the year long more advanced students...

And for the quarterly students...

It's hard to believe another school year is almost over. I literally don't have many more left before my career is wrapped up, one of the reasons to share everything I have. I know it is helping the new teachers and even the more experienced teachers.

I've offered to simply copy everything I have onto flash drives sent to me from all over the world. Some teachers prefer only the less complete Google drive material. Either way I hope the on-line materials never go away. The flash drives can also fail I'm sure. Make your back up copies if you have them. I prefer to be the one sharing, but I'm sure others have shared the materials and that is OK with me. It's a life's work and I wish someone had done this for me.

Here is hoping we don't have social distancing much longer (like next year). In the beginning days of on-campus learning everyone was on edge. Now this may almost be unbelievable, but we experienced very few interruptions once we were back in classes. The few who stayed away have missed out.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 10:11:08 AM

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

Better late than never!

I got a little behind in posting with outside projects like restoring a 1955 Chevy Shortbed.

While that is a fun project, it's also a little above my take home pay, but it's something I've always wanted to do. Of course my real dream would be something older, but I got this for a decent price.

It's the constant challenges that make it a little harder for me to keep up with posting. Using junkyard parts (U-bolt), I recently had to fabricate (with a little neighborly help from up the street) my own Offset rod for the clutch linkage. Don't you just love these vintage drawings.

The best part is how my mind is completely engrossed in these tasks and not on the problems of the world.

Back to wood shop.

With only a few weeks left to go, I'm getting close to wrapping it up and I am cramming in as many as I have missed posting. I have these assignments already out there with a couple more waiting in the wings I will post when they come out next week. First, for those students who have been hanging in there for the duration...

View the Ping Pong Ball Shooter video

View the Airplane video.

View the Wiener Dog Bank video.

And for the new students who are in the 4th quarter classes, these copied and reused assignments are keeping them on track.

I gave them extra time and so far only one of them has completed measuring.

AND, I have one on campus 8th grader who has managed with dad's facebook help, to sell almost $500 worth of her cutting boards made in class. At one point I had to tell everyone that we were running out of the free materials... that is all but this one very dedicated young lady. I just couldn't cut that experiment off. I really wanted to see how far she could take it and I can't believe how hard she worked, and of course how much she learned along the way. She began paying other students to help glue them up. She managed to make mostly sports related images on each one and made about 24 at $20 a piece.

She is on her last one this week. So the experiment paid off for her and a few others managed to do pretty well too. If only I could bring in that many free materials all the time, we could let everyone do that same thing. The only reason we could let it go this long was the on-line learning kept my materials overflowing and I did need to get some of that out of the shop as it was literally beginning to take over.

Good job Mia! I hope all my students will continue being interested in some form of woodworking in the future.

View the on-line cutting board video.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Thursday, April 8, 2021 12:48:52 AM

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

What's happening in 4th quarter?

It's one of my morning classes with four students. As I look around this class, I see everyone totally engaged in making their projects. It is a delight to see the students working so intently. I don't have to step in to help much once they have been in the shop for so many years. It's the way it should be.

I just renewed my teaching certificate which may well be my last. This is the first time they are extending them out 12 years. By then I'll be well into my 70's. It makes me wonder how much more I will be able to do. I seem to be fighting physical problems one after another, so I'm not sure I can last much longer. However, when that last day for me eventually arrives, it will be a sad day indeed. I have loved what I do and can't think of a better way to spend my time. I get older and the kids don't seem to... especially when they filter in and out each year... ageless.

The on-line learners are in two groups... the returning students and the 4 new ones for the 4th quarter, so I am past the safety and up to the measuring lesson (you have already seen) for the new students and the ping pong ball shooter for the returning 4 students but I also let the new students do this one to make it more fun. Then last week was a "print to the engraver" also for the returning students. A simple quiz keeps them honest... I hope. That's a huge problem with distance learning... in my opinion.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to be of help. Here is my new e-mail address that is also linked to my school account. As always, remove the red.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2021 9:08:30 AM

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

Printing to the laser engraver.

For all the 4th quarter students, they will finish up the laser series. It's too bad they can't be here to actually use this equipment.

For the new students who are in the 4th quarter classes, this copied and reused assignment starts them back at the beginning. I wish I had done this last quarter, but then most of the 3rd quarter students did them anyway without being asked, so it all worked out in the end.

While it isn't the most fun to teach wood shop over the Internet, I have found it is possible to do it with the abundance of materials I had already created. I'm glad I have been able to share my google drive with many of you. It's too bad I can't share the quizzes, although you might be disappointed in how simple they really are. For the most part, it was to make it obvious when someone skips right to the quiz without learning at least some of the material.

Anyway, that is mostly what I was trying to determine with these simple quizzes. With no clear standards at this level, there is no road map for where they are suppose to end up. I have always had one simple goal... make them love wood shop and want to continue using these skills their whole life. Make cool projects they have trouble resisting. That is harder to achieve when they can't be here for the in class experience that really hooks them.

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Topic: New Project Ideas
Posted: Sunday, March 7, 2021 11:34:43 AM

A big thank you goes out to Woodcraft for hosting this site.

Manually focus the laser engraver.

Students learn how to manually focus the laser to save time and to make multiples faster.

I will start posting more about our projects as more students come back and on-line fades leaving me more time.

The student have gone crazy with making cutting boards, for their own profit. Yep, I let them keep what they earn and now that the cabinet shop has slowed down, the materials have slowed down. I may have to limit how many cutting boards a student can make during the final quarter, so I don't run out of material.

It has really driven the students workload as money motivates even the hardest to reach rascals. I love watching them get so excited about woodworking. And the parents have jumped in as they post on their Facebook pages and a few students have really been raking in the dough.

They can get double the amount if they laser engrave the cutting board. I think I am seeing just about every major sports team on some of these boards. We have also done them for colleges and universities.

The ones not motivated to make cutting boards are still working frantically on the other projects, so it is a win all around. If you can believe it, even some of the tougher cases are really liking these projects. Some days I have to literally kick some of them out so they will go to their next class.

One last thing, I'm sorry that Google Classroom doesn't allow the sharing of materials like quizzes. I am stunned by this fact. I'm not sure the rational behind it, but no matter what I've tried, I can't share more than the Google Drive and You Tube materials. I hope I have at least helped as many of you as I can.

While my focus is mostly towards the on-line learners here, the reality is there are way more on campus students. I should have been taking more photos to post.

There has been a change in e-mail as cableone discontinues that part of the service. I've tried to catch all of these and made changes throughout the pages of the posts. As usual, remove the red.

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